Want to know what I hate about the New England Patriots? It is that their team is so well directed on game day. They come into each game with a plan that they execute that their head coach feels gives them the absolute best chance to win.
That is what happened in this game. The Pats came into Denver with a plan on offense to run the ball consistently in order to get some scores on the board and not challenge the deep secondary much. Their plan on defense was to play some easy cover-2 coverages that would take away the strength of a young QB who hasn’t shown that he has what it takes to put his team on his shoulders and score points to bring home a win on his own. Then their players just went out on the field and played good, sound football and won the game comfortably.
I think if the Denver Broncos had anything at all that was in any semblance of “decent offensive NFL football” we would have handed New England their hats this week. Why? Because our defense played lights-out. New England attacked their biggest weakness and all they came away with was 16 points.
I can’t tell you anything new here. The defense is so consistently well coached. They did a superb job against one of the best offenses the NFL has to offer. The way this unit played, there’s no guy on that side of the ball that deserved to lose this game.
The guys up front look good in spurts. Derek Wolfe had a nice bat down at the line. Jared Crick had a great strip sack. Sylvester Williams had some pretty darn good pressures and moments where his rush defense was solid.
Our linebackers without Brandon Marshall also were impressive. Todd Davis had a great TFL early on as he blasts through the line to meet the runner in the backfield. Corey Nelson was flying all over the place. Both of them had moments in pass coverage and they held up quite well.
Shane Ray’s pass rush from the DE position got himself a sack in our 3rd down Nascar package. He was straight out faster than his guy and got up in Tom Brady’s face too fast for the ball to get out. Really, he had one of the best games of the season for him adding a TFL and a couple of solid QB hits.
Our safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart were active all game long in pass coverage and often times busting down on run plays. They both really impressed me with their ability to read and react at the snap to help hold the Pats to as few yards as possible on each play.
Speaking of safties, Justin Simmons came flying in on a 2nd and 8 to break up a run that really impressed me as well. He made a pre-snap read and came flying to the line of scrimmage just before the snap to the gap the run play was going it. It was only one play, but for a youngster, I think it is a very good thing to see late in his first season. It shows he’s getting comfortable with the field and speed of the game. It also shows he trusts his reads which for a safety is a really big deal.
Our corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. put on another show in this game. They were superb in coverage, but you wouldn’t know much about that since Brady didn’t challenge them much.
Welcome to the wide world of, “Why the hell did we lose this game.” I hope some of you who have been around at MHR for a long time appreciate what I’m about to say. This offense repulses me. The product on the field that Gary Kubiak has been building for 2 years now is a product that I feel compares fairly with the offenses we had in the best years of Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow leading the charge.
We can shine the turd all day long, but I don’t give two hoots about how many 300 yard games Trevor Siemian puts up. To quote our favorite Bronco coach from back in the day (good week for it), ALL WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS WIN A MOTHER@#()$^ING GAME!!!
I will give some silver linings down below, but make no mistake: this Broncos offense is a joke. Don’t give me any nonsense about the quality of the defense they faced, the weather, or any other junk excuse you want to bring up. Because I have one retort for you: 3 points.
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Over?
Trevor Siemian starts the game off with a classic 3rd down Siemian special: a throw 2 yards short of the sticks.
I really liked what I saw out of Siemian in the no-huddle that we mixed in. He seemed to do really well with some designed passes, play action, and solid run plays. For some strange reason, right after this worked well we shut it down and didn’t really come back to it.
His INT was caused by him staring down his receiver through the whole route, then misthrowing the ball badly behind his receiver. It was absolute trash of the highest order from the snap of the ball until they tackled the guy from the wrong team who caught it.
Like I said above, the offense we are seeing is one I would talk about in comparison to Orton and Tebow. It is bad. Back in Tebow’s magical season the only thing worthwhile was us making the playoffs and actually winning a game. The same thing is the order for Siemian.
But you want the No Bull skinny on this? This guy doesn’t have it in him. He throws a pick and then lets his coach go conservative. He gets in the red zone and the moment gets way too big for him. There’s no fire in his belly and it is literally killing our season.
Can he be a decent NFL QB someday? Yes. Resoundingly yes. He’ll make a great backup or a decent starter if you have a strong run game and a superb defense. He doesn’t have the moxy to be more than that. This team needed him to throw a damn touchdown at some point in 4 quarters of play and he couldn’t even do that. The dude had two drives in the red zone and gave us a FG opportunity and an at least 10 point swing off his interception.
So at this point, I’ll keep cheering hard for him just like I do every time he drops back to pass. But I don’t expect much from him. I don’t think the rest of the offense does either.
Donald Stephenson gave up a sack in the 2nd quarter just getting whipped by his guy and looking like a fence post. To start the 2nd half he does a similar quality of job letting his guy back him into the pocket.
Russel Okung’s biggest knock this year is his penchant for holding penalties. In our poor offense it is a drive killer almost every time and in the 2nd half of this game was no exception.
Late in the game our offense really needs to get going on a 3rd and 1. It is at this critical moment Max Garcia decides to duck his head down and let his guy brush right past him to help sack Siemian for a huge loss.
At what point will the media call Kubiak and John Elway to task for the quality of their line? Because that’s the big thing: Kubiak has his system and likes his guys. Well, we’re 2 years in and you have “your guys” that you asked Elway to trade for and draft. And they pretty much suck other than Matt Paradis.
Justin Forsett starts the game with some of the best running we’ve seen in weeks on an outside run. His catching out of the backfield was also very impressive. Really, the offense ran so well early that I have no idea what led the team to get away from the run. If we have such a nutless wonder at QB who the team can’t rely on to will the team to a TD, don’t you think the offense would do better if you kept putting the run game front and center and let it take the pressure off him?
I will also say that Devontae Booker looked better as the RB relief guy than as a starter. He looked like he ran with more fire and effectiveness with less snaps.
Jeff Heuerman came in for an injured Virgil Green and really looked like a decent pass option making a couple really nice catches down field.
A.J. Derby also was active early and looked like another dangerous passing option at TE. In the 2nd half, he drops a crucial 3rd down pass that hits him right on the hands. He didn’t look it all the way in and paid for it with a drop.
Demaryius Thomas was active all day in the passing game. He helped convert our first 3rd down of the game with a big time 16 yard catch in traffic. He unfortunately missed a big throw downfield where the throw was perfect but he let it drop between his arms.
Jordan Taylor made a great catch for 15 yards on a 3rd down conversion. This is the one guy from our WR depth that I think has a fairly big future in the NFL. He has some really talented guys in front of him, but the team really should be finding a way to have him on the field every time they go with a 3 WR set or more.
Jordan Norwood needs to go sell cell phones at the mall. His inability to field the ball as a returner is phenomenally awful. Add to that his game finishing play of fumbling as a WR and he’s a scrub who doesn’t belong on the field of play. At some point, the coaches need to stop being a friend to the players and cut their asses when they consistently make big time mistakes (kinda like that coach does we faced this week).
I know there’s a lot of salt here in this review. That’s because I’m feeling very bitter about this loss. I’m feeling bitter about this year. Our defense is the best in the NFL and we very likely are going to miss the playoffs barring a miracle and some help by teams losing games they shouldn’t.
That is a crying shame, Broncos Country. Having this good of a defense doesn’t happen every year and it is the kind of thing that can straight up win you a championship if you can just get in the dance (see 2015).
We’re 14 games in and at this point in the season and no one on the offense side of the ball from the head coach down to the 6th WR on the depth chart needs their hands held and patted. Accountability is the order of the day and I absolutely applaud the defense for raising a ruckus about the offense after the game.
Here’s the deal though: I KNOW this offense can put more points on the board. Forsett looks like an honest to goodness NFL running back who finds all the yardage there is to be found on plays. We have two young tight ends that look dangerous as hell down the seams. We have two of the best WRs in the NFL and the best center in the NFL. This offense is not completely lacking in talent, but our scheme, coaching, or execution fails to take advantage of what we do have.
There are going to be some significant changes on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. If we do indeed miss the playoffs, expect them to be fairly significant. While I don’t think missing the playoffs is some kind of deal breaker to Elway, I do think that 3 points this late in the season the way it happened is some cause for concern.