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Broncos at Bills: The No Bull Review

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The Denver Broncos got absolutely dominated by the Buffalo Bills. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the game.

Let’s all take our hats off to the Buffalo Bills defense. That was a helluva show by them. I don’t think I’ve seen a Denver Broncos offense look that inept since the Peyton Manning led Broncos played the Kansas City chiefs in 2015 when Manning got benched after 5 turnovers.

I’m not sure how useful digging deep into this game is. The Broncos are a rebuilding team (whether John Elway admits it or not) who are now perennial losers with their season now solidly over. The Bills are a young, hopeful team kicking on all cylinders with a dominating defense and a brave offense led by a young quarterback who is a dual threat (which is always a stress to the opposing defense).

Defense

The defense was given all they could handle this time and I honestly think they did as decent a job as you can expect given the circumstances. It seemed to me like they adjusted well in game to the different threats that Josh Allen presented and outside of a couple of blown plays and some poor performance on 3rd down, they were doing a fairly decent job.

Front 7

Malik Reed needs to understand Allen’s run game better. On an early big run outside deep in the Bills territory, if Reed just holds his ground instead of attacking an angle, Allen has no lane to use and is stopped or has to throw the ball away.

Von Miller used superb technique rushing from the offense’s left side to stop the drive on a 3rd and 6 early. I also loved what he did to get his only sack of the game by throwing his guy completely off his leverage.

In general, I thought this was a pretty decent game from both of our inside linebackers. Alexander Johnson and Todd Davis were all over the field on the day making tackles. That’s what you in general want to see instead of your safeties leading the team in tackles.

Secondary

Justin Simmons is awesome and all, but he benefited greatly from a gimme interception in this one. I’m still clueless as to what Josh Allen was throwing on that play. That being said, I loved his play this game. He was all over his assignments the whole game and a sure tackler to boot. With all the great play comes a great amount of attention lately and I think it is really cool to see the guy stepping up as a leader for this defense.

All year long, I’ve been pointing out Chris Harris Jr. getting smoked and this week was another prime example. I’m sure it was just the safeties’ fault right (protip: it wasn’t). I’m just going to take the time in this review to say that CHJ is the greatest slot corner likely to have ever played the game. When you move him outside and have him match up on the game’s best though, I’m finding it hard to call him above-average. If he wants a big payday this offseason and is using #1 cornerback contracts to argue his point, I’d tell him to pound sand and look forward to my team getting a compensatory pick.

You know it. I know it. Let’s just say that all the corners not named Chris Harris Jr. kinda suck. Because they do. I’ll honestly be surprised if the guys we have starting this year are on the team next year as anything other than the bottom tier depth of the cornerback corps.

Offense

I can take getting stomped by a dominating defense. I mean, the Broncos were just overmatched at every level when they had the ball and that’s no big deal especially for a team on their first year in a new system.

But what bugged me about this game was how it looked like the Bills team wanted it far more. I’m sure they do ... they are in the playoff race after all. But it is a bad look for an offense to look so inept for 4 quarters of a game, let alone look like they are playing scared.

Quarterbacks

Any line of thinking that includes the idea of Brandon Allen being a legitimate option as a starting NFL quarterback needs to stop. This game was an opportunity for him to show some gusto and make some plays to keep his team in it and instead his play was as limp as a wet noodle.

Again, I get it that he’s up against a great defense, but if this guy was going to be anything special in the NFL, don’t you think that in his 3rd start he could have done something to get more points on the board?

I like the guy as a backup QB. I think he’s the type of guy you can have come in and execute a game plan and not be a liability to your team. I just don’t see him raising any boats any time soon and I haven’t seen much from his game that looks special.

All of this is to say, if we are going to be okay with what we saw in this game from a guy in his 3rd year in the league, I’d honestly rather see the rookie Drew Lock out there gaining experience while he’s sucking eggs ... it is likely a better investment of the team’s time and effort at this point.

Line

Ugh. I can’t think of any lineman that I thought did a solid job. Dalton Risner (our best and most consistent lineman this year) got owned more than once. Connor McGovern and Ron Leary did as well. Our tackles played ole with outside pass rushers as much as they engaged them.

Running Backs

Phillip Lindsay is so good at finding lanes. The Bills defense was swarming to him early, but Lindsay constantly picked lanes and angles that let him stay productive. He was a great example of a guy on the offense that was aggressive and constantly fighting to win the game.

Receivers

Noah Fant is continuing to show what kind of player he can be for this team. He’s really getting comfortable in his role and is making strides as a receiving weapon. What I liked in this game was the smoothness of his route running.

Special Teams

Terrible punting doesn’t help our underwhelming team. Colby Wadman doesn’t really get that, but then again he probably gets told by our lackluster Special Teams coordinator that he’s doing great.

Final Thoughts

Looking on the bright side, this loss helps us get a better draft pick. All of us in Broncos Country want so bad for this team to be legitimate, but they aren’t. As we get closer to the end of the season, it becomes easier and easier for me to see the upside of losing games. Hopefully at 3-8, the team is significantly bad enough that we can be okay with starting a rookie QB in order to get him trained up.