They say it’s better to be lucky than good, and certainly, the Broncos have benefited from a whole lot of luck this young season. The team is 3-0, thanks to a prolific offense, a whistle-happy (yet remorseful) referee and a shanked field-goal by the Saints’ kicker. I was at work for that last game, and upon the kicker’s miss, one of my co-workers said she always feels bad when kickers miss the potential game-winner. I said I never feel bad for men who are much, much richer than me. That made her feel better. Happy to help!
Anyway, the Broncos are suddenly rising quickly on many sport sites’ power rankings, and QB Jay Cutler is leading the pack in what is being lauded as the new generation of great quarterbacks (also including Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning).
The Chiefs are, in a word, bad. They haven’t won a game yet, which means that if this were college football, we’d be in for a guaranteed upset. Think about it: A rivalry match-up between an unranked team and a current darling of the BCS? There’s no way Kansas City doesn’t win that game. I mean, three games into the season, No. 1 USC was declared a shoo-in for the title game, only to lose to unranked Oregon State in their Pac-10 opener Thursday night. That opened the way for No. 4 Florida, who promptly lost to unranked Ole Miss at home Saturday afternoon. That, in turn, opened the way for the Gators’ SEC rival No. 3 Georgia, who then lost to No. 8 Alabama on Saturday night. Look for Alabama to go up in the rankings today — and lose next week. College football makes no sense.
Anyway, the Broncos are pros, which means they have a fighting chance.
11:02 a.m. – Broncos kicking off. “The crowd is alive,” per announcer Greg Gumble.
11:03 – Holding penalty against the Chiefs in the opening play.
11:05 – Gumble makes a comment about a change in the Broncos’ defense and the Chiefs promptly tear through it to get to their own 20. Per the hubby, Denver coach Mike Shanahan is not good at drafting defensive linemen.
11:09 – The Chiefs’ key running back is Larry Johnson, which led to (immature) laughs on our part about the inappropriate headline potential: Bronco defense to focus on Chiefs’ Johnson.
11:12 – Chiefs score. A field goal gives the Chiefs their first lead in a game since last December. Ouch! 3-0 Chiefs.
11:16 – Cutler passes to rookie Eddie Royal, who catches it, then fumbles. Oops! Chiefs recover. Maybe the Chiefs were inspired by all the college upsets yesterday.
11:22 – Chiefs score! Another field goal. Kansas City seems to be having their way with the Denver defense until they get inside the 10 yard line. Hey, Broncos, you don’t have to wait until they’re in the red zone to step it up. 6-0 Chiefs.
11:27 – Five Brandons in tonight’s game, according to the announcers. By contrast, Rockies September call-up Dexter Fowler is the first player named Dexter in the history of Major League Baseball, which, considering how old the game is, seems kind of hard to believe.
11:30 – Cutler sacked! Broncos punt. Commercial: It’s Brady Quinn! I’d completely forgotten about him. I wonder what he thinks about Notre Dame’s bowl chances this year.
11:42 – Chiefs take it down the field again, only to have to settle for another field goal, only to miss! This is how bad the Chiefs are: They should be up 21-0, but one successful drive from the Broncos and they’d be losing. They are dominating the game but have little to show for it. You’d think the Broncos would take advantage of this and get something going.
11:46 – Finally! Facing 3rd and 19, the Broncos make a big play and break through for what I think is only their second 1st down of the game.
11:50 – Touchdown Broncos! Cutler pass complete to Brandon Marshall. Announcer: “Didn’t that look like a man playing with boys!” He’s referring to Marshall’s height, which allows Cutler to throw the football high. Still, kind of harsh. 7-6 Broncos.
11:52 – Oh, Lord. First Viagra commercial. The word “viva” takes exception to the phrase “viva Viagra.” So do I.
12:05 p.m. – Oops, again! Chiefs punt to the 5, Broncos advancing until Marshall fumbles the ball, Chiefs recover and take it back inside the 5 yard line. Looks like Broncos will challenge.
12:10 – Replay looks like it was a fumble. Refs concur. Chiefs take over. 1st and goal.
12:12 – Touchdown Chiefs. Johnson gets in on his second try. Larry Johnson was on the hubby’s fantasy team a few years ago — I think he actually did pretty well that year. Anyway, 10 points off turnovers for the Chiefs. 13-7 Chiefs.
The crowd is doing the tomahawk chop, which I always associate with the Braves.
12:21 – Broncos miss a field goal. Half-time approaching.
Shot of Cutler on the sidelines dropping a few F-bombs. He wanted an interference call on his last pass into the endzone. I have to say pass interference is the single most incomprehelsible call in the game of football to me. I just don’t get it — the contact players make when the call is made looks no different to me than the contact they make when it’s not called. And don’t get me started on offensive pass interference. So, Jay, I share your frustration, if not your colorful vocabulary.
12:30 – Broncos trying to score with less than a minute to go. Cutler spikes the ball to stop the clock. Apparently, this is ruled as an incomplete pass and does count against the quarterback’s stats. These things are much easier to understand when the hubby is around to explain them.
12:33 – Broncos field goal! Career-best 56 yarder for Matt Prater. The guy who catches the ball and sets it up for the kicker (“the holder,” hubby clarifies) is wearing his wedding ring. That’s sweet. 13-10 Chiefs.
Half-time! Broncos obviously not where they were expecting to be, but again it shouldn’t surprise when a really bad team does well against a good one, particularly in a rivalry game. They are lucky not to be down by more than a field goal but need to hold on to the football better in the second half. Fumbles tend not to help.
12:53 – Broncos field goal! Denver takes their first possession of the second half into Chiefs territorry and take a field goal to tie the game at 13.
1:00 – Into the third hour here with most of the second half to go. God, these games are long. I do like the early start, though. When it’s over, I’ll still have some of the afternoon to do something else.
1:07 – Chiefs take the lead back with another field goal. It feels like this game is being played in the middle 50 yards of the field. Both teams having a hard time doing much once they get within field goal range. Touch downs are allowed, people. 16-13 Chiefs.
Surfing the net: Scarlett Johansson got married, and “Eagle Eye,” starring Shia Labeouf, tops the box office. I like Shia, but I wish his movies didn’t look so silly.
1:14 – Nirvana playing over the stadium loud speaker. “Weeell, whatever, nevermind.”
1:16 – Cutler throws an interception, the Chiefs’ first of the season. Third turnover for the Broncos. And just like that, the Chiefs fumble! Champ Bailey basically lifts Johnson up in the air and turns him upside down. Johnson drops the ball on the way down. Chiefs challenge.
Loudspeaker: “A little less talk and a lot more action.” An eclectic mix, to be sure.
1:19 – Broncos get to keep the ball. Huge break, guys, now do something with it.
1:21 – By “something,” I meant score a touchdown, not throw another interception, which is what Cutler does. I suspect his stock with the pundits will drop a bit after this week, especially if the Broncos don’t come back here. Incidentally, when the interception happened, the hubby and I blurted out the same expletive at the same time. What is it that people say about turning into your spouse after many years of marriage? Well, our first anniversary is not for another couple of weeks.
1:25 – Nothing comes of the turnover. “The Broncos sure are lucky the Chiefs suck,” hubby says.
1:39 – Touchdown Chiefs! Kansas finds the endzone to pad their lead. Receiver Tony Gonzalez hits the ground hard and takes a few minutes getting up but seems to be OK. Most of the 4th quarter left, so the Broncos have time, I suppose, but I’m thinking this one is a lost cause. Chiefs are too fired up, and the Broncos can’t be confident in their play on either side of the ball. 23-13 Chiefs.
1:57 – Broncos field goal! (Actually, that happened a few minutes, ago — I started reading a very interesting interview of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart on Entertainment Weekly online and have sort of lost interest in the game.) They are within a touchdown, but the Chiefs return the kick off to the 50. Special teams is another area that needs work, Shanahan. 23-16 Chiefs.
Loudspeaker now featuring Tom Petty.
2:00 – Player down for the Broncos. Didn’t see the hit, but he’s been down for a while, and it looks like trainers are looking at his neck — never good. Football players make a lot of money, maybe too much, but they do face potentially debilitating, life-changing injuries every time they go out.
2:03 – Player is carted off, helmet still on. He waves to the crowd, which is clapping for him. Hope he’s OK.
2:09 – Chiefs field goal. There’s five minutes to go. Announcers point out that Shanahan’s record at Arrowhead Stadium is 3-10. I don’t know how many people picked the Chiefs today, but looking at all the intangibles, I don’t know how anyone would have gone with the Broncos. 26 -16 Chiefs.
2:16 – Broncos field goal. Sigh. Cutler cuts through the Chiefs’ defense, but AGAIN can’t finish the drive with a touchdown. Since the Broncos need to score twice, Shanahan goes for 3, but I was hoping for a gutsy call here. Oh well. 26-19 Chiefs.
2:17 – On-side kick, Broncos ALMOST get it back. In and out of the hands of the player — he didn’t catch the ball, I didn’t catch his number. Chiefs ball.
2:24 – Touchdown Chiefs! Johnson effectively ends the game with touchdown after running through both lines. The Chiefs had lost their previous 12 games. I hadn’t realized they were that bad. The announcer mentions the college football principle I referenced at the top of the blog: “They are on scholarship too.” Always take bad college teams against ranked opponents for whom a win will mean everything — the good team will look past the bad one and stumble. That’s not what happened here, of course, since NFL championships aren’t determined by rankings. Still, defense is a huge hole that the Broncos need to fix.
2:30 – Game officially over.
Final thoughts: The Broncos’ best defense is keeping the offense on the field, but the offense had an off-day and the defense could do little to hold the Chiefs. The final score was 33-19 Chiefs, but a better team who wouldn’t have had to settle for so many field goals would have scored 50 plus points. On the up side, it’s only 2:30! I have all day! This is like when mom and I would make the effort to get up early for 9:30 a.m. mass and got out of church by 11 a.m. instead of 2 p.m.
The hubby turns the channel to the Rockies’ final, meaningless game. Ubaldo Jimenez pitching in the 2nd. No hitter intact!