You never want to be the team that shits the bed to an injury-depleted, internally tulmoltuous and winless franchise like the New York Giants, but the Denver Broncos found a way to secure that honor in grand fashion by being embarrassed on national television in a 23-10 loss on Sunday Night Football.
Inexcusable. Indefensible. Unbelievable.
I’m not sure there is an adjective in the dictionary that can demonstrate how I feel about the Broncos’ performance under the bright lights tonight. Every phase of the game was out of sync, especially the offense. While the Broncos out-gained the Giants by a 412 to 266 yard margin, it didn’t put points up on the board and obviously, eye-popping numbers don’t necessarily translate to a victory.
Denver was terrible on third downs (5/17) and rushed for only 46 yards. When the heat was on, the Broncos failed to rise to the occasion. Time after time they proved to be their own worst enemy. There is no doubt that Vance Joseph, Mike McCoy and the rest of the Broncos’ offensive coaching staff need to have a heart-to-heart and begin to work things out. If not, things could get ugly really quick on their upcoming three game road trip.
What happened tonight simply can’t ever happen again, but in case you are interested in a short recap and my miscellaneous musings, here is how it all went down.
Denver received the ball to start the game, but failed to do anything of merit in their early offensive endeavors. Trevor Siemian struggled immensely and the Giants’ defensive front seven was able to keep the Broncos’ rushing attack at bay. The first quarter was a relatively boring affair, with the only score being a 25-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas after Eli Manning and Evan Engram shredded the Broncos’ defense through the middle of the field on their first possession. Denver had an opportunity to tie up the game near the end of the quarter, but Brandon McManus whiffed wide right on a 35-yard attempt.
In the second quarter, things took a turn for the worse for Denver. The Giants' offense ignited after a Orleans Darkwa run up the middle of the field that went for 47 yards. Just three plays later, Manning was able to find his only viable receiving threat in Engram, who beat Justin Simmons for a five yard touchdown strike to put the Giants up 10-0. Shortly after the Giants’ score, Siemian was intercepted by Landon Collins, but weren’t able to capitalize off the turnover.
While Denver’s offense was able to rack up 192 yards by the end of the first half — those yards didn’t result in many points. A 28-yard Brandon McManus field goal with just over four minutes to go in the second quarter would be the only score the Broncos would register in the first thirty minutes of play. Shortly before half’s end, Siemian led the Broncos offense on the field to try and even the score, but was picked off a second time, with Janoris Jenkins stepping in front of Bennie Fowler and subsequently taking it to the house to give New York a 17-3 lead at halftime.
Denver’s first half performance against a destitute Giants squad was pathetically inexcusable, but if you thought that was bad, the second half wasn’t going to be any better. Early in the third quarter, the Giants were able to boost their lead to seventeen points, courtesy of a long-range 51-yard field goal strike by Rosas. The Broncos had the opportunity to return the favor on the ensuing possession, but McManus had a 53-yard attempt blocked. It was his second miss of the game and fifth on the season, which matches the total of missed kicks he had in both 2015 and 2016.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse — it did. The game that almost everyone (including myself) thought was a certain victory for Denver became the nightmare every fan across Broncos Country was hoping to avoid. And at the advent of the fourth quarter, Denver’s offense was in Giants territory and on fourth down, Siemian hit Thomas for a key conversion, but Thomas was stripped by Jenkins, whose forced fumble was recovered by Eli Apple.
As the minutes dripped off the clock, the Broncos inched closer and closer to securing a devastating loss at Mile High. In the closing moments of desperation, the Broncos were able to make their way deep inside Giants’ defensive territory thanks to a defensive pass interference spot foul that placed them inside the five. But that wouldn’t change the course of the game or give Denver any momentum. The Broncos’ misfortune continued to endure and C.J. Anderson was stuffed at the goal line on a fourth down attempt.
Worst I've seen the Broncos play a regular season home game since 2010 when the Raiders hung 59 on them. Given the opponent, this is worse.— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) October 16, 2017
Denver’s defense was able to corral the Giants off the field and give their pitiful offense another shot at redemption, but their efforts were all in vain. With 4:07 remaining, Siemian was able to connect with third-year tight end Jeff Heuerman on a thirteen yard touchdown pass that cut the Giants’ lead to 20-10. The Broncos’ then attempted an onside kick, but that was recovered by Roger Lewis. The final dagger was finally placed through the heart of Denver, when Rosas drilled a 40-yard field goal to end the game.
It was a stunner, Hell — it was a Stone Cold Stunner! The Broncos were knocked out by a hapless Giants team on national television 23-10. Let that one sink in, Broncos Country. Good luck tomorrow morning at work around your water coolers. Have fun trying to explain this one, because I certainly can’t comprehend it — but feel free to use the comments section as your own personal safe place.
Hart’s Quick Hits
- One of the biggest concerns for the Broncos’ passing attack this season was the slow start of star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. After being relatively quite in his first four games, Thomas had 10 receptions for 133 yards and broke the 8,000 yard mark in receiving yards for his career. He toughed out nagging injuries throughout the game and was one of the only bright spots for Denver this evening.
- With just over a minute to go in the third quarter, Emmanuel Sanders injured his ankle and was carted off the field and did not return to action. The severity of the injury isn’t known at this time, but it appeared to be serious. Isaiah McKenzie was also carted off the field in the fourth quarter and was in tears as he was driven to the locker room. It appears as if the Giants’ misfortunes with injuries have been caught by the Broncos, who were also without Cody Latimer (knee) for tonight’s game.
- With Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard out for tonight’s contest, it couldn’t have been a surprise that the only receiving weapon on the Giants’ roster would have been rookie tight end Evan Engram. Despite that, the Broncos’ defense had no answer for him. Engram routinely shredded the No Fly Zone and ended the game with five receptions for 82 yards and a score.
- Denver’s vaunted ground control defense was exposed tonight. Orleans Darkwa had his first career 100-yard game, toting the rock 21 times for 117 yards. The Giants gashed the Broncos for 148 yards on the ground.
- Menelik Watson, Billy Turner, Donald Stephenson. It doesn’t matter who it is, the Broncos’ attempts at fielding a quality player at right tackle have failed. The solution isn’t on the roster. If John Elway truly believes this team can compete this season, he would do whatever it takes to acquire someone worth a salt at the position.