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Broncos vs 49ers: 4 winners, 5 losers in Denver’s brutal loss to San Francisco

In a game the Broncos had to win, they came out flat, got in a big hole and couldn’t overcome the same old issues.

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There are times the results just speak for themselves.

This is one of those instances for the Denver Broncos after their 20-14 loss to the 3-10 San Francisco 49ers. To give you an idea just how bad San Francisco is, it couldn’t even execute the victory formation. The loss on Sunday drops Denver to 6-7 on the season, and all but ends the playoff talk. The same holes and issues that had been masked by the three-game winning streak reared their ugly heads in a big way in this tough loss.


Bradley Chubb

With his two sacks, Chubb now holds the Broncos’ rookie sack record with 12, breaking Von Miller’s old mark of 11.5. Chubb is also on pace to break the NFL rookie sack record of 14.5 held by Jevon Kearse. Chubb needs three sacks in the final three games to pull off that feat. At least the Orange Rush showed up for Denver on Sunday, producing three sacks. Chubb didn’t just do it in the passing game either. He finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and two quarterback hits. Speaking of which, fans can show support for Chubb as he inches closer to the record by wearing this new Orange Rush hoodie (when you buy it, use the promo code HOODIEHALF at checkout to get one more item for 50 percent off and free shipping).

Tim Patrick

There wasn’t much that went right for the Broncos, but Patrick had himself a day. His reception on fourth down that resulted in Denver’s first touchdown was massive. The heart and passion Patrick played with was a sight for sore eyes. Patrick led the Broncos with seven catches for 85 yards.

Phillip Lindsay

Denver’s rookie didn’t have the eye-popping numbers we’ve grown accustomed to, but he still scored a touchdown. As with Patrick, Lindsay also played with massive heart and passion. Lindsay finished with 14 carries for 30 yards. I’ll give an honorable mention to Royce Freeman, who finished with six carries for 36 yards.

DaeSean Hamilton

The rookie receiver caught his first career touchdown, so that puts you in the winners list. Hamilton finished with seven receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.


Vance Joseph

Joseph’s approach to challenges: If it’s obvious to challenge, he doesn’t. If it’s obvious he shouldn’t, he does. The play calling, situational football and time management of Joseph and this staff for the Broncos is just brutal. The other aspect that is inexcusable is how Denver looked in the first half. In a game to keep your playoff hopes alive, that’s how you respond? The positivity Joseph gained after the three-game winning streak has all but vanished with that performance and outcome.

Bill Musgrave

Enough is enough. We’ve been over this ad nauseam this season.

Joe Woods

The only guy in the country who didn’t realize George Kittle was the only San Francisco weapon on offense was the Broncos defensive coordinator. At least he figured it out in the second half and prevented Kittle from breaking Shannon Sharpe’s record. But that’s not enough to take him off of the losers list. As with Joseph and Musgrave, that “preparation” in the first half was beyond horrible. Kittle finished with seven catches for 210 yards and one touchdown. Oh, by the way, all of that came in the first half.

Denver’s offensive line

The unit played incredibly well during the winning streak, but it was dominated by the 49ers. Case Keenum didn’t play well, but a good portion of his struggles were because he didn’t have time. Add in the sluggish showing for the Broncos on the ground, and it wasn’t a great day for the offensive line.

Denver’s playoff hopes

For the Broncos to have a chance at the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, they had to win out. Denver just lost to a team that couldn’t figure out the victory formation. That pretty much sums up the playoff talk at this point.