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Broncos vs Raiders: The No Bull Review

The Denver Broncos faced the Oakland Raiders for what looked like an easily winnable game for the good guys. We all watched a half of football that was some of the worst we've seen this year. What happened? Why? Let's dig in and find some answers.

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The cries of Broncos Country were heard far and wide today as we lost to the Oakland Raiders at home. Let me start by saying this about it: the Broncos deserved to lose that game. They played like a big steaming cow pie in the 2nd half. It was bad football and you should lose games when you play like that.

For those of you who enjoy silver linings: we played awful football and still only lost by 3. The game our guys played is the kind of football that loses by 30. What you saw here was a team that has elite talent in lots of places losing the trenches completely offensively while their defense gave up a few big plays uncharacteristically. We can play much better than this and should. At least the team should have a fire in their bellies next week in Pittsburgh.


It was Brock Osweiler's 4th start of his career. We have a system who's foundation is running the ball. All of this, and we asked Brock to throw the ball over 50 times. I'm not sure that was the plan going into this game. I'm not sure if the injuries we have dictated this idea. I just know that it was a terrible plan and I think you are asking an awful lot of a young QB to have him throw that many times.


Osweiler I thought looked like a young QB under heat. He played about average in my opinion and obviously doesn't have the skills yet to put the team on his back and carry them to a win. He had his first chance in the clutch to drive down the field and win the game, was measured, and found wanting.


  • His throws were mostly quick and accurate
  • He did very well passing between the 20s and moving the team with short throws
  • He had a nice QB keeper on a 4th down and showed decent scramble ability
  • He doesn't know yet how to shuffle to get angles where defenders have a tough time tipping his passes
  • He is not fast with reads by any stretch of the imagination...his first reads not being there mess him up still
  • He deep ball needs a lot of work on accuracy
  • He (like Manning earlier this year) needs to work the intermediate routes or he will never have true impact as an NFL passer


I'm not going to spend a ton of time here. Suffice to say this is where the offensive troubles lie. They didn't run block. Their pass blocking mostly sucked eggs and got terrible in the 2nd half. The problem is more the tackles than the interior. We're below average at left tackle and worse than that at right tackle.

I will say this mystifies me a bit. Michael Schofield looked like one of the better guys up front earlier in the season. He's been regressing for a couple of games now and Khalil Mack made him look silly. I really think the product we saw on the field at RT was what I would expect if we threw a High Schooler into an NFL game.

Mathis keeps trying to play hurt and he needs to heal. He was only on the field for about 25% of the snaps and his time in game was bad.

Running backs

C.J. Anderson is the only seriously well rounded talent we have in our RB stable, but he has trouble staying healthy. Hillman and Thompson are both JAG back there. Hillman has good big play potential but it is held back by his inability to break arm tackles with any consistency at all. Juwan Thompson has good power, but doesn't have the speed or burst to be able to be a real consistent threat.

I thought Kubiak did a disservice to the team by having Hillman in on so many short yardage situations. The Raiders knew the run was coming. Why make it easy on them? Why not put the big guy in and let him power through some poor fools instead of Hillman getting waylaid?

That being said, both backs failed to even average a meager 3 ypc. Hillman broke no tackles. Thompson was the definition of 2 yards and a cloud of dust.


So. Many. Drops. Our receivers and tight ends had way too many drops. We have to eliminate that. It makes me sick to see on the NFL field from my team. You get paid to CATCH THE FRIGGING BALL. It is the easiest part of the job and you can't blame the QB for most of those throws. So many catches hit them in the hands and were dropped. DT, Sanders, and Davis all need to hit the JUGGS.

Speaking of Davis: can you just catch the ball and head north? We aren't a team that needs you to to lose 5 yards consistently so that you maybe in a dream land situation house a play.

Owen Daniels is skating by this year getting a fat check from us on mediocre play. Too many times he's not getting separation this year. Too many times (once in this game) a throw comes his way that is a little off and he doesn't even try to swat it away let alone lay out to make the catch. If you are too old to try, then get the hell off the field and let someone else get out there and actually try. For those that disagree here, save your stats...I know he's been productive. This is an eye-test thing. He leaves so many yards on the field because he's too slow. Also, those throws that go incomplete to him too often he's not ready for the catch or he's not trying.


It is a damn shame that the defense held an NFL team to 15 points and we lost the game. If you give me effort like that on defense every week, I'll take it every week.

Front 7

Malik Jackson is playing like it is his contract year. He's so impactful and disruptive up front. He was a big part of Carr being uncomfortable in this game.

Shaquil Barrett quietly had a pretty frigging good game. He got a sack, a hurry, and had a couple of really nice run stops. This dude is the future, Broncos Country. BeleeDat.

Von Miller is a stud. I don't need to dig in here. We know it. He knows it. The opposing QBs know it. He's not slowing down and along with Malik was a huge factor in our defensive success.

Brandon Marshall was the last guy worth lauding from the front 7.  He was everywhere doing everything in this game. Big time production in coverage, pass rushing, and run stops.


Chris Harris Jr. was HOT after the game and rightly so. He had a heck of a game in coverage (all-pro quality) and has to be frustrated that one poor play by a safety cost us the game.

Speaking of that, Shiloh Keo can get the hell back on the street. THE play of the game that cost us was him completely biting like a mad dog on a fresh steak on an underneath route when his responsibility was the deep half of the field where there were three friggin receiving options. Denver hadn't seen this poor of safety play since the Baltimore playoff loss a few years ago, AMIRITE Rahim Moore?

Darrian Stewart had an oddly up and down game. I saw good from him, but I also saw a few plays with bad tackling, bad angles, etc. When we're down T.J. Ward and David Bruton, we can't afford for him to have a bad game.

That's worth pointing out by the way: schematically if our defense has a weakness, it is the middle of the field and the seams. Teams can't throw outside on us. That's why you keep seeing stats to the TEs and RBs in the passing games of our opponents. Earlier in the year we had much better talent at safety who were able to keep that weakness pretty well covered up at an acceptable level. Now the injuries at safety are really showing a soft underbelly to our otherworldly defense.

Special Teams

I'm sorry, but that pay cut we gave Britton Colquitt wasn't enough. His ass needs to be canned like yesterday. We all got a really great look at what an excellent punter means to an NFL team, sadly it was our opponent's punter, not ours at home, that shined.

Brandon McManus has to make that 49 yard field goal. He has the leg to make that distance 10 times out of 10. What I saw there was a lack of focus. Take your job seriously dude. Just because you got the kicking job doesn't mean you can ease up. We NEED you to be dialed in. The team NEEDS you to be dialed in.

Speaking of dialed-in, Emmanuel Sanders muffing that punt was as inexcusable as the dropped passes I mentioned earlier. You are our returner. YOU HAD ONE FRIGGING JOB, SON!

Final Thoughts

I've exorcised my demons here. Let's get back to reality: that was just one regular season football game. Say it again with me: "That was just one regular season football game."

It wasn't a Super Bowl loss.

It wasn't a playoff loss.

It didn't cost us our postseason.

Sure, it cost our team the control of their own destiny and I'm just as mad about that as you guys are. But it isn't the end of the world. This team has some big injury issues and more importantly the coaches on offense have some very big problems that they need to sort out. Losses like this can be a real awakening for those things that get swept under the rug when you keep winning all the time.

No more weeks of only walk-through's, coaches. I don't care that we had a laundry list of injuries. The offense needs work. The line just showed you that if you rest them, they shit themselves. Sure, take it easy a day here or there, but you need to coach this offense up because all the problems I'm seeing there come right back to the coach's laps. These guys need accountability...iron sharpens iron, right?