Whisky Tango Foxtrot? Hey, look over there, it's the hapless 3-6 Rams. Talk about an easy victory for the Broncos, right? Ugh, yes, that is the mindless homerism drivel that was spewed for a full week. If anyone said "you know, they beat Seattle and San Francisco, they may not be as easy as we think.", that person gets flamed and called a hater and a non-fan and a troll. Do you know what I call those fans? I call them realists.
Let me ask everyone something, can I? What part about the last three weeks gives you optimism about this team's Super Bowl aspirations? That we had a slow start and then beat up on the Raiders? Is that what keeps you warm at night? If the Raiders were even a semi-competent team, they would have beaten the Broncos and the Broncos would be staring at a 3 game losing streak. Yes, Pete is in full on panic mode.
Ok, rant is over. It's time for me to get rational for a moment here: This game wasn't lost because of Peyton Manning. Period. It was lost because of Adam Gase's inability to call run plays. Once again, the onus is on the coaching staff even though players needed to play better.
You know what? Forget this Super Bowl talk. I really don't want to hear any of it this week. Super Bowl? The Broncos will get lucky to win the division let alone a playoff game or three.
Number one seed in the AFC talk? Yep, I don't want to hear about that either. Again, the Broncos will be lucky to win the division. They might be lucky to be a wildcard team once the season shakes out. Lets look at the rundown of the upcoming Broncos games, shall we?
Home against the Miami Dolphins: Should the Broncos win this game? Sure, but will they? They were suppose to beat the Rams, right? Home field is worth, what, three points? Well, that means if the Rams played here in Denver (temps in the teens), that means the Broncos would lose 10-19 (giving Denver 3 and taking 3 from the Rams).... yeah, the Broncos were that pathetic last night. So don't anyone dare say we'll win this game with any amount of certainty. We should win, but I'm hardly chalking it down as a victory. Projected Record: 8-3
Away to Arrowhead Stadium and the Kansas City Chiefs: This is going to be ugly. I'm talking Patriots' game ugly just without the offensive output by the Pats. How can I say that if the Broncos don't lose by 30? Easy, this game will feel like we lost by 40, but KC lacks the firepower just like the Rams lack the firepower to show the rest of the NFL the true dismantling and domination they had over us, but make no mistake, the Broncos will be thoroughly out played. Projected Record: 8-4 KC now firmly in charge of AFCW
Home against the Buffalo Bills: Honestly, this is a game that we should win, but like Miami, who knows. The Bills have a really good defense, and if we know anything about this Broncos team, it's that if they get smacked in the mouth by a defense, they are like a prize fighter with their bell rung. They are just dazed, confused, and unable to punch their way out of the corner. Pathetic. The only glimmer of hope for the Broncos in all honesty is that the Bills have a legit question mark at the quarterback position. The reason why it is only a glimmer of hope instead of the definitive reason as to why the Broncos will win is because we have Kyle Orton 10.4 (Peyton Manning), and if he gets rattled early, he plays like Kyle Orton 1.0. Projected Record: 9-4
Away against the San Diego Chargers: This won't be as horrible of a loss as the Chiefs' disaster, but we will get thoroughly out played. Rivers will have his goofy smirks and grins and run his mouth all the way to a 20 point victory over Denver. Projected Record: 9-5
Away against the Cincinnati Bengals: This is a team that practically mirrors Denver in my opinion. They either play lights out good or lights out bad. They are at home and presumably fighting for a playoff spot. They'll bring their "A" game and narrowly beat the Broncos. Projected Record: 9-6
Home against the Oakland Raiders: This is the only game I'm saying right now, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Broncos win. Mercifully, the Broncos can clinch a playoff berth with this drubbing of the Raiders. However, they'll be depending on other teams to lose to determine how high of a seed they'll get. Could they be within striking distance of the AFCW and a home playoff game? Doubtful as I can only see the Chiefs dropping one or maybe two games, but it isn't out of the realm of possibilities. Either way, the Broncos beat the Raiders. Projected Record: 10-6
So there you have it folks. 10-6 and probably a wild card team (meaning away playoff games). Do you think this team who lost to the Rams can trot into Baltimore and win? Or Indy and win? How about back to Arrowhead and win? Yeah? So then they'll go into the Pat's house and win? I'd LOVE to have a glass of whatever orange concoction anyone who answered "yes" is having.
Now the individual grouping reactions:
Peyton Manning threw two more interceptions bringing his three game total to six. Anyone who sees this as no big deal and no problem at all is lying to themselves. Sure, he passed for almost 400 yards again, but like the old Shanahan days, those are empty stats as it's the scoreboard, not the stat sheet that determines games. Make no mistake, Manning isn't solely to blame for this humiliation, but he has to shoulder some of the blame because he is the signal caller after all. He could audible to running plays. He could simply pass to someone not named Jacob Tamme when he's double covered. But he didn't, so he does get some blame.
The offense will go nowhere without Emmanuel Sanders, and that's a fact. Once he went down (after yet another 100 yard game), our offense flat out stunk. I don't know what John Fox and Adam Gase are thinking, but Jacob Tamme is NOT Emmanuel Sanders. And guess what? Neither is Andre "Bubba" Caldwell. Why that guy has a roster spot is beyond me. He can't do squat on special teams, and he can't catch passes or run proper routes as a wide receiver on offense. Tell me again how that makes him part of the 53 man roster again?
Demaryius Thomas kept his current streak of 100+ yard games alive at seven. He's only one game away from tying Calvin Johnson. I'd love to see him be better utilized though. For as good as he is, and as independent from the quarterback as his game is, he still needs someone to chuck the ball up there and give him a chance. Unfortunately, when Manning gets rattled, those chances disappear.
The offensive line is horrible. Seriously bad. If anyone thinks an Incognito signing will fix it, they are painfully mistaken. Could it help? Maybe. But this line has too many issues to think a stop-gap player will fix anything. Like I said all offseason, they completely screwed up the line by playing musical chairs with the players and creating more holes than they had. They had exactly one (1) hole in the line this offseason, and they have effectively created four (4) as of today. All they had to do was fill in the hole left by Beadles (with Chris Clark as my suggestion seeing he played good on the left), but instead, the coaching staff thought they'd out-smart everyone and completely reshuffle the line. Yeah, way to go geniuses. Instead of a single hole to be filled, the Broncos have zero players along the line playing in the same position as the line from the Super Bowl. Sure, that line wasn't great, but they were a damn sight better than the line they sent out yesterday.
I should note that IF Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders get healthy and stay that way, and IF Virgil Green gets healthy and can play, then the Broncos might be able to start rounding into form. But those are a bunch of IF's and BUT's, and we all know the saying about if's and but's, right?
The defense held up amazingly strong. They held the Rams to five field goals. That isn't too bad considering how long they had to be on the field because of the ineptitude of the offense. Von Miller was good. DeMarcus Ware was good. Brandon Marshall was great as usual. Our secondary was pretty bad, but held up according to the scheme.
All in all, I think the players on defense played really well. It was the scheme and coaching that let the players down. This defense is a good coordinator away from being a Super Bowl caliber defense. Too bad we don't have that coordinator on the staff.
Again, I'm not sure I can be objective here when talking about the coaches. I will say this though, you need to run the ball more than nine times! Nine! Do you know that of the Broncos first 11 plays, ten of them were passes? So spare me the "we were forced into being one dimensional" excuse Adam Gase and John Fox, because you weren't. Adam Gase is a one dimensional coach. When the score is 0-0 or 0-3, you aren't forced into anything. You, Mr. Gase, forced the Broncos to be one dimensional, and do you know what? The end results have been horrible. The Broncos are 0-3 when running less than 20 times a game. For everyone who says the running game is dead and you're giving up yards by handing the ball off, I will repeat that stat: The Broncos are 0-3 when they run the ball less than 20 times, and 7-0 when they run it more than 20 times. You may be giving up yards by running the ball, but you are scoring more points. Ask yourself this, would you rather have empty yards, or meaningful points? I'm taking the points every time. Someone needs to get that memo out to Fox and Gase ASAP, because they simply don't get it.
I believe others will cover the coaching ineptitude later, so that's all I have to say for now except that I sincerely hope Fox, Del Rio, and Gase find work elsewhere. The only one I could stomach retaining would be Gase, but that's only if he understands that you need balance on offense. Yay, you have a Ferrari (Manning), too bad you're so dumb that you're putting diesel gas in it and going nowhere.
Sound off in the comments below guys. Help talk me off this ledge because the way I see it, the Broncos won't even make the Super Bowl in order to win it.