I'm done with being upset. I have yelled and screamed at my computer, but it has done no good. I have come to the realization that the Broncos and Josh McDaniels can't hear me from Kentucky.
That's fine. After taking a day to let the loss soak in, I have emerged... decidedly less irate. Still irate, but to a lesser extent. On a scale of "napping" to "punch a hole in the wall", I have gone from a "punch a hole in the wall" to "shrugging, coyly smiling and saying 'oh well, can't win 'em all'...". Any disturbance could cause me to slide a bit higher in the scale, but for now I am starting to become a bit more relaxed.
I know that I am very much alone, in that regard. Many of the people reading this are not going to like what I have to say because I am not quite ready to fetch the pitchfork from my basement. I don't think we should fire Josh McDaniels right now and I don't think we should put Tim Tebow as our starting quarterback ahead of Kyle Orton.
I say we should go about our business. Now, before you get up in arms and say "heads must roll, KB", let me make sure that we are putting the Bronco before the cart. Many will call this article "apologistic" and that's fine. It doesn't bother me in the least. I believe that it is justified and that the "fire McD and bench Orton" bandwagon is fueled with knee-jerk technology and that it should start to lose steam after we beat the San Francisco 49ers in London.
For now, let's take a gander at the recent past (as painful as it might be) and have a nice little chit-chat after the jump.
For a moment, let's take a more broad perspective and try not to get too hung up on just the Raiders game. Think about the entire season, weeks 1 through 6. The Broncos are notorious for starting slowly. When I was in the stands at LP Field in Nashville, the Broncos were getting beaten handily in the first quarter. Fortunately, we were able to hold the Titans at arms length until we could get our act together and get off the mat. With the other games (Jets, Baltimore and Indy come to mind), we started slow, as well, but we were able to at least make a game of it by keeping it close at the beginning.
The Raiders game, on the other hand, we were not able to stay within reach. After the first touchdown allowed, the Broncos were still very much in the game. A long drive by the Broncos and we were looking at a tie ball game or at least a 7-3 game. Things didn't turn out that way. We threw a pick 6 and the Raiders were up by 2 scores, just like that.
At this point, the game was already starting to feel like an uphill battle. It felt that way because it was. The Broncos haven't gone down 2 scores in the first quarter in any of the games this season. Against the Raiders, they did.
Ebb and Flow, Momentum, and Confidence
What cannot be measured (but should always be noted) is ebb and flow. John Bena talks about this all the time and we often forget to take this into account when we recollect a football game. Every game has an ebb and flow to it. Some call it momentum, others call it confidence. I don't care. Call it what you want, but every game has it.
In this game, the Broncos lost momentum when they allowed a pick six. What totally took the air out of the tires was the Demaryius Thomas fumble. At this point, down 21-0 at the 5 minute mark, the game was basically decided. Sure, there were 55 minutes of football remaining, but it was a foregone conclusion that the Broncos had a negligible chance of victory.
I know what you're thinking..... "but KB, teams have two turnovers all the time. The Broncos just laid down and quit after they gave up their turnovers on Sunday".
Great point, but not every team has two turnovers in that kind of rapid succession. The first two offensive plays of the game were turnovers. Both of those turnovers yielded a touchdown the other way. Many times, teams will have turnovers spread out through the course of the game. They get a chance to gain some momentum back by having possession of the ball and scoring some points. Not so with the Broncos. By giving up turnovers at the very beginning of the game, not only did they put themselves at a 3 score deficit, they also crushed their own confidence, lost the crowd or home field advantage, and limited the playcalling creativity of Josh McDaniels.
But 59-14? Was it really that bad?
To be honest, this score hurt, at first. After taking a long look in the mirror, I have decided that I don't care what the final score was. It doesn't matter. A loss is a loss and a win is a win.
The final score, in my head, was 21-0. Anything after that is irrelevant because we weren't watching the Broncos vs Raiders anymore. We were watching the Raiders vs... some group of people with the same color jerseys on. Like I said in the previous section, after the score became 21-0, the air was out of the tires. That's probably not even a fair analogy. The air was out of the tires, raccoons came and ate the upholstery, the wheels were stolen, the car was put on blocks and the entire thing oxidized beyond recognition.... and then the Raiders came in and sprayed Al Davis cologne all over the rusted hunk of junk.
It was that bad... but at the same time, I'm comforted. What I'm hoping that you, as fans and coaches/players (if they're reading, and I hope they are), is that the Broncos season isn't over. The Broncos made 2 terrible plays that completely changed the outcome of the game. Granted, the emotion behind this loss will likely take the better part of a week, two weeks, maybe longer, but if you can take a step back and really evaluate where the Broncos are, it's not all that bad. We aren't this bad.
Fire McDaniels?....Bench Orton?
I heard a lot of talk about whether or not we should fire coach McDaniels or bench Kyle Orton. Most of that is knee-jerking, in my opinion. I understand the factors that would contribute to someone thinking that, but I think that it's an overreaction based on the final score of the game.
Again, I'm trying to look deeper into that game. The score is secondary to the flow/momentum/confidence that contributed to the score.
Like I said above, two plays on sunday set the stage for a Broncos loss. If you are willing to throw away Josh McDaniels' coaching career based off of two plays, I think you've got something against the guy. Josh McDaniels has certainly received the brunt of the blame. I don't think he deserves it, to be honest. If that makes me an apologist, I don't care. That's what I believe. If we continue to struggle, I reserve the right to change my mind and jump on the "Fire McDaniels" bandwagon. The time isn't now, though. If we abandon ship halfway through the season, we are quitting the season. What's the harm in finishing the season out and evaluating things in January? A losing season? If that's your answer, then it's a poorly thought out one. If we fire McDaniels now, we'll still have a losing season. An interumn coach is not the answer for this team.
If you are willing to bench Orton in favor of Tebow, I'm not with you right now. Kyle Orton made one mistake that contributed to our loss yesterday. The pick six was bad. I admit that. However, we are not a better team with Orton on the bench. Orton is what keeps our offense from falling apart. Throwing him aside, at this point, is just foolish.
Anyways, that's just my opinion, for what it's worth. And, as always....