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Broncos at Raiders: The No Bull Review

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Denver got smoked on Sunday night at Oakland. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the game.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

You know how many of us that talk football like to say, “The score doesn’t reflect how bad team x got beat.” Yeah, that’s the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Broncos Country, if you have a weak constitution, please just close the tab right now because you aren’t going to like my next paragraph.

The Oakland Raiders in all ways looked like a far more complete team than the Denver Broncos on Sunday. They had a potent running game that offensively wore our team out. They had a sound defense that played well and made our offense look the worst it has looked all season long. Their Special Teams were even far superior winning field position with punts and covering well in the return game. My hats off to the Oakland Raiders...I’m a Bronco fan and as such I friggin hate their team, but you have to give credit where it is due.

Now that that ugliness is over with, let’s dig into the Broncos and see how much more ugly things can get. There’s a theme in this No Bull Review this week and it can be summed up in one word: exposed.

Offense

Let’s start with the biggest elephant in the room: our play calling is stale, weak, and impotent. The offense still hasn’t learned anything about getting a run game going as they came out throwing 3 straight times to start the game. In the first 3 drives we went 3 and out running the ball twice for a whopping 5 yards on the ground.

Our 3rd down play calling was still head scratching at times. On a 3rd and 1 with a gap in front of the center, we pass the ball instead of sneaking for the easy 1st down. On 3rd and 4 we ran a play designed to pass the ball 1 yard behind 2 other receiving options and it failed horribly.

Kubiak again was quoted in his press conference saying some nonsense about “...we’ve got to find a way to run the football somehow some way to help our football team…” Well, Kubiak, maybe if you called more run plays the team would have better luck with that.

Quarterbacks

Trevor Siemian is looking worse by the week. Maybe he’s going through a rough patch as a young quarterback in a junky offensive system. I’m still sticking with my assessment from last week though: the guy isn’t anything special at QB.

It isn’t all negative from me with him: he had a great bootleg adjustment to throw the deep TD pass with a guy in his face. I just wish we could see more of that from our offense.

Let me give you all one key I’m seeing from him that is helping me get more down about his potential as the weeks go by. In the 2nd half, deep in his own territory on 1st down, he watches Sanders through his whole route and throws into double coverage. Why is this such a problem? Because not only is he staring down his option...he’s choosing to throw into a guy who is blanketed in every way. This just isn’t sound play from a QB. Sure, guys do this from time to time, but it is a constant. He looks like this on at least one play per game.

Here’s the other thing he’s lacking: fire. I really like how unflappable he is, but sadly, there’s just no leadership fire coming off of him at all. Sure, that could be because he is young, but I don’t think that’s the case. Tebow was young too and even though he was a joke as far as being a NFL passer, he got the offense fired up to win in a big way when we were in holes at the end of games.

Line

Overall the line looked fairly terrible at run blocking and average at pass protection. As the game wore on and the score got lop-sided the pass rushing started working more situationally for Oakland (much like what we like to see from our defense). They gave up 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hits. This far into the season I would have hoped for more.

It is worth noting that the tackles Donald Stephenson and Russel O’kung had bad games for the 2nd straight week.

Running Backs

Neither Bibbs, nor Booker really wowed in this game as far as running the ball. That doesn’t really say much when the coaches abandoned the run game yet again. We ran 12 times and passed 37 times in case anyone missed it. When the pass run ratio gets this imbalanced, I have a very hard time knocking the RBs as they just aren’t getting the chance to get into a rhythm.

Kapri Bibbs did raise my eyebrows with his amazing screen play. He was so good using blocks and being patient on the long run to score the ball. Sure, it was one play, but a guy showing that kind of skill in space deserves to get more shots to see if he can make it happen more. Hopefully our coaches noticed this too and will see if he’s got more of this kind of work to put out there against the Saints.

Receivers

The receivers for Denver need to take their lumps as well on this game. There were several drops where Siemian is actually throwing a good pass that is catchable (and oftentimes hitting them in the hands) and the passes get dropped.

Virgil Green for instance had a terrible drop on 3rd and 12 that hits him right in the numbers. In positive news for him, he did fit in his 1 really nice route downfield for a big gain...too bad we only attempt that kind of TE route once per game on average.

Demaryius Thomas ran a weak sauce route running on a 3rd and 5. He got both out maneuvered and overpowered. He did have a great catch at the sidelines in the 2nd quarter as he adjusted to the outside throw. Later on a 3rd and 1 crossing route he lets the ball whip right through his literal hands. Yes, the ball there was low, but I expect a #1 NFL WR to catch it when it hits them in the hands.

I don’t know for sure what to make of it, but I thought I’d point out this: Emmanuel Sanders is getting paid ~$6.2 M and Demaryius Thomas is getting paid ~$15.2 M for a total of ~$21.4 M this season. In this game we targeted them 21 times for 10 catches, 103 yards, and 0 TDs. Bad throws? Not enough effort? Poor offensive system? I’ve got lots of ideas on what the cause here is, but I’m having trouble putting my finger on any one thing. Maybe hit the comments up and let me know your thoughts on this one.

Defense

We’ve been noting for most of the season that this defense has a weakness up front in stopping the run. This is the game where that weakness got straight up exploited. Also, as heroic as our defense is, they spent ⅔ of the game on the field which ended up tiring them out and looking like something you’d see from the Colts defensively.

Front 7

Jared Crick still getting washed out in run defense consistently. This is a very big problem and you could do a clinic on the video replay of the Raiders running at the gap between him and Sylvester Williams. Our guys weren’t even holding their ground...they were getting owned on a consistent basis.

What many of us don’t understand is why the defense isn’t rotating Billy Winn in so he can shore up the play up front. He’s a great run defender (and somewhat poor pass rusher). I would think as agile as Wade Philips’ defense is, he could figure out something better than what we saw from Crick who got 94% of the defensive snaps.

Brandon Marshall played his tail off in this game with a bum hamstring. The guy has a ton of heart and talent. He had some of the most superb coverage against a TE I’ve seen from our LBs tipping a TD pass away. He also had another great stop out in the flat in the 2nd quarter out in space. The problem we have is that we don’t have a clone of him to help out and the closest thing we had to that last year signed with the Bears.

I remember clamoring for Zaire Anderson to replace Todd Davis earlier this season...I take that back. He looked pathetic in coverage giving up a big pass and never really being at any point in a spot where he had a chance.

Secondary

Bradley Roby got straight up picked on, beat like a drum, and his damn lunch money stolen. I had so many notes on plays he gave up. The guy led the team in tackles. Our cornerback. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not a good thing. That is a very bad thing. You could cut up his play in this game and give a clinic on how to beat every type of man coverage as a WR. His coverage was weak, his tackling was weak, and he looked like a sorry excuse for a starting corner. That’s pretty heavy handed of me to say, and it is worth noting that the WRs of the Raiders are very talented. Their QB doesn’t suck eggs either. Still, this is the NFL and if you get picked on like this it is because you aren’t playing well at all.

One thing I will note here: the refs were consistently ticky-tack with their calls. Yes, several of them were fair to call, but there were a good number that weren’t what you’d see called in a normal NFL game. It was driving several of our guys in the secondary crazy as it seemed like they couldn’t even try to cover guys without getting a flag.

Special Teams

Kubiak tried to say that Kapri Bibbs running out the kickoffs was part of some sort of plan. Okay...tell Joe DeCamillis that his plans sucks and it needs to change yesterday. Our guys are catching kicks 2-5 yards deep in the end zone and just throwing away about 10 yards in field position each time they do. KNEEL THE BALL.

Brandon McManus nailed not one, but two 55 yard FGs to end the first half (due to Oakland icing him with a timeout). If there was one positive to take away from this game it was seeing him hitting some monster field goals.

Final Thoughts

I know that part of the negativity we’re all having is because our team just lost in a bad way. It was pretty darn poor. Part of me wants to sip some kool-aid and rally the troops. For some reason, I’m not feeling it though.

Why? Because our offense is who it is. We are a dumpster fire of an excuse for an actual NFL offense. We aren’t below average...we are terrible and it is catching up to us. If this offense doesn’t do something big to adjust in the next few weeks, we will be in very big trouble. We can’t keep giving up early leads to teams, leading the league in 3 and outs, and trying to air it out with a back-up quality quarterback. It isn’t working. It hasn’t worked at all this season other than when a defense went cover-1 consistently with 7-8 in the box daring us to throw go routes (Cinci in case you were wondering).

The woes we have at offense are wearing on our defense as well. It isn’t fair to them at all to have to be on the field that much and somehow find a way to win.

Also, injuries are catching up to our teams...I would say the loss of C.J. Anderson, Aqib Talib, Derek Wolfe, and others over this season are pretty significant.

This is the point in the season where your team needs to dig deep. It is also the point in the season where if something isn’t working, your coaches owe it to the team to make an adjustment. Here’s what I’d like to see in order of preference:

  1. Get a FB in (Juwan Thompson if Andy Janovich isn’t ready) and put an emphasis on running the ball creatively (not just inside zone plays which constantly suck)
  2. Scrap whoever or whatever is driving the game plans that start the game and let someone fresh design it
  3. Switch QBs and see if it can spark the passing game

What do you guys think? Hit up the comments and let us know your thoughts on what to do in order to get the offense to improve. Also, get active in rec’ing the comments you agree with. I’m curious to see which way the MHR community leans on this issue.