With everything on the line, the Denver Broncos flopped in an ugly 20-14 loss to the now 3-11 San Francisco 49ers. The loss drops the Broncos to 6-7 and on the very outside of the AFC playoff hunt. From poor playcalling to poor execution to poor coaching decisions, the Broncos had a little bit of it all in this one.
To start the game, the Broncos defense had no answer for Nick Mullens and George Kittle as the 49ers ripped off 160 total yards in the first quarter. Despite all of those yards, the Broncos defense found a way to hold strong in the first quarter giving up just three points.
You'd think Woods and Joseph would have figured out a way to key the #49ers only viable receiving threat, but here we are again. George Kittle and Shanahan are carving the #Broncos up. pic.twitter.com/uPeR10gVVQ— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 9, 2018
Offensively, the Broncos started out with a three and out and their second drive did little to nothing as well. Fortunately, Colby Wadman came to play in this game and helped flip field position twice with 50+ yard punts.
49ers 3, Broncos 0.
The Broncos defense started out holding the line in the red zone, but George Kittle continued to get open against anyone who covered him until culminating early the second quarter with an apparent zero coverage call to set him wide open for an 85 yard touchdown pass.
There was a moment after the #Chargers upset that I said Joseph was coaching to save his job because he'd have to prove himself over the rest of the #Broncos season.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 9, 2018
Blowing the playoff hopes by failing against Kyle Shanahan & George Kittle won't help his chances one bit. pic.twitter.com/iG1Tm9LgK3
Case Keenum struggled mightily in the first half completing just 7/15 for 43 yards, with most of his success coming with short checkdowns that went nowhere. Phillip Lindsay had just five carries for three yards.
Meanwhile, the 49ers kept on rolling in the first half getting Kittle to 210 yards receiving in the first half and capping their final drive before halftime with a touchdown after the Broncos defense committed a half dozen penalties.
49ers 20, Broncos 0.
The Broncos began finding their ability to play football again in the second half. On their first scoring drive, they converted two fourth downs that left to a Phillip Lindsay three-yard touchdown run to close the gap a bit.
From there, the Broncos defense began putting the pressure on Nick Mullens who began to look hurried and rattled from it for the first time in the game. By the end of the third quarter, the Broncos offense was beginning to get another drive going having cut the 49ers lead to two scores.
49ers 20, Broncos 7.
The Broncos never punted as they went for it on every fourth down in the second half. It didn’t pay off until four minutes left in the game when the fourth down conversion led to a touchdown to DaeSean Hamilton.
Despite questionable play-calling, which led to four straight passes from the 1-yard line on that touchdown pass, the Broncos fought their way back into this game late.
With less than four minutes to go, Vance Joseph took the game into his own hands:
Vance Joseph boycotts challenging calls... ends boycott to make a terrible challenge to blow a timeout this late in the game. Yikes.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 10, 2018
The 49ers would get a first down two plays later to seal victory and ending all realistic hope for a Broncos playoff run.
49ers 20, Broncos 14.