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Denver Broncos offense has been figured out

The gig is up for Bill Musgrave and Case Keenum. NFL defenses have figured their offense out.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Stack the box and dare Case Keenum to beat you.

That’s the recipe for success against the Denver Broncos in 2018. It’s the same recipe teams used against Trevor Siemian in the two seasons prior.

And it’s working.

Rookie sensation Phillip Lindsay is now facing loading boxes on every snap and has 28 carries for a mere 54 yards in his last two games. The one-dimensional offense has produced a whooping 90 passes in two games and just 15 points per game.

It’s no secret that when Keenum is throwing the ball a lot, the Broncos are not scoring a lot. He has thrown for over 32 passes in 10 games this season, eight of them losses. The Broncos have scored 19 points per game when Keenum is asked to carry the load. The Broncos are 4-0 when he throws fewer than 32 passes and average 29 points per game.

The problem is, they can’t scheme past those eight and nine man fronts teams are now throwing at them. The latest approach was to let Keenum sling it.

“I think it let me play loose,” Keenum said after the 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. “I think tonight, as far as throwing the football, Bill [Musgrave] and I are on the same page. We moved the ball really well throwing the football. There are a few plays I want back, sure. I can’t make those mistakes, so there’s a fine line to play there. But I think you’ve got do a little it more.”

Keenum has thrown the ball over 40 times in five games this season, all losses. One might assume those are blowout games, but that would be a bad assumption:

  • Loss 16-34 @ Jets: 35/51 377 yards with 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.
  • Loss 20-23 vs. Rams: 25/41 322 yards with 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.
  • Loss 17-19 vs. Texans: 26/42 290 yards with 1 touchdown.
  • Loss 14-20 @ 49ers: 24/42 186 yards with 1 touchdown.
  • Loss 16-17 vs. Browns: 31/48 257 yards with 2 interceptions.

One blowout. The rest saw the Broncos try to make Keenum put the game on his shoulders for the win. It never works out when that is the game plan.

With two games to go for a team eliminated from playoff contention, it doesn’t really matter what they do to fix this. The opportunity for success has passed. The only thing left to play for is pride and that might just be enough for this team to fight their way back to .500 and avoid yet another dubious record set under Vance Joseph.