Denver’s Second Half Resurgence Tops Oakland
For the second week in a row, the Broncos endured a close game with a west coast opponent. After, pummeling Seattle with defense in week one capturing the win 27-24, they played another close game, beating Oakland 20-19.
This Sunday the game was a tale of two halves. Oakland controlled the ball in the first half, with 20:32 on offense compared to Denver’s 9:28. Oakland pushed across 12 points on one TD (they missed the extra point) and two field goals. All the while, Denver struggled mightily, only managing two first downs, and were held scoreless. As far as three and outs, there were no third down conversions.
Oh, and there was also this…
Athletic interception by Rashaan Melvin. Case Keenum continues to have placement issues. This could've been a touchdown if the ball is over the target's head. No reason Melvin should've had a shot at this pic.twitter.com/sZna4qBlYv
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 16, 2018
The second half was a different story for the Broncos, who were able to capitalize on Oakland’s mistakes, as they continued tallying up the penalty yards. One play stood out, where Oakland FB Keith Smith dropped a fourth and one pass from Derek Carr at the Denver 33-yard line. After, Denver received the ball at their own 33 the Broncos proceeded to drive down field for 67-yards on 14 plays resulting in a 1-yard Case Keenum rushing TD.
The Broncos were able to look past the mistakes from the first half and pull a switcheroo in possession time. Denver held the ball for 17:36 against Oakland’s 12:24, getting off more plays utilizing their play clock well.
“In the second half, we thought offensively, we had to be more aggressive, (we had to) take more shots down the field.” Coach Joseph said. “That made them a little softer in the second half.”
— NFL (@NFL) September 16, 2018
Keenum’s first half performance was despicable, only managing two first downs in the entire half. It wasn’t until the second half where Denver picked up the pace, scoring all 20 of their points.
The Broncos need a to figure out a way to not dig themselves in a hole in the beginning of the game. In the first half, the defense was so tired you can see players lollygagging on plays.
“When it comes down to it, in the fourth quarter, we are tired and we need everybody. We have to roll with guys who have been all trust,” Keenum said.
It was impressive to say the least, for Keenum to complete 70% of his third-downs in the second half. One of the failures in fact resulted in a fourth-and-one TD on a Keenum sneak.
“We’ve got to start faster and stop making these games hard on ourselves,” Chris Harris Jr. said. “If we start fast and come out and put points on the board, it’s going to be over for a lot of teams.”
Phillip Lindsay & Royce Freeman
Denver was able to dictate the running game. Rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman were the main contributors in the second half. Between the two rookies, they provided 22 carries for 135 yards.
Lindsay had quite the performance, following up an impressive Week One with an even better Week Two. He posted a 53-yard run that resulted in the Keenum QB sneak TD. Lindsay is the second Broncos rookie to post 100-yard rushing games during the first two weeks of the season since Mike Anderson in 2000. Freeman added 8 carries for 28 yards and an essential a 1-yard run for a TD.
The 3 Keys To Victory Heading Into Baltimore
Broncos Have To Get Demaryius Thomas Going
The prolific Demaryius Thomas was quiet in 2017, posting just short of his usual 1000+ yards. Thomas only has 81 yards for the first two games on the season. That’s less than what he was putting up in one game from 2012-2015. If the Broncos want to take advantage of the Pro Bowl wide out they need to get him open down field more. We know the ability that Case Keenum has with the deep ball, it just hasn’t shown up yet. Once, this connection is made the Broncos offense will be dangerous.
The Road Game Will Have To Be Better
After posting, a division worst 1-7 record on the road last season there is much room for improvement this year. Cornerback Chris Harris knows the struggle of their defensive woes on the road.
“When you play on the road, you have to pack your defense,” Harris said Wednesday. “We’ve got to be ready to go and be ready to out-play their defense. That’s how it is on the road. Defense, you’ve got to ball on the road. You always plan on the offense to struggle a little bit on the road, so we have to try and give them a little help … hopefully get an early turnover and get Case going early.”
Chris will be sure to be active this Sunday, as he has picked off opposing QB Joe Flacco two times in his career in just four meetings. Those two include one 98-yard pick six.
“We’ve got to start faster and stop making these games hard on ourselves,”
Case Keenum Needs More Touchdowns Than Interceptions
Its been all about defense and the run game in the first two games of the season. Keenum has only 3 passing touchdowns and 4 interceptions so far. It’s unheard of for a starting QB to have more interceptions than TD’s and have a undefeated record. Case is going to have to come up big on the road for his first start away from Denver. Last year, he was 6-2 on the road, so expect big things from Keenum this Sunday.