Well, here we are headed into the third game of the season and the Denver Broncos offense is about as stale as it gets. It'll be interesting to see how Denver fares early – can Plummer break out of the funk? Can the running game finally get on track? Can Shanahan pull another out in New England? Can I get another beer?
We'll know shortly…
Here's the inactives –
WR Todd Devoe, RB Cedric Cobbs, LB Nate Webster, TE Nate Jackson, OLs Chris Kuper and Adam Meadows, DLs Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Brown.
1st. QUARTER -
Well the offense doesn't look as lame as the past two weeks – Running game is moving well with Tatum as the starter. Plummer moves it across midfield – nice passes to Rod Smith and Javon Walker – Walker drops a third down pass and Broncos are forced to punt – respectable drive but still no points – Ernster is the man….punt backspins down to the Patriot one-yard line
Brady starts deep in his own territory and turns the reigns over to Corey Dillion to find a way out. Drive grabs a first down but stalls out on the fifteen-yard line and Pats punt to the Broncos 39-yard line -
Tatum B. looks sharp grabbing seven quick ones off of first down. Doesn't really matter though – Plummer throws two incomplete and Denver's second drive results in more TV time for Ernster – punt traps New England at their own 12-yard line.
So much for the Patriots - face mask penalty on Domonique Foxworth give them a breath of life but the Broncos D comes up big and the flip flop continues - New England punts to the Broncos five.
Lots of movement – same results, although Plummer proved he wasn't dead – scrambling eleven-yards for a first down at the 17. Tatum added a nice 21-yard rung and the Broncos move it close to midfield before having to punt.
Patriots take over as the quarter comes to a scoreless close.
2nd QUARTER –
Ok, the age of electronics is not all it's cracked up to be…… Server problems and we lost several parts of our second quarter blog, but you really didn't miss much. Not sure even what I wrote so we'll pick it up where we're at…
Broncos take possession on their own 37-yard line and pick up some nice momentum – Plummer hits David Kircus on a beautiful 24-yard toss, Tatum keeps rocking and Denver moves it to the 2-yard line. Take it back – penalty on Nalen for holding – two quick passes come up short and the Broncos hand it over to Elam for a 23-yard field goal.
Patriots continue to move but the Broncos "D" comes up huge blocking a 37-yard field goal – Foxworth makes good on his face mask penalty. Pats still scoreless and the Broncos have yet to give up a touchdown this season. Even I'm impressed.
Tatum's pulling himself up as the new starter tearing it up with 30-yards on this drive alone. Plummer connects with his new best friend Javon Walker for a 36-yard score and Denver moves out with a 10-0 first half lead. Things are growing quiet in Foxborough
Ernster sails it to the New England four but Curome Cox gets nailed with an offsides penalty and Pats take hold at their own ten.
Same old dance for Brady – the first half comes to a awkward close. It's strange to see an entire stadium full of fans with the same stunned look on their face. Broncos hold tight with a 10-0 lead.
After a dismal first half performance the Patriots are bound to come out to impress – Ok, maybe not – a quick three and out and team physicians begin to check for a pulse along the New England sideline. Pats punt to the Broncos twenty-three.
Madden just loves to hear himself talk, but this time he actually has a point – the body language of New England sure doesn't look like the Champions we're used to seeing.
Broncos take over on their own twenty – Bell continues to pound it out up the middle for another first down. Plummer catches a break with a pass interference against Tony Scheffler. The infraction moves the ball to the New England 37 where the Broncos fold it up – Ernster trots out for a chip shot – dropping on the Patriots 17.
Patriots can't buy a break – break out the old school playbook on a flea flicker – same results – NOTHING. Best move of the drive was the punt, which Darrent Williams screws up by catching and running backward towards the end zone. Tackled just short of a safety. I guarantee he'll hear about this one on the sidelines. Broncos begin drive on their own one.
Tatum Bell up the middle for a few inches – Plummer to Smith for a little breathing room and a first down at the twelve. Scary pass but it worked – at least he had the nads to pull it off. Plummer to Kircus pass interference (bad call) on New England. Plummer to Kyle Johnson – nailed as he catches it ball falls out for an incompletion (another break for Denver). Drive stalls at the 21 and Ernster boots it to the New England 36 with just over six minutes remaining on the third.
Without Corey Dillon, gone in the first half with an arm injury, Patriots are forced to the air. Close but no cigar – defensive backfield denies Brady again and Patriots pull another three and out, punting to the Denver 19.
Tatum pulls up lame with cramps so Mike takes the shift in the backfield. Illegal block on Ben Hamilton takes back a nine-yard pick up and Denver stumbles out to the seventeen where they're forced to punt.
Three flags on one punt – beautiful – two flags on Denver – one on New England - replay fourth down. Ernster gets another kick. This one sails – Pats take over just short of their own forty.
Brady tries to get something happening – airs one out for somebody standing on the sidelines – incomplete. Maroney up the middle for four – another incompletion and the punting unit heads to the field. Again they trap Denver deep – Broncos take over on their own three-yard line.
TBell up the middle for about a yard – Bell again – nine yards off tackle and the quarter comes to a close. Broncos "D" streak of not allowing any touchdowns continues – Pats remain scoreless trailing 10-0.
More Bell – up the middle to the nineteen but Nalen gets tagged with a hold – half the distance to the goal line brings it back to the seven. Bell up the middle for a couple – Plummer to Bell on an eight yard pass brings up third and six from the seventeen.
Plummer out of the shotgun airs it out for Walker along the sideline – makes the catch - cuts it back inside and the former Packer heads to the end zone for an 83-yard score. Ninety seven yards in five plays puts Denver ahead 17-0. Does anybody miss Ashley Lelie?
Pats look P***ed off – Brady begins to connect in the air and moves the ball into Bronco territory – Broncos forced to take a time out as Patrick Chuckwurah blows his lunch on the field. Great camera shot – leave it to NBC.
Brady resumes the push hitting Doug Gabrielle in the end zone. The defensive streak is over but the Broncos continue their lead 17-7 with 9:18 remaining. Brady goes a perfect 10 of 10 passes during the drive.
Here comes the pressure – Broncos take over on their own 14 – T-Bell off right guard for six –Plummer bootlegs and finds Stephan Alexander for 24-yards near midfield. Broncos move it to the Pats 49 but are forced to punt – Ernster drops it on the NE eight.
After hitting 10 of 10 for a touchdown – Brady and Co. go three and out deep in their own territory – more off-setting flags on the punt and Denver takes over on their own 43-yard line.
A lot of music – but very little dancing – Broncos chew up some time but are forced to punt. Ernster hits the end zone and New England takes over on their own twenty.
It's crunch time - Belichick pulls out all the stops, 3:31 on the clock - no-huddle shotgun desperation - unfortunately they fall flat. Denver stops a fourth and one from the twenty and Jake kneels out a Broncos 17-7 win. Wonder if the "Let's Pull Plummer" crew will be taking the week off?
Broncos have now won sixteen out of eighteen against New England – including five of the last six. They came – they conquered – Chuckwurak threw up – Broncos improve to 2-1 for the season heading into next week's bye.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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