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FINAL: Sloppy Broncos Lose Opener To Raiders 23-20


Category Broncos Raiders
Score 20 23
Rushing Yards
13 car. 38 yards (2.9 ypc) 39 car. 190 yards (4.9 ypc)
Passing Yards
272 99
Total Yards 310 289
3rd Down Conversions 6-13 5-14
T.O.P 27:25 32:35
3 1

Sloppy. Is there any other word to use to describe this penalty-riddled football game? Oh, I have one, painful. The Broncos didn't lose 59-14 but this one hurts more, at least to me. The Broncos had every opportunity to win the game but fumbled, held, dropped it away. Kyle Orton wasn't good, but neither was the offense line.

The defense played better, but when it had to have it - with the Broncos down 23-23 with 3:43 to go - they couldn't get off the field. If there are games that are team--wins, this was a team-loss. For the Broncos, in a lot of ways, that means more of the same that fans have seen over the last 2, 3, 4, 5 years.

The Broncos turned the football over 3 times, they gave up nearly 200 yards rushing. They played with an attitude, however, something we've been looking for, but it lead to 10 penalties for 91 yards. Only the Raiders - who were penalized 15 times for 131 yards, made the Broncos night look better than it actually was.

One play, however, one play was the difference. A fumble by Kyle Orton on a play-action fake, a play that Orton simply dropped the ball was the culprit, a likely 14-point swing that saw all the momentum the Broncos had built in climbing back from a 16-3 halftime deficit disappear in an instant. The Raider scored a touchdown on the drive, taking advantage of every Broncos miscue.

There was a missed 56-yard field goal by Matt Prater that gave the Raiders good field position, good enough to kick a FG of their own. A blocked punt gave the Raiders a short field to score their first touchdown. Sebastian Janikowski tied Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam by hitting a 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half, 3-points that ended up being the difference.

The Broncos didn't quit, however, with Eric Decker scoring on a 90-yard punt return. The Broncos had life, had momentum, before the Play. Orton will be the fall guy - and as the quarterback he should be. Personally, I could care less if the Broncos make a quarterback change - 10 penalties, just 38 yards rushing, and unknown injuries to Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey, Knowshon Moreno and Brandon Lloyd all hold more significance. The fans will have their say, of course, and it is likely the Broncos front office will be listening - if not right now, then soon.

Perhaps that will be the spark the Broncos need. Only time - and John Fox - can tell us if, and when, we may see Tim Tebow or Brady Quinn. Performances like tonight, however, by the quarterback - and the team - are unacceptable, however, and the fans smell blood.

The Bengals come to town next Sunday. The Broncos had better get a win because the schedule only gets tougher from here on out and the 2011 season may already have begin spiralling out of control.