The Broncos lost the game versus the Raiders when Hillis fumbled inside the 10 on the first drive. That sounds stupid, but hear me out...
If you look at at 4 of the 5 game the Broncos have lost, they had a turnover on the first series of the game via fumble or INT. Usually they are moving the ball with ease when the turnover occurred. The one exception was the Jacksonville game, where they waited until the 2nd series to turn it over. All but one time (today) the opponent scored on the following possession. In all of these games they've just looked out of sync after said turnover.
Did I use some semblance of the phrase "turnover" enough?
Let's go to the "tape":
Week 4 vs KC: After KC drove down and got a FG on the first drive, Denver received the ball. On the 2nd play of the drive Culter hit Royal for a 20 yard gain, but Royal got hit and fumbled. KC recovered the fumble and advanced it to the DEN 26 where they were able to get a FG and take a 6-0 lead. The Broncos offense never got clicking after being amazing for the first 3 weeks.
Week 6 vs Jax: The exception. Denver scored with extreme ease on their first drive to take a 7-0 lead. However, on the first play of the 2nd series Cutler scrambled and fumbled the ball. Jacksonville recovered and got a FG. While the Broncos were leading 7-3 their offensnse lacked rythem from that point on. The Jags rolled off 17 straight points and Denver didn't reach the endzone again until the 4th quarter.
Week 7 vs NE: Well first off, Cutler hurt his finger on the first play of the game, banging it off the helmet of a NE defender which didn't help. But Andre Hall was the real problem for the Broncos. He fumbled on the first 2 series, both when Denver was in FG range, and both lead to early NE FGs. 6-0 Patriots, only to get much, MUCH worse in time.
Week 9 vs Mia: 3rd offensive play of the game, Cutler throws an INT leading to a Miami FG. Oh yeah, then Cutler threw a TD to the other team 2 drives later. Cutler did his best Jake Plummer impression and the Broncos lost 26-17.
Week 12 vs Oak: Broncos are moving the ball up the field in what looks like the start of a blowout at home when Hillis, lined up at FB instead of RB, seems to be startled by being too close to Jay and never gets the handoff that hits him straight in the chest. Throw in some shanks by Mr. Prater and instead of essential winning the AFC West today, the Broncos drop their second inexcusable game to a terrible division opponent.
Gah...it's so very, very frustarting. This team's offense seems to be the most momentem driven group I've ever seen, and when they screw up early it sets the tone.
Of course, KC is #2 in turnovers and turnover differential and still is horrific, which is really where the rules of logic are violated.
Luckily for the Broncos, Chargers really suck. I really wish the national media would pick up on this. If they keep on talking about their playoff chances they really need to talk about Oakland's chances figuring they are only 1 game back of SD at this point.
That said, if the Broncos turnover the ball early they seem to be screwed.