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Count Alex's Losses
12-05-2005, 04:53 AM
Big shots missing in this shootout
By Thomas George
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Kansas City, Mo. - This game flipped on the Broncos' final two scoring drives - one that reached the Kansas City 4-yard line and the other the Kansas City 22 - when they kicked field goals.

This game was won by the Chiefs, because on their final drive they scored a touchdown.

This game soured because the Broncos' tackling late in the game was rotten, a bunch of grabbing and gasping.

This game fell apart when the Broncos managed only six points in the final 30 minutes.

A game in which one team scores 31 (Chiefs) and the other scores 27 (Broncos) qualifies as a shootout.

But how can you shoot when the trigger jams?

"If you take their best shots," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said, "where do they go from there? How many more great shots do they have?"

Good question.

The Broncos hope the answer is that this was not their best shot. Not at all.

Oh, they scored first and in a big way, on a 66-yard screen pass. They tossed backup quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt into the mix, and on a play that everyone in the stadium knew would be a run, he scored. There was a 56-yard completion and a long rush of 15 yards and 388 yards of total offense.

But the third-quarter drive that ended in a field goal finished in a conservative, play-to-tie manner that cost the Broncos. Darrent Williams' interception on the following Chiefs' possession led to another Broncos' field goal.

That will not do in a shootout.

An NFL coach told me earlier this season the Broncos' chief challenge in their playoff sprint and beyond will be their ability to score points in a shootout.

He said that is where quarterback Jake Plummer will be exposed.

The sentiment goes that if the defense wilts (it did) and the offense stagnates (it did) and the Broncos are forced to win a shootout in the end, watch out.

Given that setup, Denver is dead, its peers say.

Actually, we still do not know that.

We have come so close to revelation, we have been teased with the possibility of such setups, but we have not seen the final answer. The question hovers.

Because as in the last Denver loss - the game at the New York Giants - we missed a key opportunity to see just how Plummer handles this offense inside two minutes with a score needed for a victory. We missed the chance to see him make plays under that most severe fire.

We missed it this time because the Broncos had the ball at their 25 with 3:42 left on their way to providing just those kind of answers.


With 2:01 left, they were forced to give the ball back to the Chiefs. A fourth-and-1 run by Mike Anderson was called a first down, reviewed and then overturned.

First the officials said he made it by a couple of inches. Then they said he did not make it by a couple of feet.

Plummer had started that drive with a strong, 13-yard out pass to Rod Smith. Then he passed for 7 yards to Ashley Lelie. He was incomplete to Lelie, complete to Kyle Johnson for 2 yards, and then Anderson's run on fourth down.

No go.

We still don't know.

"We get that first down and we might have something going," said Plummer, knowing he needed to drive the Broncos to a touchdown, confident that he could have done it. "I guess that's why this is called a game of inches."

He knows it is coming, the game that he must win at the end with the ball in his hands. Try as the Broncos might to avoid it, they cannot soar this season without it.

"I feel that way, that I will get a good shot at the end to finish things. You know it is going to happen," Plummer said. "We've got to capitalize in that situation."

When it comes.

It will come.

In this one, the Broncos had chances to stop the Chiefs and could not. The Broncos had chances to increase leads and could not. It all evaporated into a smelly defeat.

Plummer made several terrific throws.

He was picked off twice.

He led but in the end did not get a shot to finish the shootout he started.

Along the way, the Broncos' season is likely going to be determined by his success in the last shot of a shootout.

"I'm ready for that," Plummer said.

This opportunity would have provided splendid practice.

All it did was make us wonder more and more.

Count Alex's Losses
12-05-2005, 04:53 AM
Read between the lines folks....PLUMMER SUCKS!

keg in kc
12-05-2005, 05:06 AM
An NFL coach told me earlier this season the Broncos' chief challenge in their playoff sprint and beyond will be their ability to score points in a shootout.

He said that is where quarterback Jake Plummer will be exposed.I'm obviously not an NFL head coach, but that's exactly what I've been saying for weeks. The Broncos are playing Martyball in all its "play not to let the QB lose the game" playoff-game choking glory. Their whole offense appears to be geared around finding the easiest possible throws for Plummer, designing and scheming ways to prevent him from having to make any real decisions or take any real chances. And that's a good plan for him, because he's his own - and by default the Broncos - worst enemy when he has to actually make plays. But it won't work in January, when the weak teams have (mostly) been whittled out.

Guru
12-05-2005, 05:06 AM
Read between the lines folks....PLUMMER SUCKS!

And, do you notice the whining in the article too. That city is infected. :shake:ROFL

pikesome
12-05-2005, 05:23 AM
I'm obviously not an NFL head coach, but that's exactly what I've been saying for weeks. The Broncos are playing Martyball in all its "play not to let the QB lose the game" playoff-game choking glory. Their whole offense appears to be geared around finding the easiest possible throws for Plummer, designing and scheming ways to prevent him from having to make any real decisions or take any real chances. And that's a good plan for him, because he's his own - and by default the Broncos - worst enemy when he has to actually make plays. But it won't work in January, when the weak teams have (mostly) been whittled out.

I agree whole-heartedly. The best case for Denver is a playoff game against Indy which they WILL NOT win. I don't know if the Chiefs could beat the Colts either but I like our chances in a one-and-your-done game better. As long as Martyball lives, SD and Denver both will not go deep in the post-season.