THIS was a loss that stung. Losing to Indy in a close game is no big deal at all. I can't stand when my team falls to pieces and completely looks inept like our Broncos did this week. Hopefully this is a gut check that the team can learn from and build off of.
Keep in mind, Broncos Country: it is only week 10. There is a lot of football left to play. Contrary to what fans of other teams may think, this was not the Super Bowl. This was only a regular season game that will not end our season or cause our team to fall to pieces.
The offense early on was pretty atrocious. Can we all agree on that? Run blocking was a complete mess. The passing game was woeful. The only consistently good thing that was happening in this game was the snap getting cleanly to the QB's hands. That's sad.
Manning's performance was probably not the most woeful performance I've ever seen in a football game. But in recent memory it sure is. His play was atrocious to be frank. I'm not going to puke out line after line about it because the body of work speaks for itself. I just would like to hammer home a few points that are not new:
- His decision making sucks. At least half of his interceptions (a whopping 17 only 9 games into the season) are due to his choices on what to do with the football. This is undeniable and inexcusable.
- If he's hurt so bad that he can't throw accurately (which I find likely), he's far too prideful to take himself out of the game and do what's best for the team. Ask the ancient Greeks: hubris is a friggin killer.
- If Father Time isn't beating down the door with Manning, he's at least knocking, and if you are making excuses to the contrary, I doubt seriously your objectivity.
I sure was excited to see Brock get some in game real action. I thought he looked like a promising young quarterback. He missed some throws, threw a pick, scrambled the wrong direction in the pocket, and missed some easy open passes. The biggest negative in his game was his not diving as much as he should have. He needs to learn to protect himself (another typical problem for younger QBs). That being said, his play was a night and day difference with Manning's. Here are the good things I noticed on Brock's meaningful snaps:
- He passes the ball with very good zip and it is refreshing to see in our offense.
- His athleticism is very solid and it makes the offense more dynamic. He can run a smoother, faster bootleg that threatens that side of the field for run yardage. He also has better escapability in the pocket.
- He hit a few impressive throws in tight windows and didn't hesitate to throw to any target on the field (not playing favorites). Because his game doesn't rely on timing his throws perfectly, this also makes the offense more dynamic.
There isn't a really new story here. The line appears to be average or a little better at pass protection and completely inconsistent in run blocking. I thought Michael Schofield had one of his worst games (not a big surprise given who he was matched up against). I also thought our left tackles played fairly bad as far as helping to set the edge.
Until late in the game, both our backs looked poor. This was due to our line getting consistently stuffed for the majority of the game. I thought later when we got some competent quarterback play, the line played a little better and as such the backs got to make some decent runs.This likely has to do with the defense having to respect more of the field with seriousness when Brock is in.
I was pretty darn excited to see Vernon Davis make a couple of catches. They didn't make us huge yards or score or anything fancy, but what they did do was show what a TE looks like who can get some separation. Owen Daniels requires an excellently thrown ball to make his catch because his defender is almost always lock-step with him. Lack of speed in the NFL is a killer and I sure would have rather seen his 5 targets go elsewhere.
This was another game where I think Demaryius Thomas could have and should have started taking over the game. The Chiefs have no one in their secondary that can handle him. Yet, we get another 7 catch 71 yards week from him that looks pretty decent on paper. Like the rest of the offense, I really look at him and can't help but think to myself, "Where's the fire? You are a veritable god among men and should be dominating!"
I'm pretty bummed that Emmanuel Sanders was so banged up and that he got shellacked in game. A banged up Sanders isn't quite He-Manuel is what we learned this week.
First off, it was pretty incredible that our defense held KC to just 19 points in the first half. If they had more dynamic players and a quarterback who could threaten the field much, they would have put a 50-burger on us easily.
I don't know what the major problem was early, but our line was getting its rear handed to it on a regular basis early. Holes were open for the KC runners that you could drive a truck through and the lack of run blocking led to KC's early TD.
Our pass rush was pretty good, but our coverage wasn't holding up great early on and KC took advantage of it with their quick throw offense. I thought KC did a good job of attacking the edges where our younger corners were at. Make no mistake that Talib being suspended unquestionably had an impact.
I thought Kayvon Webster had a fairly poor performance of all the secondary. He got juked a couple times in coverage and I thought both he and Bradley Roby looked tentative at times in zone.
Chris Harris Jr. was the best corner on the field this Sunday and unfortunately it didn't mean much since KC didn't need to throw his direction much at all.
T.J. Ward got caught flat footed on the late TD. I think on the play he vastly underrated Chandrick West's speed and tried to slow him down to get help instead of angling him off into help like he should have. Following it up with a swing at Maclin was in my opinion worse than Talib's foul last week because of the attention this defense has been getting about it. We can't keep playing stupid thug football like that. It hurts the team and our chances to win. Leave that kind of play to the Raiders, Broncos!
I really liked the onside kick attempt to start the 2nd half. I thought it was gutsy and a solid call. It looks to me that McManus needs to spend a lot of quality time working in this aspect of his game though, he constantly kicked it flat right into the vicinity of a Chief instead of making it hop or putting it in a crease where our guys could get to the ball.
I liked a lot of what our coverage units did in the game. I thought Kayvon Webster made an impactful tackle early in the game as a gunner. The big negative here was the penalty by Bolden that should have never happened. He could have angled himself away from the returner there and it cost us 15.
My big complaint with this game was that in hindsight, Manning should have never been on the field. Kubiak admitted in his press conference that he should have made a different call on Saturday. I really hope that this loss serves as a lesson to Kubiak that he can't let Manning's legacy get in the way of our team's goals. We are in the business of winning football games, not setting records. Make choices based on that and we'll be fine.
I really fear though, that the team is going to put Manning back in too early or will switch back to him regardless of Brock's success as the starter. I have and always will be a Bronco fan. I want our team to do well and unfortunately I've now seen some pretty solid evidence that the team isn't doing what's best for the team. To me that process lands at the feet of the head coach. He has to be the one to make the tough choices, because the players won't and can't. We all love Peyton and the coach needs to be the one to not let that get in the way of winning football games.
Moving forward, the best plan for the Broncos is to focus on Bronco football on offense and get the defense healthy and focused on the other side.
If Manning is too injured to lead the offense efficiently or won't make the necessary check-downs to keep it going, then he isn't the right guy to be the QB that day.
If the defense can't stop letting their tempers cost the team, they need to be disciplined. There's nothing wrong with benching a T.J. Ward or Aqib Talib to get the point across to the team. Their dump play is absolutely effecting the ref's calls on our defense in a negative way. Also, Talib could have made a big difference in this game.
All of that being said, its time to kick the dust off our feet from this loss and move on to Chicago.