Each team had four scoring opportunities in this game. The difference was the Oakland Raiders scored three touchdowns out of those four opportunities and the Denver Broncos scored just one.
That’s it. As poorly as the Broncos played at times, both teams had an equal amount of opportunities to put points on the board and it was the red zone offense and the red zone defense that let Denver down time after time in their 24-16 road defeat.
In perusing the post-game quotes from Denver, there were a few things that were worth noting on the red zone play from both sides of the ball.
Never quite in control
- Head Coach Vic Fangio felt the frustration the rest of us felt throughout the game. He admitted he never quite felt in control of the situation on defense when it came to stopping the run. That is a huge admission and that rushing attack is how the Raiders maintained control throughout the game.
Coach Fangio: “We never quite, I never quite, felt in control of the running game. Even though the stats may show that it wasn’t that bad, but it was too many. Even the ones that we were winning, they were getting three, getting two, getting four, getting five too many times. You know that plays into the third-and-short stuff they had.”
The red zone was a dead zone
- Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello had himself a pretty rough first game as well. He got cute at times and getting cute in the NFL usually doesn’t end well and Monday night was no different. When it came to the red zone offense, Fangio noted that the difference in the game offensively is that they scored touchdowns in the red zone and the Broncos did not. Scangarello’s job is to fix that as quickly as possible.
Coach Fangio: “I didn’t see much that was good, obviously. We didn’t make the plays down there, I’ll have to look at the tape and see exactly for sure. That was really a big difference in the game, in spite of everything else, they scored touchdowns and we didn’t.”
- Joe Flacco played rather well and despite some ugly red zone opportunities early in the game, he was money late. If not for a costly DaeSean Hamilton drop, the game might have had a completely different end result. In the end, the momentum never really swung in Denver’s favor.
Flacco: “Yeah it was. As ugly as it was for us in the first half, I thought we fought really hard. At the end of the day, it ended up being they were able to score. They got the ball down there and kept the momentum of the drive, and we weren’t.”
- Defensively, the red zone was where the Broncos defense folded time after time. They just had no answer for Derek Carr’s quick passing game and the running game consistently setup third and short situations. Justin Simmons noted that even one stop down there would have completely changed the game, but the defense just couldn’t find a way to get it done.
Simmons: “Yeah, when you get in the red zone you know that’s a huge part of the game. You hold them there to six instead of fourteen, you know you’re looking at a different ball game. Give our offense time to get going you know find a rhythm and we just weren’t able to do that. Credit to them though. It’s not like we just straight up came out and played bad. They played really well. They did a lot of things really well and we just didn’t do a good job answering.”
The sky isn’t falling... yet
- I, along with many other Broncos fans, was freaking out and knee jerking to all Hell last night. However, upon waking up this morning I am realizing that its just one game and I kind of predicted that the Raiders would come into this game with playoff-like intensity after the Antonio Brown circus. That was exactly what happened. What I didn’t expect was for Denver to come out flat. Even so, they still only lost by a touchdown. In that context, I can see why Fangio is disappointed, but not discouraged.
Coach Fangio: “That I was extremely disappointed in the loss, but not discouraged. I think once we see some of the mistakes we made, or plays we didn’t make, that we can see that we can be better than we played tonight.”
- Joe Flacco, who has been around a long time, also noted that the season is long. Every game is important, but it is still early and the Broncos have a chance to rebound and get things going in a positive direction.
Flacco: “Listen man, it’s tough. It’s a long season, but every game they’re all so important. You feel the weight of losses. We all want to win. We all want to go out there every single play, every single game bring home a ‘W.’ So to not do that and reflect on that at this point is a pretty tough thing to do, but we have to. We have a quick turnaround against a really good football team, so we have to learn from the mistakes we made. There’s nothing else you can say. We have to do it and we’re not going to have to put up that much time to get it done, but I think we will. Just the way we fought and guys kind of stayed together tonight, I think we have the kind of guys that are going to be ready to go next week.”
So what do you say, Broncos Country? Is the sky falling?
Is the sky falling?
This poll is closed
Absolutely. Seasons’ over, book it.
No, but it’s threatening.
It’s one game. Everyone needs to chill.