This wasn’t the removal of “death by inches.” This was death by miles.
We all wanted to see how the Denver Broncos would look in their 60th season and the first with Vic Fangio as the head coach. After a 24-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football, is it possible for a redo?
As Adam Malnati and I tried to joke about on the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), we weren’t sure if the Broncos even got off the plane in Oakland. Denver looked woefully unprepared and out of sync. The good news is it’s one game in a long season and most of the issues are correctable.
The question then becomes: Will they, or are we in for another long season?
As always, I’m bound to miss someone, so please mention them in the comments.
One of the few Broncos who actually showed up, and there’s no doubt Sanders goes on this list. I don’t know why it took until under 2 minutes in the first half for him to get a target, but it’s better late than never. Sanders finished the game with five catches for 86 yards and Denver’s lone touchdown.
Joe Flacco and the Broncos offense finally attacked the defense over the middle, and Sutton was the beneficiary. In a game that didn’t bring much you could get excited about, the usage of the second-year receiver is one of them. Hopefully this is something we see more of over the next 15 games. Sutton finished the night with seven receptions for 120 yards.
I hesitated to put anyone from the Broncos defense on this list, but Jackson deserves a spot. He did his part with some key pass breakups in the second half to keep Denver in the game. On top of his two passes defended, Jackson had seven tackles.
The Broncos kicker would be on this list anyway rocking that mustache, but he was most of the offense on Monday. McManus was 3-for-4 on field goals, and his lone miss was a 64-yard attempt at the end of the first half. He also shouldn’t have had to kick one of his makes ...
I still don’t know how Hamilton dropped that 8-yard touchdown catch. The ball hit him right in the chest. But as soon as the ball hit the turf, Hamilton cost his team four points and all of the momentum.
My mom always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Practicing that creed here, hopefully Bryce Callahan can return from his foot injury soon, though that doesn’t appear likely. So maybe we can see De’Vante Bausby?
The Broncos defense
No matter what Derek Carr and the Raiders did on offense, Denver couldn’t stop it. Not only that, the Broncos had no sacks or quarterback hits. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the field. Credit to Oakland, but how the heck does that happen? And if you were wondering if the Broncos can cover a tight end, well, that’s a resounding and emphatic “no.” Denver allowed 71 percent on third-down conversions and 6.6 yards per play to the Raiders.
Fangio and his staff were lapped by Jon Gruden and his coaches. Remember the unprepared line at the start of the column? Oakland seemed to have the perfect game plan on both sides of the ball, while the Broncos’ seemed to be thrown together the night before.
Denver’s special teams
I joked on Twitter that the only thing missing from this Broncos’ performance was a special teams miscue. And right on cue, Denver delivered by allowing Dwayne Harris to return a kickoff 72 yards.
It seemed anytime there was a penalty on offense, it was because of No. 65. I’ll add in the pass protection as an honorable mention here as well. The good news is this was just one game. Hopefully Leary can get these issues corrected heading into Week Two vs the Chicago Bears.