The Denver Broncos saw their season come to a merciful end in home loss to the playoff-bound Los Angeles Chargers. Their 6-10 season ensures their first back-to-back double digit loss season in 51 years and yes, it was that ugly every step of the way.
The 23-9 home defeat all but assured John Elway might be calling Vance Joseph into his office as you read these words as the franchise looks to turn the page on the worst two-season run since 1966-67.
Denver’s defense still showed it could compete with any team on the field and they successfully shut down Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense all game long. The only time the Chargers offense scored was after a Broncos offensive fumble set them up at the 17-yard line.
In the first quarter, the Chargers did nothing good offensively. The Broncos defense came up with two interceptions and stifled Rivers and the Chargers offense all quarter long. It would end in a scoreless tie.
That's nine straight games with #Broncos punting on their first drive @AP_NFL— Arnie Stapleton (@arniestapleton) December 30, 2018
While the defense continued its dominating performance over the Chargers offense, the Broncos offense did everything it could to give the game away. Despite gaining over 100 yards in offense in the second quarter, Case Keenum one hopped a backwards pass to Royce Freeman that was ultimately scooped up and taken in for a touchdown by a Chargers defender.
After that, the strangest sequence of events saw Keenum throw an interception in the end zone with the Chargers defense fumbling it back to Denver who then saw their drive end in a sack and field goal by Brandon McManus.
First and goal at the 5. Three straight passes ending in an interception. Then the Chargers defender did something stupid. lol Broncos ball at the 20. Maybe they'll run it this time...— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 30, 2018
Not satisfied having given the Chargers a 7-3 lead, the Broncos offense made sure to fumble the ball inside their own 20-yard line that gifted Rivers an opportunity to put up a two score lead. He did just that four plays later.
Despite that 14-3 lead, the Chargers offense continued to be smothered by the Broncos defense. Every time it seemed like they would break through, Denver’s defense would make a play to set them back.
Meanwhile, Broncos Stadium at Mile High had never been so empty.
Look at how empty this stadium is... Embarrassing. I’m sure companies are clamoring to put their name to this ghost town. pic.twitter.com/GyZupjZ5ya— Jess Place (@Jezru) December 30, 2018
As frustrating as all of that was, the Broncos have always had a knack for putting up offensive points in the second half. That all started five minutes into the fourth quarter when Keenum hit a wide open Andy Janovich on a touchdown pass to bring the game back to within reach.
So what does this team do next? Keenum, on the two-point conversion try, throws a pick in the end zone that is promptly returned 101-yards for the two-point score for Los Angeles to put keep them up by a touchdown 16-9. It didn’t get better from there, either.
Here’s a shot of me when it comes to watching the 2018 Broncos:
I just can't even do this anymore today... pic.twitter.com/r6r8SpGtIM— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 30, 2018