The era of the Jedi QB is coming to an end in the AFC, and the Broncos have more than a new hope.
Darth Brady and evil Lord Belichick have a Death Star dynasty in New England; however, at this very moment, it appears to be defenseless. The Patriots this season rank last in yards-per-game allowed and unless something drastically changes up front for the Pats, it truly looks like the beginning of the end for the dark side.
In the steel city, Ben Roethlisberger is still waiting for the Force to awaken this year. Before this season started, many an expert picked the Steelers as a team to contend with the Patriots for the AFC crown. As the season progresses, this looks more like science fiction and less like a Super Bowl team. Even Roethlisberger has his doubts. After throwing five interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Big Ben said “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.” Big Ben, once a man who could take a team and lead them to victory, looks more like a first-year Wookiee than a veteran Jedi.
Roethlisberger is not alone in unusual struggle. Much to Broncos fans’ delight, 2016 Pro Bowl QB Philip Rivers has no attack to speak of as ownership tries to clone the Chargers in Los Angeles. Rivers currently has a completion percentage of 59.8 percent (29th). In comparison, Mike Glennon, before being benched for rookie Mitch Trubisky, had a completion percentage of 66.4 percent. Rivers, usually more than a phantom menace to the Broncos and defenses across the league, has only dipped below 60 percent completion percentage one time in his 14-year career, and that was in 2005 when he completed 54.5 percent of his passes. With a record of 1-4 thus far, the Chargers are no threat to the Bronco rebellion.
There are a few Jedi QBs left in the NFL who can single-handedly use the Force to overcome any NFL opponent, but in the 2017 season they are of no real threat to the Denver Broncos.
Aaron Rodgers, perhaps the last true Jedi QB, came back against the Dallas Cowboys with a 75-yard TD drive, and only 1:02 remaining on the clock. For NFL fans who got to see it, it was truly out of this world.
Rodgers’ neighbor in the NFC North used his Jedi powers to become the highest-paid player in the NFL. Matt Stafford in 2017 is among the league leaders in passing efficiency, with nine touchdowns and only one interception. Both Rodgers and Stafford are on track to have very strong seasons; however, they are not on the Broncos schedule – for Broncos Country, they might as well be in a galaxy far, far away.
In previous episodes of the Denver Broncos, you could look at this scenario and say the Broncos will run away with the AFC like the Millennium Falcon runs away from bounty hunters, but there is a disturbance.
The Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 are a true threat. Usually more farce than Force, the Chiefs this season are flat-out dominant. Alex Smith in 2017 ranks first in passing with a 76.6 completion percentage, 8.8 yards per completion, and an incredible 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions. To make matters worse, the Chiefs have a ground game as well: Second in rushing with 781 yards total and 156.2 yards per game. The Chiefs are a real disturbance in the Force.
The Denver Broncos don’t have to face those NFC North Jedi QBs, but they might have the toughest task in all of sports at the moment in having to face the Chiefs, both home and away. Over the next two games Denver faces the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Chargers. Both games are more winnable than a storm trooper shooting contest. But then, they go into enemy territory to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
Only after the contest in K.C. will we truly know the power of the Broncos and see just how far this team can go in 2017.
“Try Not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda (Except a field goal try)