DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12: Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos scrambles for a first down during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)
Wow. What a painful loss, eh? Not as painful as 59-14, but any loss to the Raiders - especially at home - is going to hurt something terrible. It's almost like I had a glass of milk shattered across my face and spilt milk all over the place. Surely there is a lot of blame to go around, but does it really matter? If there is and I repeat this again A LOT of blame to go around, then why bother debating the issue?
I got into it right afterwards with members of this community, but after a few snarky rebuttals of those who enjoy making Kyle Orton out to be a pious do-gooder I moved along. What good will it do? Kyle Orton had a bad game. So did the offensive line, so did the running backs, so did the linebackers, so did the punter, so did the coaches....and in a way, so did the fans.
Let's review the kneejerks...
The Blame Game Kneejerk
#1 TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW: Easily the biggest kneejerk was chanting for Tebow late in the game. Anyone who thinks he has a chance of supplanting a healthy Orton this year needs to lay off the illegal narcotics. It isn't going to happen, so please please stop making yourself look stupid. I agree with you that Tebow probably could have done no worse than Orton in this game, but you have to look at where the coaches and front office are coming from. Not once have they put Tebow ahead of Orton on the depth chart. Not once. We just need to suffer through this season and find out if they still want Tebow in 2012 or if they draft "their guy" in April.
#2 CAN'T WIN WITHOUT A RUN GAME: Actually, we could have won without a run game. We just didn't. If Orton was on his game he could have torched Oakland badly. He wasn't, but I will tell any Raider fan reading this blog - your secondary is going to have some major issues this year. Mark my words.
#3 CAN'T WIN IF WE CAN'T STOP THE RUN: Actually, we stopped the run fairly well. I counted five or six backup players on defense in the final 15 minutes. The defense kept the game close - what else do you want from them? I felt the defense played with passion and energy they just didn't have last year. The game could have easily slipped away when it was 16-3, but the defense held strong.
#4 IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO WAS QB BEHIND THAT LINE!: Yeah, they were terrible too. However, the throws were terrible. The runs were terrible. Just about all of the execution from every single offensive player was awful. Except when Eddie Royal was wide open in the end zone...
#5 JOHN FOX/JOSH MCDANIELS IS AN IDIOT: I saw both of these. The first is pointless. Either you support the coach and you support the Denver Broncos or you don't. The second is a head scratcher, but at some point you just got to let it go.
The Blame Game Reality
The entire Denver Broncos offense was out of sync for all but one drive in this game. They put up 13 points of offense (3 of which came from a three and out...). They should take sole responsibility for the loss. That said, we have got to be excited about the defense. Sure they gave up lots of yards, but most of those game late in the game when half the starters were out with injury. Hopefully most of those guys were just dinged up and they will be back at full speed within a few days. The pass rush was there, except the Raiders rarely passed the ball. The point is, this team had their chances and they came up short. Time to move on.
Kyle Orton needs to keep his job. Last night was a continuation of the final game he started in 2010, so he absolutely must bounce back with a big game this weekend. This is something he hasn't done in the past, but the Broncos defense hasn't been this good since his first few games with the team. (NOTE: When I say "this good", I mean average as opposed to absolutely terrible). Besides, judging by John Fox's comments, Tim Tebow isn't even close to getting the starting job, so it will save all of us a lot of reading time if we just let that go for now. In fact, it probably won't even be a legitimate topic until the Broncos are officially eliminated from the playoffs.
There you have it. As the self-proclaimed King of the Kneejerks, I decree that we all say: "31-10. 59-14. 39-23". Then you are to think about those numbers and then say: "23-20". It's not all bad and as much as I despise any loss to the Raiders, this one made me feel less worse than a certain day in October of last year.
One last thing. Rahim Moore and Von Miller are the first steps back to dominance. We must exercise patience this year, so next time you feel like jerking the kneejerk take a deep breath and focus on what went right. And if I missed any of the kneejerks, I do apologize - my eyes hurt. I'll catch you next time.