When the Denver Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 7th time in a row there were several obvious issues. The team is undisciplined. The offensive line is a liability, still. The defense can’t stop the tight end, still. But the one big takeaway for me has to be Bill Musgrave’s play calling.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast in our postgame recap, it seems as if Musgrave is incapable of creating a game plan that the offense can execute. The offensive line struggles aside, for some reason Musgrave continues to find ways to take a simple approach that is working, and complicate it with unnecessary attempts at fancy or cute plays.
Maybe Musgrave wants the world to think he is an offensive genius in the same vane as the Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay, or even Andy Reid. He isn’t, and all he is doing is convincing the world that he can’t recognize a successful formula if it is shoved down his throat with a spoon.
As we said on the podcast, ask any fan what seems to be the thing that works best for the offense. It usually sounds something like, “run the damn ball.” After eight weeks of football, the recipe for offensive success is as clear as cold Rocky Mountain water. Run the ball, use play action, and move Case Keenum outside of the pocket.
What is left to say about the #Broncos at this point, #BroncosCountry? It feels like @AdamMalnati16 and I are beating a dead horse. On the latest @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, we review the #Chiefs game and try to find out what/why it happened. #DENvsKC https://t.co/o6hiU0yagj— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) October 29, 2018
I am not blowing anyone’s mind here. Phillip Lindsay averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and Devontae Booker averaged 8.7. This isn’t rocket science. I wrote about this problem earlier in the week. The Chiefs offense is so good that they scare teams away from running the ball. Denver didn’t necessarily abandon the run, but they seemed to move away from it as the game wore on. They rushed the ball 30 times, and passed it 34, but that doesn’t really tell the story.
This isn’t about stats. This is about making the decision to choose an identity. As I watched the game I couldn’t help but wonder why Musgrave seemingly chose to run plays that overcomplicated things. The failed flea flicker may seem like the best example, but there were others. The 3rd and 2 left end run to Emmanuel Sanders that lost 6 yards and led to a 55 yard field goal that Brandon McManus pushed wide. That cost the team points.
At the halfway point in the season the one big takeaway from the Broncos loss to the Chiefs is that everyone who watches the team knows their identity. The only people who don’t seem to know are Bill Musgrave and Vance Joseph. Not exactly a trait that builds confidence. Not to worry Broncos Country, this will all be over soon.