Freud on the NFL: The Broncos pass first test, but there are more on the horizon
1. Chiefs (2-0) … New England win deserves respect.
2. Steelers (2-0) … They get the Ravens in Week 4.
3. Patriots (1-1) … They’ll find a way on defense.
4. Falcons (2-0) … I’m wary, but they beat the Pack.
5. Raiders (2-0) … This pains me as well, Broncos fans.
1. 49ers (0-2) … Could we score a bleeping TD, please?
2. Colts (0-2)… Big matchup against the Browns this week.
3. Browns (0-2) … See the Colts.
4. Bears (0-2) … 0-3 after the Steelers.
5. New York City (0-4) … The Giants and Jets aren’t looking good.
Always nice to beat the Cowboys, ain’t it?
For more mature Broncos fans, Super Bowl XII, memories linger of when Craig Morton finally won a Super Bowl for Dallas. Unfortunately, he was Denver’s quarterback.
And then there’s just hating the Cowboys as general principle. (Yes, that is the 49ers fan in me speaking.)
The Broncos’ 42-17 spanking of America’s Team is a very good sign, but doesn’t portend anything finite about the rest of Denver’s season.
The good stuff
• Quarterback Trevor Siemian merely has to be adequate. The offense just has to show a pulse, be a complementary facet to the defense that is the heartbeat of this team.
Siemian was much more than adequate this week, going 22-for-32 for 231 yards with four touchdowns and one pick. The interception is OK, when you throw for four scores. This is likely not going to be norm, but it doesn’t have to be. Do remember that Siemian had a big game in Week 3 against the Bengals in Cincinnati last year, and most in Broncos’ Nation thought he was The Second Coming.
Great game for Trevor, no doubt, but he’s still a work in progress, albeit trending in the right direction.
• I know that after John Elway and Peyton Manning, Broncos fans are quarterback-obsessed, but I’d be more excited about 168 yards of rushing that Denver racked up against the Cowboys. The running game travels. The running game moves the ball when the weather turns cold. The running game keeps other teams’ offenses off the field — perhaps the Patriots and Tom Brady, not to mention keeping your own vicious defense fresh.
C.J. Anderson carried the ball 25 times for 118 yards with one rushing touchdown and one by air. With Anderson running well for the first two games of the season, that takes more pressure off Siemian to perform. If C.J. can rush for 1,000 yards — his career-high is 849 yards in 2014 — the Broncos could be cooking with Crisco.
Interesting note on the running game — Jamal Charles wasn’t dinged for his fumble during Week 1 against the Chargers. He had one fewer carry — nine, as opposed to 10 — for 46 yards.
• The offensive line gave up two sacks over right tackle. But when the quarterback throws for four scores and you have a 100-plus-yard rusher, the beef is doing well. The big worry is Garrett Bolles seems to be out for a few weeks with what the Broncos are calling an ankle sprain and bone bruise. Donald Stephenson — eep — or Allen Barbre gets his spot for now.
• The Broncos’ defense was magnificent against a very good Dallas offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott had a whopping eight yards of rushing. Quarterback Dak Prescott was running for his life. Von Miller had two sacks. I only note this because The Associated Press was wondering if Miller was in “sack slump” after Week 1. (Pfft.) Aquib Talib delivered the coup de grace with the 103-yard pick-six.
But don’t get too excited because …
• The Broncos are two weeks into the season. Remember 4-0 a year ago. (That should probably be like, “Remember the Maine.”) I’m not being Debbie Downer. We need a bigger sample size before making proclamations about the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
• The Broncos haven’t played a road game yet. Denver has a terrific home-field advantage at 5,280 feet between the altitude and the fans. The Broncos have defended their turf so far. The road is a different place. Does Buffalo beat Denver on Sunday, Sept. 24? I really don’t think so. But the Broncos do have three divisional road games as well as three other East Coast trips (Eagles, Dolphins and Redskins).
• We also don’t know what kind of win this is. Remember that the Broncos opened with a win over the Panthers last season in a Super Bowl rematch. That seemed like a good win at the time, but Carolina ended up having a bad season. At the same time, during that 4-0 start, the Broncos beat the Bucs, 27-7, which was a better win than we thought as Tampa Bay went 10-6.
The Broncos’ first loss was at Atlanta, which was a bad loss then. As it turned out, the Falcons went to the Super Bowl. A 2-0 start is wonderful, but don’t put the cart before the Bronco.
• The AFC West is shaping up as really good one. Both the Raiders and Chiefs are 2-0. The Raiders trashed the Jets, as a good team should. The Chiefs got their second win by beating the Eagles, an OK win, but still on the heels of a victory in New England.
• Speaking of the Patriots, their 36-20 win at New Orleans wasn’t as close as the score indicated. New England has to stay on the radar all year.
• Can one really trust the Falcons after their super Bowl meltdown? We’ve got a good game this week with Atlanta at Detroit.
• The Ravens are 2-0 having beat the Bengals and Browns. Meh. The Steelers are 2-0 with wins over the Browns and Vikings (with Case Kenum). I still fear the Steelers more.
• Are the Panthers back? At 2-0, this follows Carolina’s bad year-good year pattern. To. Be. Determined.
Onto Week 3 … which is starting with the Rams at Niners on Thursday, Sept. 21? Oh, the humanity.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
When Flacco drops back to pass, he earns respect without uttering a word, by displaying a gift that’s rare, even at the NFL level.