For the second straight game the Broncos fell short in the fourth quarter but the real problem is happening in the third quarter. Over the last two games the Broncos have been outscored 28 – 0 in the third quarter. Here is a summary of the Broncos troubles in the third quarter against the Houston Texans.
Broncos came out and tried to run the ball even though the Texans loaded eight men in the box. Result, lost yardage by Willis McGahee.
Manny Ramirez was really struggling, especially against J.J Watt who finished with 2.5 sacks and a few tackles in the backfield. Ramirez also had a costly holding penalty that negated an Eric Decker 35 yard gain.
The Broncos tried two short passes to Lance Ball in the third quarter. The first one was dropped but would have resulted in a three yard loss. Two plays later (because it worked so well the first time) they tried it again, this time resulting in a one yard loss.
Demaryius Thomas dropped a pass along the sideline but it was third and twelve and even if he caught the pass it would have been well short of the first down.
During one single defensive series the Broncos had three personal fouls resulting in 45 yards worth of penalties. Al Davis and the Raiders would have been so proud. It started with Omar Bolden running into a punt returner before he touched the ball, followed by Von Miller lifting up the quarterback and driving his head into the ground, and finished with Joe (get out your pocket book) Mays uncalled for helmet to helmet hit on Matt Shaub.
To sum it up. Poor play calling, poor execution, poor player decisions, and too many penalties. The Broncos seem content on coming out from the half and burning some clock and trying to establish a short game despite what the defense is giving them.
Matt Shaub seemed willing to spread out the Broncos defense by doing runs, reverses, and throwing long passes. Peyton Manning has yet to throw a long bomb. Hard to tell if Peyton Manning can’t do it or the Broncos or unwilling to do it but until they start stretching the defense it is going to be very crowded at the line of scrimmage and across the middle.
Half time is made for adjustments and motivational speeches but whatever the Broncos coaching staff is doing during the break is not working. The adjustments and the focus is obviously not there. The Broncos problem lies in the John Fox mentality of trying to hang in there rather than sticking it to the opponent. The short game works against certain teams but Atlanta and Houston calls for adjustments and in the third quarter the Broncos have zero points to show for their efforts and their coaching plan. Fix that problem and the Broncos may start winning again.
By Brianne, Bronco Planet Blogger