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Putrid quarterback play wastes another strong defensive effort

The Denver Broncos defense played a strong game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but it was to no avail.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If not for his garbage-time TD near the end off the game, Trevor Siemian would have had the worst game of his career. As it was, this game’s passer rating of 43.5 was only a whisker better than his worst career performance of 43.1 (which happened last year in Kansas City).

I don’t remember specifics about his play in that game, but from what I saw in this game Trevor should have been benched in the 1st or 2nd quarter on Monday. He missed his first three throws by large margins. On his fourth throw he chose to throw towards the Broncos worst receiving tight end, Jeff Heuerman, while he was being covered by the Chiefs best cover corner, Jason Peters, on a route up the right sideline. The throw was so poorly placed that it looked like he was throwing it intentionally to the defensive back. So he compounded a poor decision with an even poorer throw.

His play in the first quarter looked so bad to me, that if you had told me he was purposefully trying to throw the game, I would not have been able to argue otherwise (his third interception and the mind-numbing throw to absolutely no one on the 2-point try also might suggest this if I didn’t know otherwise). That was one of the worst overall performances I have seen from a Denver QB and that’s saying something since I witnessed Tebow complete two passes in a start, Chris Simms forget which team he was on and Peyton Manning hobble so badly that he couldn’t throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield without putting it up as high as a punt.

OK. Enough griping out our former starting QB - on to the defense.

Stopping the run on first down.

The run defense on first down with the exception of three runs was exceptional, so it was just ok overall. The Chiefs gained 58 yards on 16 first down carries (3.65 ypc) with 43 of that coming on 3 runs and 20 of those on one Alex Smith scramble. So on Smith and Kareem Hunt’s three first down runs of 20, 15 and 11 yards, the chiefs gained 43. All three of those big first down runs happened in the first half.

For the season we have now allowed 327 first down rushing yards on 94 first down carries (3.48 ypc). That is good for 5th in the league. CLE is currently leading the league allowing only 2.63 ypc on first down runs.

We had 1 TFL and 4 stops for no gain on first down runs this game bringing our season total to 7 TFL on first down runs and 21 stops for no gain in 7 games.

Getting the Opponent in 3rd & long and stopping them

We forced the Chiefs into seven 3rd and long situations in twelve 3rd downs. Here are the results.

Quarter Time ToGo Location Detail Result
1 13:10 9 KAN 19 Alex Smith pass complete deep left to Travis Kelce for 19 yards (tackle by Will Parks) conversion by catch
2 5:10 7 DEN 7 Alex Smith pass incomplete short middle intended for Ross Travis incomplete
3 13:15 10 DEN 16 Alex Smith pass complete short right to Kareem Hunt for 2 yards (tackle by Brandon Marshall) catch but short
3 7:16 8 KAN 30 Alex Smith pass incomplete short middle intended for Charcandrick West incomplete
4 13:15 13 DEN 29 Alex Smith pass complete short left to Charcandrick West for 4 yards (tackle by Derek Wolfe) catch but short
4 4:52 12 DEN 24 Alex Smith pass incomplete deep right intended for Demetrius Harris (defended by Darian Stewart) incomplete
4 1:43 10 DEN 45 Kareem Hunt middle for -2 yards (tackle by Shelby Harris) run stopped short

Their lone conversion on 3rd & long was not that painful because it came on a drive that we stopped on the next 3rd down when Smith threw incomplete on 3rd and 6 to force a punt from KC’s 42.

For the season we have allowed conversion 9 of 47 3rd and longs (19.1%) which is second best in the league behind PIT who has only allowed conversion on 17.9% including penalty conversions. KC is league worst right now allowing conversion on 22 of 58 3rd and longs this season (39.3%). Our offense was responsible for one of those 22 last game.

Moving Forward

I’ve never been to see the Broncos play in person. I will be at the game on Sunday in Philadelphia. I am fully expecting to watch Brock Osweiler start at QB for the Broncos. Siemian’s accuracy and decision-making in KC were the worst that I have seen him play and some of the worst that I have seen from any NFL QB in my lifetime (as I mentioned earlier).

I only watched Brock play three games last season, but he looked better than that in all three both in terms of accuracy and decisions. I’m not harboring any delusions that Brock will magically turn into 2013 Peyton Manning, but the sad fact of the matter is that Siemian is turning into Tim Tebow 2011 minus the ability to throw the deep ball and maybe, just maybe, 2017 Brock is better than 2016 and 2015 Brock. Even if he isn’t, 2017 Trevor is significantly worse than 2016 Trevor and Trevor really didn’t have much room to get worse.

I’m fully expecting another Broncos loss. The Eagles defense is too good this season to allow much, if anything, to our atrophied and injured offense. I would, however, really like to see the Broncos play a good game, possibly even a game where all three phases are working together. If nothing else, my son and I are going to have a good time tail-gating before the game.