Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Broncos 52, Eagles 20
By Jeff Legwold
DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos' 52-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles:
What it means: The Broncos have moved to 4-0 by defeating a passing offense that uses power formations (Baltimore), two read-option teams (Oakland and Philadelphia) and a team that hopes to sport a more traditional look (Giants). They have worked fast on offense, slowed things down and topped 40 points in three of four games.
Stock watch: Even Google stock, with a corporate timeline of good days, has really, really good days. And even quarterback Peyton Manning can have an uptick in a Hall of Fame career. With four touchdown passes Sunday, he set an NFL record with his 24th four-touchdown game and now has 16 touchdown passes this season without throwing an interception. Defensive coaches who have faced Manning through the years say his accuracy is better than ever right now.
On containment: The Broncos' defensive ends had a smattering of issues in keeping Eagles quarterback Michael Vick pinned inside the pocket. Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips and Derek Wolfe each had moments when they got folded too far down inside in the rush and Vick was able to escape. As a result, the Eagles had 101 yards rushing by halftime. But the Broncos broke the game open after halftime and were more disciplined in the defensive front, largely muting the Eagles run game.
Special-ness: With an offense ringing up numbers suitable to a game controller, the Broncos’ special teams units added their second and third touchdowns of the season -- a 105-yard kickoff return and a blocked punt returned for a score. The Broncos would also have a defensive touchdown on their résumé already this season had linebacker Danny Trevathan not tossed the ball aside too quickly on an interception return in the season opener. It’s tough enough to defend the Broncos' offense, but when they get points from the other units they are nearly impossible to handle right now.
What’s next: The Broncos get another look at an NFC East team when they travel to Dallas next weekend. The Cowboys will face Monte Kiffin’s Cover 2 look with plenty of A-gap blitzes in the middle of the field. It's a defense that requires plenty of patience to solve. But if Manning has shown anything this season, besides other-worldly accuracy, it’s patience in the passing game.