The outcome of the Broncos and Bills game was a bit of a return to earth moment for Denver fans. Broncos Country had been flying high off of Trevor Siemian's performance in the first two weeks of the young season. After the turd burger served up by the offense in Buffalo, it may be time to temper the excitement just a bit.
Present company totally included in this, I predicted 3 offensive touchdowns and 2 pick sixes in the first away game of 2017. Let's face it, that was clearly the “drunk on winning” prediction. Those lofty expectations quickly disappeared.
The real surprise was just how bad the game was for Denver. Play calling was abysmal at times. The defense looked sluggish. Trevor Siemian looked like Siemian a la 2016. The refs made some interesting calls. Buffalo came to play. That equation equals a Broncos loss.
At times like these, fans look for a place to point the finger. Some will go for the poor officiating. That Von Miller unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was the strangest, weakest call I have seen that did not involve Tom Brady crying. It was indicative of the struggles the officiating crew was having. That wasn’t why Denver lost.
Siemian was far from efficient. That will be the place many fans look. The two interceptions he threw were bad. The first was a pass into double coverage with Bennie Fowler falling down. As Siemian ran around inside the Broncos ten yard line, extending the play, he forced a ball into a spot that just did not exist. Instead of Fowler, E.J. Gaines ended up with the ball.
Running for his life on that first pick, perhaps he can be forgiven. Running for his life on the second pick, Siemian did what he seems to always do. He continues to retreat when under duress. This time, as he sprinted backward, he lofted the ball toward Fowler again. This time it was Tre’Davious White with the pick.
The big sin on this interception was that it killed a drive. But where else can Broncos Country point their collective finger? How about that strange fake punt? That may not be the reason Denver lost, but the play calling left a lot to be desired. It appeared the Bills were well prepared to face Denver. The Broncos did not look prepared.
It wasn’t all bad. The defense was able to hold Buffalo in check in the running game. Only 2.3 YPC and 75 yards allowed is generally a recipe for success. That silver lining is always nice to find.
It wasn’t like Buffalo owned the Broncos defense. The Bills first touchdown was the result of a series of strange bounces, culminating in a deflected pass that happened to fall into the hands of the Bills receiver, and not Chris Harris Jr. or Aqib Talib. The whole game felt more like a series of miscues and unfortunate bounces.
Jamaal Charles is another highlight. His 9 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown are exactly what the Broncos brought him in for. His game is coming along, and he will be a big part of the offense all season.
Anyone who thought the season was going to be all rainbows and unicorns was fooling themselves. The Broncos had only played at home. The weather was unseasonably hot in Buffalo. Denver was just off. It happens, but if it becomes a habit, that will be the time to worry.
If the Dallas game was a “prove it” moment, the Bills game was a hiccup. It was ugly, but the true measure of this team will come in Week 4 against Oakland. Don’t turn on Siemian. Don’t give up on this team yet. They played bad. It was a collective effort, and they lost together. The big question will be can they bounce back together?