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Repeating Business '16: Getting Back on Track

After muffing away the game against the Chiefs, Denver now has to salvage their post-season hopes.

Denver can't afford to fumble anymore games.
Denver can't afford to fumble anymore games.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Hello folks!  Welcome to Week 13 of "Repeating Business".  I will discuss briefly the Kansas City game and take a look at the next foe.

Kansas City - Ugh!  Where to begin on this one?  Well, we at MHR have beaten this game to death.  The offense started slow thanks to the non-existent blocking of Ty Sambrailo of Justin Houston.  Houston was a one man wrecking crew for much of the game.  Thankfully, his impact was slightly reduced thanks to Donald Stephenson re-taking the RT position.

As usual, the offense started three and out.  Riley Dixon had a fantastic punt launched to pin the Chiefs at their own 7.  Unfortunately, Kapri Bibbs was flagged for holding.  Sadly his penalty cost a ton of yards and was unfortunately an omen of the Special Teams unit riding the short bus on Sunday night.  The next seven series all ended in punts between the teams with the seventh punt causing the most damage to the Broncos.  On that punt, Jordan Norwood muffed the kick and put the offense on the 5.  After a short run and an incompletion, disaster struck twice.  Trevor Siemian dropped back to pass and was strip sacked.  A Bronco lineman recovered the ball, but it was a safety.  On the free kick, the coverage failed miserably and Tyreek Hill took it back for a TD.  Denver responded with a drive for a FG, but that was all and the Broncos trailed at the half 9-3.

In the second half, the defense forced a punt and this time the offense responded.  Devontae Booker got the drive going with some solid rushes and then Demaryius Thomas snagged a 24 yard pass.  Bibbs lost yardage on the next two rushes and then A.J. Derby caught a pass just short of the first down.  On fourth down, Siemian snuck the ball for the first down.  After a short run and an incomplete pass, the Broncos finally found the end zone.  Siemian too the snap and rolled to the left with Houston bearing down on him.  Somehow, Trevor sensed him coming and rolled back to the right.  He then found Jordan Taylor on the far right side of the end zone for the TD.  Brandon McManus knocked in the XP and Denver took the lead 10-9.

Sadly, the lead would not last long.  The Chiefs dinked and dunked down the field, but the defense stopped them on the Bronco 17 and forced a FG.  Unfortunately, the Special Teams failed again by lining up too many players on one side to try to block the FG.  KC accepted the flag and got the first down.  Denver's defense could not stop the rushing and KC took the lead 16-10.  The teams exchanged punts again and another Special Team derp occurred.  Norwood muffed the punt again and this time the Chiefs recovered the ball.  As Norwood was returning to the sideline, Aqib Talib shoved him in the back in frustration.  While everyone was angry at Norwood, there is no place for that kind of treatment of a teammate.  Thankfully the defense forced another punt, Jordan Norwood actually fair caught it to sarcastic cheers and the Broncos were pinned on the 12.

After a short Booker run, Siemian heaved a deep ball to Emmanuel Sanders.  Sanders caught it for 64 yards to the KC 23.  At the same time, head coach Gary Kubiak was flagged for getting the the ref's way on the play so the Broncos were backed up to the KC 38.  Booker ran for three yards and then Siemian went deep again to Sanders for a 35 yard TD.  McManus knocked in the XP for a 17-16 lead.  The defense also forced another punt and the Broncos were flagged on Special Teams again.  This time Denver was pinned at their own 4.  After two rushes went nowhere, Derby snagged a first down at the 16.  The offense started going backward with a run for a loss and Sanders flagged for a false start.  Siemian scrambled for 14 yards on second down, making it 3rd and 2 at the Denver 24.  Expecting a run or short pass, the Chiefs played tight to the LOS.  Siemain made them pay by tossing a ball over the defender to an open Bennie Fowler.  Fowler sprinted down the field and scored a TD from 76 yards making the score 24-16.

With this score, you would have expected the defense pin their ears back and shut the Chiefs down.  Nope!  KC proceeded to drive down the field for 75 yards with the defense getting flagged and playing prevent.  The Chiefs made them pay with a short TD pass that was controversial at best.  Thanks to the receiver bobbling the ball, the score counted.  If he had not bobbled, he would have been down at the 1 because his knee was down there and the time would have run out.  They also got the 2 point conversion, forcing OT.

In OT, the Broncos got the ball first and drove into Chiefs territory.  Unfortunately, the drive stalled out and they settled for a FG.  The defense failed to stop the Chiefs and they scored a FG to keep OT going.  The offense got the ball at the KC 44, but failed to go any farther.  On 3rd down, Siemain lobbed a pass to Fowler, but was unable to make a diving catch.  With 1:08 left, McManus was sent out to try a 62 yard FG.  His kick was long enough, but he kicked dirt and the ball went wide left.  KC drove to the Denver 16 and kicked a winning FG that bounced in off the upright.  Now Denver is out of the playoff race and two games out of the division behind Oakland.

As for my impressions of this game, it was devastating and frustrating.  This was a winnable game, but because of complete ineptness of the Special Teams it was a loss.  13 points were given to the Chiefs thanks to Norwood's muff that resulted in nine points (safety and TD on free kick) and the FG block team overloading one side of the formation that gave the Chiefs life scoring a TD instead of a FG.  The offense was better, but the OL was still awful at LG and RT.  Houston was wrecking the offense a lot of the night.  As far as I am concerned, Norwood should be deactivated the rest of the season for his play or cut.  The Broncos can't afford any more losses now.  Their defense of their title is at stake and there is no more margin for error.  With that saltiness out of the way, it's time to look at the next challenger.....

Jacksonville - Denver travels to North Florida for an early game against the Jaguars.  They are 2-9 for the season and their coach is on the hot seat.  Most of their losses were by a TD or less so they have been competitive despite their record.  Blake Bortles is their QB and Chris Ivory leads their rushing.  Former Broncos TE Julius Thomas is playing, but not getting much for stats and DE Malik Jackson are part of the defense.  Jackson has not been doing a lot for the Jags this season compared to 2015 with the Broncos.  Overall, they have an OK defense but the team keeps losing.  One thing they have been is awful in takeaways with a -15.

For Denver to win this game and get back on track in the playoff chase, all three phases need to play smart football.  This team does not have the luxury of winning despite when one phase of the team is derping all over the place.  On offense, keep getting positive yards and account for Paul Posluszny.  He leads the team in tackles with 91 and is the heart and soul of the defense.  Look out for Jackson playing out of control too.  He has been hurting the Jags with some bad penalties and he will want to make a point against his old team.  Defensively, stopping the run and forcing Bortles to beat them is the best strategy.  Bortles tends to be a gunslinger and it has bit him a lot in his young career.  The "No Fly Zone" should be able to feast on the young QB so there could be big chances to get some turnovers.  Look for some sacks on Bortles by the front seven as well.  Special Teams must not ride the short bus anymore.  If that means taking a knee in the end zone on kickoffs or fair catch punts, then do it.  Most likely, Norwood will still be fielding punts so I guess we pray he stops hurting the team.  I hope that won't be the case, but I am not coach or GM.  Expect a close game since this game will be Jacksonville's "Super Bowl" and they are desperate for a win.  Well, that's all I have for now and GO BRONCOS!