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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
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# Gridiron
The Redzone: It’s Miller time
With all the hype surrounding their quarterback, it’s actually the Denver Broncos defence that have quietly seen them emerge as genuine playoff contenders. Steven O’Rourke rounds up week twelve in the NFL.

Denver Broncos 16 @ San Diego Chargers 13

I’M NOT STUBBORN. I’ve shown in The Redzone before that I’m perfectly willing to admit when I’m wrong.

I’ve literally and figuratively eaten my hat on these pages.

However, I’m not wrong about Tim Tebow. He remains a terrible quarterback.

Right now you’re either nodding your head in agreement or you’ve clicked straight to the comment section to tell me how Tebow is winning games and has a 5-1 record as a starter, blah, blah, blah.

However,  the fact remains that Tebow still can’t throw the ball — his completion percentage of just 45.5% is worse than Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler’s 50% — and the Broncos offence have only scored four touchdowns in their last three games.

Instead, almost all the praise for the turnaround in Denver’s season should go to defensive co-ordinator Dennis Allen, the Broncos defence and rookie linebacker Von Miller.

Allen, who joined the Broncos from the Saints this earlier this year, suffered more than most in the lockout as he missed vital time working with the Denver defence and it showed in the first five weeks as they conceded an average of 28 points a game.

Since their bye week, however, the Broncos are conceding just 20 points a game.

A big part of that improvement is the outstanding work of rookie outside linebacker Von Miller. The second overall pick in the 2011 draft has 58 tackles and 10.5 sacks including three forced fumbles.

Between Miller and the wonderfully-monikered Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos now have a very effective pass rush and, with those two leading the way, Denver’s defensive efforts are keeping games tight enough for their offence to rally and win.

Oh, and here’s one final stat for all you Tebow fans: the Broncos were averaging 21 points a game before Tebow took over and only 18.8 since. Proof, I think you’ll agree, that Denver’s offence is actually worse now than it was entering the bye week at 1-4.

Watch the highlights here.

Performance of the week

There are three aspects to every football team: offence, defence and special teams.

While it’s easy to praise someone like Devin Hester who electrifies crowds with long punt and kick returns, the punters and place kickers themselves are often overlooked.

However, week 12 saw the Oakland Raiders kicking unit almost single-handedly win their game against the Chicago Bears.

Sebastian Janikowski kicked a team-record six field goals while Shane Lechler not only had an 80-yard punt but almost completely neutralised the aforementioned Devin Hester.

Watch the Raiders pair put in a kicking masterclass here.

Play of the week

It wasn’t enough to help the Bills win but the effort, concentration and skill Brad Smith showed to tip this pass to himself for a touchdown is something his fellow WR Stevie Johnson could really learn from.

Watch it here.

All fixtures and results

  • Green Bay Packers 27 @ Detroit Lions 15
  • Miami Dolphins 19 @ Dallas Cowboys 20
  • San Francisco 49ers 6 @ Baltimore Ravens 16
  • Minnesota Vikings 14 @ Atlanta Falcons 24
  • Cleveland Browns 20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 23
  • Carolina Panthers 27 @ Indianapolis Colts 19
  • Houston Texans 20 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 13
  • Buffalo Bills 24 @ New York Jets 28
  • Arizona Cardinals 23 @ St. Louis Rams 20
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 @ Tennessee Titans 23
  • Chicago Bears 20 @ Oakland Raiders 25
  • Washington Redskins 23 @ Seattle Seahawks 17
  • New England Patriots 38 @ Philadelphia Eagles 20
  • Denver Broncos 16 @ San Diego Chargers 13
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 13 @ Kansas City Chiefs 9
  • New York Giants 24 @ New Orleans Saints 49

Steven O’Rourke is the offensive co-ordinator of Tullamore PhoenixAmerican Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.

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