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Horse Tracks: Broncos drop the ball against the Raiders

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Well that didn't last long. For a brief moment on Sunday, the Broncos had moved into the number one seed in the playoff hunt. Then football got in the way. Against the Oakland Raiders, it was the tale of two halves. Unfortunately, the first was not good enough to mitigate the miscues of the second.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

How in the world does a Denver Broncos team that battled back against the New England Patriots in the snow and cold roll over onto its back and let the Raiders do that to them? What Broncos Country saw from the offense in the second half of yesterday's game was downright putrid.

Folks, if the Broncos are going to make any noise in the playoffs, everybody has to hold on to the ball. Between the fumbles and dropped passes, the Broncos had plenty of opportunity to make something happen. Vernon Davis' dropped pass in the 4th quarter, Demaryius Thomas at the goal line, Emmanuel Sanders' muffed punt return, Brock in the end zone for a safety - it was all really ugly. It's time to pull out those special colored balls that we heard so much about last season. Blue, brown, or green, it doesn't matter - just don't drop the damn thing.

Now I'm going to turn my attention to Demaryius Thomas. Thomas made a huge display this offseason by holding out of minicamps and Manning's private passing camp he holds each year. While I understand that he saw this as necessary to get his substantial paycheck, I can't help but see that missing that work he's regressed as a pass catcher. Either that, or he just doesn't care enough to do what it takes to hold on to the ball.

Sure, there are folks out there that will say that his shoulder was injured and he did his best. Not good enough. If Thomas hauls those dropped passes in on Sunday, the Broncos are in sole control of number one seed for as long as they can keep it. If you aren't well enough to catch the ball, you shouldn't be on the field. A dropped pass here or there isn't a big deal, but in more than a few games this season we've seen his hands go ice cold and it's time to get worried.

Demaryius got top receiver money this offseason, it's high time he held on to the ball like one.

HORSE TRACKS

Who wouldn't want to relive yesterday's second-half debacle? Here are some recaps!

Denver Broncos' mistakes, balky offense hand Oakland Raiders a win - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN

Khalil Mack, Derek Carr lead Raiders over Broncos, 15-12 - LA Times

Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos December 13, 2015 | Sports Illustrated

Broncos' Brock Osweiler: Fails to lead Denver to a TD in loss - CBSSports.com

In Broncos' 15-12 loss to Raiders, culprit was clear: 'We beat ourselves' | Denver Broncos

Khalil Mack unstoppable as Raiders upset host Broncos - NFL.com

Raiders 15, Broncos 12: Three Keys, Unlocked | Denver Broncos

Kalil Mack. What he was allowed to do to the Broncos on Sunday was inexcusable. Khalil Mack burns Broncos for one of the best pass rush halves in NFL history | Mile High Sports

Chris Harris, Jr. said what everyone knew following the game. In Broncos' 15-12 loss to Raiders, culprit was clear: 'We beat ourselves' | Denver Broncos

Brock was saying all the right things following the loss on Sunday. Brock Osweiler shoulders the blame, though he's hardly at fault | Mile High Sports

Of course, this loss only fuels the debate will rage on when or if Manning should take over the offensive reins. Manning's mere presence with the team at home was newsworthy. Peyton Manning takes the field -- for Broncos warm-ups | FOX Sports

The bright spot on Sunday, if there is one in a loss, was the defense. They were terrific for most of the game and that's what makes this loss so frustrating. Defense nearly impeccable in hard-fought loss | Denver Broncos

Despite the loss, Cody Latimer instagrammed something positive. (Almost) all quiet on the social front after Broncos loss to Raiders | Mile High Sports

In offseason business news, the Denver Post has something to say on Jackson and Wolfe. Malik Jackson, Derek Wolfe both want to re-sign with Broncos - The Denver Post

Kudos to former Broncos Super Bowl running back Rob Lytle for his posthumous induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Sundays with Sacco: Rob Lytle inducted into College Football Hall of Fame | Denver Broncos

The Broncos game with the Cincinnati Bengals later this month now looms larger than ever. As bad as Denver's day was on Sunday, the Bengals day was infinitely worse.  Andy Dalton of Cincinnati Bengals likely to miss rest of season with fractured right thumb | ESPN

The NFL failing to enforce its own rules? No! Yep! The Steelers' Vince Williams publicly made threats against the Bengals' Vontaze Burfict and the NFL did nothing. Bengals unhappy NFL didn’t discipline Vince Williams for Burfict threat | ProFootballTalk

Despite the Bengals and Broncos struggles on Sunday, the Patriots easily handled the Houston Texans to regain the top seed in the AFC. New England Patriots vs Houston Texans December 13, 2015 | Sports Illustrated

It appears that injuries sustained to Patriots Devin McCourty, Jonathan Freeny, and Dominique Easley were minor. Legarrette Blount's injury may be more serious. Injury Update: Patriots Safety Devin McCourty's Injury Appears Minor - Pats Pulpit

The Chiefs keep winning and are making a compelling (disgusting) case for one of the AFC Wildcard seeds. Chiefs beat Chargers for seventh straight win despite sloppy game - Kansas City Chiefs Blog- ESPN

If you're not totally bored with the Shady McCoy/Rex silliness with Philly, here's your fix. Rex, McCoy silenced: Bills on brink after loss to Eagles - NFL.com

The Seattle Seahawks destroyed an absolutely decimated Ravens team on Sunday, but it didn't come without a price. Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls breaks ankle, will miss rest of season | ESPN

The Packers held on to the NFC North for another week with a win over the hapless Dallas Cowboys. Packers run past Cowboys to improve to 9-4 | ProFootballTalk

The Panthers are playing lights out ball this year. With three games to go, they have a legit shot at going undefeated in the regular season. Panthers clinch first-round playoff bye in blowout win - NFL.com

The Chicago Bears (and all the former Broncos therein) fell to the Washington Redskins. It's been a long season for them. Gould's missed FG gives Redskins win over Bears - NFL.com

So what does the playoff picture look like this Monday morning? It's not as ugly as it could be considering our schedule, but it ain't as pretty as it was at kickoff Sunday afternoon. Losses by Bengals, Broncos open door for Patriots | ESPN