Once again the team gave a great effort. They prepared well. They gave it their all on the field. And once again “little mistakes” and “small details” held the team back from what should have been a sure win against a team that they absolutely went toe-to-toe with on the field.
If Vance Joseph hasn’t lost the team yet at this point in the season, he should have. He cost them a win in this game and there is absolutely no denying it.
The decision to kick a monster field goal at the end of the half was the three-point swing that made the difference. I don’t see this as a hindsight fan thing either...I see this as “Football 101” - which according to Joseph, the team studies every week.
I have some advice for VJ: You should attend those sessions if you are still on the team next week.
What a phenomenal game by the defense. The Texans have a very dangerous passing game. The Broncos came in without one of their starters at cornerback (I think that’s still a thing we can say about Bradley Roby). They were also without a starting inside linebacker in Brandon Marshall and starting safety in Darian Stewart.
To come out and keep a team to under 19 points is quite remarkable. The pass rush was evident, the pass coverage was solid (not spectacular, but definitely good enough to win).
Todd Davis turned in honestly his best game I’ve seen him play. He was covering passes, defending the run, and cleaning up tackles all game long. Ten tackles is a monster game, and he is hands-down the best ILB on the team (including those currently injured...Marshall couldn’t carry his jock this season).
The other guy from the defense that I was really impressed with was Bradley Chubb. This guy absolutely was a superb pick and it is worth noting that he’s not “doing what he’s supposed to”...he’s ahead of his developmental curve by what I’m seeing from him on the field. He isn’t just being a pass rush specialist (though he turned in a sack and a QB hit), he also had 3 TFLs on the game.
I could honestly give a laundry list of players from the front seven that had good games -Adam Gotsis, DeMarcus Walker, Derek Wolfe and Von Miller all had impactful games.
So what exactly happened to Justin Simmons? Last year he was a stud up and coming. He’s having some real derpy play with a TD over the top of him this game, where he bit on play action in the red zone and looked to me to have responsibility for the middle zone. You can’t do that and with a front seven who had a superb game up and down. You have to trust them to stop or at least slow down the run while you keep that end zone safe.
Our No. 2 CB this week was either Adam Jones or Tremaine Brock. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. I also couldn’t tell the difference between their play and the play of our No. 2 the past few weeks. This isn’t a credit to Jones and Brock by the way...it is a statement that says our cornerback depth is horrid.
Will Parks had another quietly competent game at safety. He’s been a great depth player for the team filling in this week for Darian Stewart. The team went and picked up S’ua Cravens (who had an up and down game this week), and Parks has responded with play on the field making it hard for the team to overlook his value.
I’m really pretty torn here. In ways the offense played the best game its played all year. At the end of the day though, it was not enough and still a very long sight away from what I think most of Broncos Country expected heading into this season.
The play calling was again fairly iffy. For some reason just because Phillip Lindsay is really great in space or with a good-sized hole to run through, the offensive coordinator thinks that means he’s got the goods to be the bell cow back against the Houston Texans, which has one of the best front sevens in the NFL. Once again we see an example of a square peg being forced into a round hole with our offense. The team is short Royce Freeman who should have been the guy, but Lindsay’s stats looked like garbage compared to his other games this season largely by ineffective play calling over and over.
Let’s be real: Case Keenum is not a top tier backup QB for any NFL team. He’s savvy enough to run an offense. If you have playmakers, he can get some things going for you. But he just isn’t the guy that is going to scare defenses.
I say that on the heels of probably his best game this season. He threw 0 interceptions for the first time this year. He threw and absolute laser on a frozen rope for a TD in a very small window for the first time this season. Honestly, I haven’t seen a pass from Keenum with that much heat on it all year long.
But at the end of the day it was one pass. It was one game with no INTs. And it was not enough yet again.
Losing Matt Paradis is going to hurt this line a ton. I’m honestly amazed they didn’t look worse going up against the likes of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Connor McGovern slid inside to take over Center like a boss. Max Garcia did a decent job at LG and our 3rd string tackle Elijah Wilkinson held down RG.
Pass protection was a problem at times. The run game didn’t work as well as it had in the past few games. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the line to figure out a plan moving forward.
Phillip Lindsay is a beast. He only had a 3.5 ypc game and still I’m saying that. Why? Because the dude plays the game like it is everything that matters in his universe. He also is a tough-as-nails dog on the field barking at anyone in his path. I honestly love it. The dude needs to keep doing what he’s doing and talking big...make every team regret they never drafted him.
Can we get some props for Jeff Heuerman this week? The guy seemed like the only guy Keenum was looking at at times and came up HUGE after a bad drop on a third down - 10 receptions, 83 yards and a TD from a TE is a very welcome sight to see...now can we move more of those routes to the middle of the field please?
Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton need to do more in this offense. I’m not sure the problem is on them though. It seemed the offensive play calling didn’t target either of them as much as we would like to see, but with both of them being supremely talented players, you have find ways to give them more chances in a game.
So Adam Jones is returning punts. I get it. He can catch it really well. But is anyone else out there holding their breath when he doesn’t fair catch and decides to run? He’s so slow now it is almost not worth the risk to have him try to return. He obviously sees where the holes are as I don’t see any problems with the directions he cuts to make space or use blockers, but he just doesn’t have the burst to get through them before the other team puts hands on him.
Brandon McManus should absolutely be let off the hook for the long FG at the end of the half. That’s a really frigging tough kick to make. But that game-ending kick needs to be on target. It was totally the kind of kick you expect to be made in a clutch moment from your place kicker.
I’ve talked about the coaching quite a bit recently in my reviews and I’ll just say that I’m solidly of the mind that Vance Joseph needs to be fired. Today (wrote this on Sunday night for the record). We get back to the same mantra I talked about last year - you have to have accountability or there will be no winning from the team.
Well, this game is on Vance. Poor challenges. Poor clock management. Straight up horrible situational football decisions. These are all his sole responsibility on game day, and they have been plaguing the Denver Broncos this year. He doesn’t have the goods to be a head coach. He likely won’t ever have those goods.
At 3-6, the team needs the coach to be held accountable. Put an interim coach in place and finish the season. Anything else is just fools gold or kicking the can down the road another game.
These players deserve better and so do the fans of the Denver Broncos.