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The Block in the Bayou: Miraculous play propels Broncos to 7-3

Andre Simone Avatar
November 13, 2016

 

Week 10 of the NFL was a fork in the road moment for the Denver Broncos 2016 season. In a heart attack inducing back-and-forth affair, the Broncos beat the New Orleans Saints in the most unexpected of ways by pulling through just when they seemed doomed.

The Broncos started off fast for the first time this year. The defense managed to keep the Saints from scoring, while the offense got in the end zone against a New Orleans defense that hadn’t allowed a first possession score all year.

The play calling early on was a perfect mix of run and pass with Trevor Siemian finding targets on play action calls. On 3rd and 4 Siemian went for the whole enchilada throwing it up for Jordan Taylor in the corner of the end zone. After a review, Taylor and the Broncos were awarded the touchdown giving them a cushy 7-0 lead.

On the very next drive after the ‘Sunshine’ touchdown, Darian Stewart seemed to break the game open with an interception on Drew Brees as the Saints were threatening. Denver couldn’t capitalize and would only muster a field goal off the very next Stewart pick, this time coming off a Bradley Roby tip. Despite dominating early the Broncos only had a 10-0 lead.

Another missed opportunity came in the last two minutes of the second quarter, as Denver was driving and already on the Saints 30. Siemian locked onto Emanuel Sanders on the left sideline and had the route jumped by Sterling Moore. The game wouldn’t be the same after that.

With only 36 seconds left in the first half, the Saints drove down the field and Denver was lucky to only concede a field goal preserving the lead (10-3) at the break. In the second half, Brees drove the offense 90 yards to tie things up. While another Siemian interception, this time by Kenny Vaccaro, put the game firmly into the Saints hands.

With some more misdirection, Brees and the Saints offense would quickly find another Will Snead touchdown, for 17 unanswered points and the touchdown lead (17-10). A Brandon McManus missed field goal on the very next drive put Denver in desperate need of a turnaround.

As this defense has done time and time again, they come up with a crucial turnover when they needed it most. Roby did a phenomenal job of stripping the ball out from behind leading to Stewart’s recovery and run within the Saints 20.

A Demaryius Thomas touchdown would tie things up and swing momentum right back in the Broncos’ favor. After a Brandon McManus kick to give the Broncos the 20-17 lead with 3:27 left in the game, the defense again came up big with another turnover. This time Jared Crick pounced on rookie Micheal Thomas from behind with ferocity, knocking the ball out.

Settling for three points the Broncos once again put the game in the defenses and Brees’ hands. Brees would punish the ‘D’ with an outstanding throw and catch into deep coverage to Brandin Cooks for a 36 yards score. With 1:22 left the Broncos seemed to have blown the game.

That’s when madness ensued. A pair of rookie safeties feeling left out of the fun turned the game upside down. Just as New Orleans kicked their extra point to put them ahead by one, Justin Simmons leaped over the line to block the kick while fellow rookie Will Parks picked up the ball and returned it the length of the field giving the Broncos the 2-point lead. After a controversial review, the Parks score was upheld and the Broncos improbably won, 25-23.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Darian Stewart was unbelievable today. Far to often overlooked in the bevy of stars on the Broncos defense, Stewart has proved crucial time and time again in his two seasons as a Bronco. Against the Saints, he was essential in limiting at least three points from the home team by getting his first interception, a great play from a safety in that center fielder role.

His second pick on the very next drive led to three points for Denver and his fumble recovery and run was key in switching the momentum back in the Broncos favor.

Stewart had three turnovers, which led to the Saints not scoring at least three and Denver to score 10 points. On either side, there wasn’t a player more crucial to the final outcome.

Demaryius Thomas should also merit a mention as he had an extraordinary game and made some special grabs.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Before the amazing blocked kick – one that fans in Denver and Colorado will be talking about for a long time – there were several candidates. After it, there’s only one.

https://twitter.com/HighlightHub/status/797908999261679617

QUOTE OF THE GAME

Will Parks – “I got the ball and I thought, ‘Run like somebody’s chasin’ you with a big ol’ gun.'”

BY THE NUMBERS

4-2- The Broncos turned the clock back to 2016 in this one. Coming up with crucial turnovers, winning the battle (4-2) and then winning the game at the brink with a blocked extra point. In essence, a turnover returned for a score.

11- Trevor Siemian was under full siege this game. He was sacked six times, but more importantly took 11 hits, a baffling stat. Comparatively, the Broncos only hit Brees 4 times and sacked him once.

103- The Broncos Running game was far from spectacular running for 2.8 yards on average. But running the ball 37 times in this one, Denver was able to reach the century mark for the first time on the ground since C.J. Anderson was lost to injury. Maybe more important the Broncos run defense limited the saints to 80 yards and 3.8 per carry.

LASTING IMPACT

This was a very important win for Denver in keeping pace int he very competitive AFC West and also getting back on the winning track. This is also the first time in the Gary Kubiak era that the Broncos didn’t lose back-to-back games.

The defense was able to get back on track somewhat in this one as both coverage assignments and the run defense played better. But Aqib Talib’s absence was still felt and the pass rush is lacking the bite it had earlier in the year.

There are some definite positives to take away offensively but the line play is a major concern. With the NFL’s toughest schedule remaining the Broncos had to get this win and did, now they’ll have an extra week of rest and preparation to adjust accordingly.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Broncos will now have a much-needed bye week before hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in a crucial divisional game.

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