The first road game is always a great indication of what a team will look like for the rest of the season.
After Sunday’s showing against the Baltimore Ravens, fans of the Denver Broncos might not want to see any more. After a 2-0 start last season, this feels like a terrible sequel.
It’s not a surprise that the Broncos lost this game, but the manner in which they did so may leave fans feeling some PTSD from what they endured a year ago.
Look on the bright side, Broncos Country — you could be a Minnesota Vikings fan.
Baltimore looked and played like the better team. The Ravens were able to overcome a bad start, and that’s a testament to the veteran leadership and coaching. Baltimore also found what worked on both sides of the ball and continued to do it.
After a three-and-out from the Broncos defense, Jones set the offense up with a blocked punt. It seemed like a great omen. Alas, that was not the case. But Jones showed why he is on the roster with that huge special teams play.
WHAT A START!#BeatTheRavens pic.twitter.com/6ixBbWCS4y— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 23, 2018
On a day in which the defense was torched by Joe Flacco, you won’t see winners. But the rookie linebacker was a bright spot and showed he should get more time on the field. Jewell finished with eight tackles and one tackle for loss.
One of the few aspects in which a head coach has a direct impact on the game is clock management. Tied into that is the use of replay. Joseph was atrocious on Sunday. When you go against one of the best in the NFL, you have to rise to the occasion.
The other area of a team that connects to coaching is penalties, preparedness and situational football. What makes matters worse, or hilarious, is Joseph, apparently, has Football 101 with his team each week. The Broncos finished with 13 penalties, seemed confused and lost most of the game, and the play-calling on both sides of the ball was, you guessed it, awful. Speaking of a 2017 redux, Joseph showed he was out of his element.
I’ve tried to give Denver’s new starting quarterback the benefit of the doubt, but we’ve now seen three games of horrible decisions and interceptions. Keenum leads the NFL in picks and has fans thinking the version we saw with the Vikings last season was a mirage.
The Frequent Flyer Zone
This is the new name for the Broncos secondary. Airlines wish they could give out miles like this unit has through three games.
You could include Denver’s entire offensive line in this, but Bolles gets the nod for his play on Sunday (if one could even say he “played”). He was owned by whoever went against him, and when he wasn’t owned, he was costing his team big plays with holding penalties.
I’m not one who points the finger at officials when a team loses, and I don’t think the Broncos lost because of Ron Torbert and his crew. But they were bad. Look no further than the inconsistency in terms of holding calls. The flags on Bolles were blatant and obvious. So were the ones on Von Miller, who was held the entire game but it wasn’t called. When you’re an official, you’re job is to be consistent. You can’t say that about Torbert and his crew after Sunday’s game. There’s also the bullshit ejection of Phillip Lindsay.
Though to Lindsay’s credit, he took responsibility for it.
“I feel horrible, because I’m not out there with my team,” he told the media after the game. “And that’s my fault. That’s something I’m going to learn from. It’s never going to happen again.”
I should have just saved myself the trouble, but the whole team deserves to be on this list. As I said at the start, it’s not a surprise Denver lost this game, but how it did so is what’s a huge surprise. Here we go again?