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Broncos vs Texans: 4 winners, 1 loser from Denver’s crushing 19-17 loss

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There is one reason and one reason alone the Broncos found a way to lose another game they should have won — Vance Joseph.

Houston Texans v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Houston, we had a problem.

The Denver Broncos found another way to lose a game they should have won. This time a 19-17 defeat to the Houston Texans. At this point, it’s the expectation for this franchise. It’s the same old, same old. The Broncos now head into their bye having lost six of their last seven games, and the next three don’t get easier — at the Los Angeles Chargers, home for the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the Cincinnati Bengals.

Keep this mind: Denver hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1972. At 3-6, the Broncos are on the verge of making more horrible history.

The question now is: Who will be held accountable, if anyone?

Winners

Jeff Heuerman

No doubt he was the player of the game on offense. Heuerman was a beast. Everyone thought Courtland Sutton would benefit from the trade of Demaryius Thomas, at least on Sunday it was the Broncos tight end. Heuerman led the team with 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. In all seriousness it was nice to see Denver’s offense utilize the tight end.

Todd Davis

The Broncos middle linebacker played a helluva game. Davis was seemingly involved in just about every play on defense, and that’s the tell a middle linebacker is dominating. If Davis is able to make this showing consistent, it only makes the defense that much better. Davis led the defense with 10 tackles, nine solo, one tackle for loss and a pass defended. I’ll even throw in rookie Josey Jewell, even though he was beat for the Texans’ first touchdown.

Bradley Chubb

Denver’s rookie outside linebacker finally got a sack of Deshaun Watson. When the two were in college, Chubb never was able to make it happen. Chubb’s first sack of Watson boosts his total to eight for the season. That’s the most for a Broncos rookie through nine games since Von Miller in 2011. It also ties Chubb for fourth-most in NFL history through nine games. He also had six tackles, five solo, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.

Case Keenum

Holy shit, Denver’s quarterback played a clean game. For the first time, Keenum threw no picks or fumbled. That alone is why Keenum is on the winners list, and, yes, that’s how low the bar is at this point. He finished the game 26-for-42 passing for 290 yards and a touchdown. He also put the team in position for the potential game-winning field goal. But the most crucial stat is no turnovers.

Losers

Vance Joseph

As I said on Twitter after the game, “there’s no possible way Joseph and the Broncos can get worse at situational football.” That’s Broncos Country every week.

Joseph: “Hold my beer.”

That decision to kick a 62-yard field goal at the end of the first half was the latest evidence Joseph is totally incompetent when it comes to situational football. That decision gifted Houston three points and proved the difference in the game. You could throw in that shit-fest we saw at the end of the game as well. Denver is just profoundly bad in situational football. Those weekly Football 101 sessions are really paying off.

And that will do it for my list.

It would be easy to add Brandon McManus, Max Garcia and Matt Paradis for his injury to this group, but I’m not. This loss is all on Joseph. He’s shown yet again that he is in over his head and wholly out of his element.

But there’s a difference after this defeat — it has completely crushed this team. You can see it on the face of each and every player.

At what point is enough enough?

Will Joseph finally be held accountable?