There is really no other way to say it. The Denver Broncos got beat in all phases by the Oakland Raiders. But what really happened was about desire and motivation.
The Broncos came out against the Raiders with about as much fire and passion as a comatose grandmother. One of the biggest aspects of football, that can be as subtle as a slight breeze but have a major impact on the outcome, is passion. It is a rare occasion when the Broncos don’t show up in this category.
The game started with a whimper for the Broncos offense. After 4 straight 3 and outs, it was starting to look like Raiders were about to run away with the game, literally. The Raiders defense has struggled all year. Once again, Denver could not capitalize on playing against a bottom half defense. It looked like the moment was too big for the whole team.
Trevor Siemian struggled mightily. He had flashes. His touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood looked great. But on the drive to end the third quarter he sputtered. He was indecisive, and his poor choices with the football caused the drive to stall.
It was painfully obvious which team was able to rise to the occasion. The Raiders made players miss, ran through tackles, and flat embarrassed the Broncos defense. The defense was missing Aqib Talib. Brandon Marshall was less than one hundred percent. Derek Wolfe was carted off the field. Kayvon Webster was missing. That shouldn’t matter. You should still go out kicking and screaming.
I can’t think of the last time the Broncos had so many missed tackles on defense. The special teams play that was so successful at pinning teams deep against San Diego and Houston were unable to perform the same task in Oakland.
The loss is hard to swallow. There is nothing worse than losing to the Raiders. I have often said that a successful season is one where the Broncos sweep Oakland. But watching the Broncos lose in Oakland was worse than normal. They showed no drive. No passion. I’m sure other writers here will get into the stats of the game. They will break down all the numbers for you.
The feeling is unusual. The taste in my mouth is a strange bitter, that smacks of the days of John Fox, and a lack of caring.
Did the refs have a bad night? A little. But I won’t cry fowl in that direction either. You want to know what tonight was? It was a shift in the power structure of the AFC West. Oakland tore the game away from the Broncos from the opening kickoff. With it, they took control of the AFC West, and the number two seed in the playoffs.
This was a team loss. This hurts bad. I guess we all got our wish and Oakland is relevant again. I want my quarter back.