Broncos 7, Rams 22. Well, we thought the loss to the Patriots was ugly, but what the Denver Broncos assembled on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams redefined what we all thought is ugly. John Fox and John Elway need to figure out the offensive line as it really does seem like most of this teams problems are emanating from that area.
Savor the highlights, because there isn't all that many of them in comparison the lowlights. Such is life after a blowout road loss.
Demaryius Thomas. The one constant on offense besides Emmanuel Sanders is Demaryius Thomas. The workhorse shows up to play even when the coaching staff mails it in. He notched his seventh consecutive 100 yard receiving game and is now just one shy of the NFL Record held by Calvin Johnson. There were many times on Sunday when Peyton Manning was forcing the ball to Jacob Tamme on low percentage passes on third down where I found myself screaming "THROW IT TO DT". I didn't know if DT was even open and I didn't care. A covered DT has a higher percentage of success than a covered Tamme in that situation. I look forward to seeing Thomas continue to be the workhorse of consistency that he has become since the Bye week. ~Tim Lynch
DeMarcus Ware. Though the defense was unable to keep the Rams from scoring, it did hold the Rams to five field goals with some tough third-down stands, and Ware’s constant pressure (when allowed) on Shaun Hill was a big reason. Ware appeared to take the game into his own hands in the fourth quarter, trying to keep it just a two-score game when sacked Shaun Hill for an 8-yard loss and fumble (that Hill recovered). Then Ware followed up with a run-stuffing tackle on Tre Mason for negative yards, setting up 4th and 18. If only Ware could have blocked the field goal too. ~Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
DAMN! Game changer nearly on that fumble, but great sack by @DeMarcusWare!
— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) November 16, 2014
Emmanuel Sanders. Before that brutal hit, Sanders was again proving he was one of the best free agent signings the Broncos made this year. He kept Peyton Manning's game-with-a-TD streak going, and he deserves a lot of the credit for that on a bad Peyton day. Hopefully Sanders gets well soon; he's a key cog in the Broncos' offensive machine, which needs full capacity to get back on track! ~Kyle Montgomery
John Fox. Yeah the Denver Broncos lost and it sucks, but the one thing that happened on Sunday that caused me to go into a Twitter frenzy of f-bombs was John Fox's apparent complete lack of situational coaching ability when he refused to call timeouts to stop the clock in the hopes of maybe giving Peyton Manning enough time in the final minutes of the first half to put up some more points. Instead, he saved his timeouts until it was fourth down with 20 seconds left. Then and only then did he call a timeout, so the Broncos could then field a punt (we all know how those could end up) and have a kneel down to end the half. This is not the first time we have experienced such head-scratching decisions from the sideline and frankly, I have no more excuses for it. A grade school kid could have made a better decision in that situation.
The worst part is that we will never know how momentum could have been changed had John Fox used his head better in that situation. With the way the St. Louis Rams were playing, this team probably would have still lost, but momentum is a tricky thing in football. Had the Broncos gotten the ball back with some time and somehow put up 3 or 7 points, who knows how the Rams would have responded in the second half. They could have had doubts. The could have been thinking "oh, here we go again" and the Broncos could have seized control of the game back from the home team. However, instead of playing situational football, John Fox pissed away momentum and then called a timeout to make us all wonder what the hell he was thinking.
In the second half, the coaching head-scratching continued unabated. It was so bad that even former Broncos players were voicing their frustrations on Twitter. I can only imagine what was going through John Elway's mind as he watched that train wreck unfold. Is this team really a Super Bowl contender? I think they have the talent to contend, but I am seriously doubting that this coaching staff has the ability to coach this talent-filled team to a championship. ~Tim Lynch
Peyton Manning. Peyton's game today will be talked about as "decent". It will be said that it was a good game for a QB to get over 300 yards passing. That's all bull though. Denver fans have seen this kind of quarterback play before. Peyton Manning was Kyle Orton today. He moved the ball in spurts, and as soon as we got in a threatening position, was completely grounded out other than one big play.
Defenses are quickly adjusting to Peyton's offense. There isn't enough to it to keep the defenses honest and we are seeing way too many plays where Peyton is throwing into double coverage or worse. This game was just a couple of bad turnovers. There was a plethora of throws going into coverage...some complete and some incomplete. ~Sadarine
The kicking game. Or rather, the non-existent field-goal-kicking game. It would be nice to go for fourth down because we legitimately believe we have a chance to get the first down and go on for a touchdown. But when we are consistently going for 4th and several yards, it is a gamble, and it is only because we have zero confidence in Brandon McManus. Use him or find another because he can’t feel very good about his own ability if the coaches don’t believe in him. And for crying out loud, if we ARE going to go for it on fourth down, let’s have a play call that makes sense. Is that too much to ask? ~Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
The offensive line. Peyton Manning needs a league-low 2.31 seconds to get rid of the football, and the offensive line couldn't even give him that. Their repeated inability to pick up an A-gap stunt is frustrating, and it's even more frustrating knowing they have had to have practiced it at least 1,000 times by now. Hopefully this huge o-line shuffle experiment is over, because it clearly didn't get better. The o-line got worse. ~Kyle Montgomery
The silver lining
Adversity can lead to determination and success ... or can it lead to capitulation and defeat. I have to believe this teams psyche is not as fragile as say the Oakland Raiders psyche, so this bump in the road can certainly lead to a more focused and determined football team down the stretch. Do I want them to win out? Hell no. Anything but that 13-3 record again.
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