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Dennis Dixon Struggles, Byron Leftwich Likely To Come In After Halftime

  • Keenan Lewis gave Brandon Lloyd "something extra," in the words of the referee who issued the unnecessary roughness penalty, meaning Lewis pushed the receiver to the ground after making the tackle. (Translator's note: "something extra" is synoymous with "giving him the business" in referee-speak.) Mike Tomlin was understandably less than pleased with the second-year cornerback, sending him straight to the bench.
  • Tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams were flagged for false starts on consecutive plays during Dixon's third drive. (Dixon: "Thanks a lot, guys. I'm trying to win a job here!") Penalties are a legitimate concern for Adams, who in addition to switching away from his natural left side was positively notorious in Dallas for his penchant for racking up the penalty yards.
  • On the next play, Dixon stared down rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a hitch route. Andre' Goodman jumped the route to break up the play, nearly getting a second interception for the Broncos. 
  • William Gay made a case to retain nickleback duties after an awful stint as the team's second cornerback last season and strong preseason performances from second-year guys Lewis and Joe Burnett. Gay ran a shallow zone, getting underneath a Broncos curl route and extending his body to pick off Kyle Orton.
  • Dixon looked much better on the impending drive, his fourth, finding Mewelde Moore and Matt Spaeth over the middle of the field on a couple plays, throwing the ball away in the face of excellent coverage, and flinging a nice pass to Antonio Brown in the flats. He stood strong in the pocket the whole time. And then...
  • ...he took a sack when Robert Ayers came flying up the middle. You can't blame the quarterback entirely for that, of course, but you can pretty much blame him for the following pick-six he threw to Goodman. The defensive back made a terrific play, jumping the route and gathering the bobbling ball, but Dixon's placement wasn't stellar either, as he placed the ball on the inside shoulder of the receiver (Sanders) instead of toward the sideline, away from the defender. It looks like Byron Leftwich will be under center in Week 1.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.