Is this the dawn of Air Shanahan? |

Is this the dawn of Air Shanahan?

Anyone see this coming?

Highest-scoring offense in the NFL: Broncos. Most productive quarterback in the NFL: Cutler. Gutsiest call of the year thus far: Shanahan (a.k.a. Snake Eyes).

I was watching Sunday’s stirring climax with a lifelong Broncos fan and a lifelong Chargers fan, so you don’t have to tell me the game was screwed up by the official. My ears are still wincing from the shouts of protest.

However, the NFL is built on results, and in the Broncos’ case, the results are pretty good. Two games, two wins, an NFL-best 10 touchdowns and 80 points.

The most surprising ” and encouraging, if you root for Denver ” trend within the offensive clinic has been the rush-pass breakdown. On Sunday, the Broncos threw the ball 50 times and ran it 24. Selvin Young averaged 10 yards a carry, but they didn’t need him to do anything more than complement Jay Cutler’s aerial show.

On the season, Denver has gained more than twice as many yards through the atmosphere (641) than on the turf (286). This from a team that is known for its rushing offense as much as its pumpkin color.

Will it continue? You sure have to think so. Eddie Royal gives the Broncos a coveted and surprisingly adept No. 2 weapon on the outside, preventing defensive secondaries from focusing solely on Brandon Marshall. While that sounds cliche, it makes a huge difference to a quarterback and play caller.

The most significant factor in Denver’s early passing success, however, is that come December and January, when the Broncos have struggled in a big way over the last decade, they could have something they’ve always lacked: a fresh rushing attack.

In the meantime, at the very least, it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep putting up 40 points a game. …

Also from the NFL, it was an excellent Sunday to be: Aaron Rodgers, a Manning, Matt Cassel, Darren McFadden, at Invesco Field, Kurt Warner, on a couch with a remote control and the NFL Ticket.

But a terrible Sunday to be: Ed Hochuli, a football-hating football fan’s wife, a Ram, Dolphin, Lion or Charger, Ed Hochuli’s whistle. …

Despite Minnesota’s heartbreaking loss to Indianapolis, a game the Vikings led 15-0 late, one fact became ever clearer Sunday. There are some stupid-good athletes playing running back in the NFL these days, but for my money, none is better than Adrian Peterson. …

At least a few college football writers must think Ohio State is no better than a scout team, because even after USC ate the fifth-ranked Buckeyes for dinner Saturday night, dismantling them 35-3 in L.A., the Trojans still were not a unanimous No. 1 in the AP poll. …

As much as I despise the way A.J. Pierzynski plays baseball, I hope the White Sox find a way to squeak into the postseason. Then we could start talking up a real Windy City classic.

No archrivalry in major sports needs the stage more than Cubs-White Sox. It’s about social class when the North Siders and South Siders get together, and it’d be awful fun to see it play out in the World Series. …

Yes, Sidney Crosby ” best hockey player in the world, owner of a $43 million NHL contract and millions more in endorsements, dashing 21-year-old bachelor ” is still living at Mario Lemieux’s house. …

In parting, it’s excellent to hear Lance Armstrong is coming back for another go of it next year, but here’s the thing about his potentially joining the Astana team. They already have Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer.

What happens now? Contador won the Tour de France a year and a half ago, with Leipheimer in third. And Contador currently leads the Spanish Vuelta ” one of cycling’s three major stage races ” with Leipheimer in second, well ahead of Tour de France champ Carlos Sastre.

You could make a case that Armstrong will be joining a team that already has the two best stage racers in the world. Which leaves Astana … where, exactly? No chance team director Johan Bruyneel opens it up to an intrasquad competition, leaving open the possibility that Armstrong would ride support for Contador or Leipheimer.

But is it fair to relegate Contador, in particular, to a support role after the success he’s had, simply because Armstrong decided he was sick of dating half of Hollywood? Should we get Brett Favre to weigh in?

Regardless of how it turns out between now and February, it’s stunning how little it took to change the course of cycling’s supposed demise.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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