It wasn’t death by inches for the Denver Broncos in their loss to the Chicago Bears. No, those inches added up quickly, turning into feet, turning into yards, turning into drives killed by penalties and bad play calling. And what really was incredible was that Denver still should have won.
As I mentioned to Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Denver didn’t deserve to win the game, but it shouldn’t have lost either. The Bears last possession should have ended before the kick in my opinion, but the defense shouldn’t have let a player free in the middle of the field like it did.
But what is the one big takeaway from the Broncos second loss to start the season? Is it that Garett Bolles is not a football player and needs to be benched? Or maybe that the great Von Miller isn’t playing so great, and that is costing the team? Nope. The one big takeaway has to be Vic Fangio’s decision to go for the two-point conversion with the game on the line after Joe Flacco finally connected with Emmanuel Sanders for a touchdown.
Ian St. Clair said it in his Winners and Losers piece, but it goes beyond one decision. I wrote about the hype around the Broncos coaching staff after their loss to the Raiders. I was disappointed they seemed so unprepared, but I know these things take time.
This is about a culture change.
Even in the loss, Fangio and his coaching staff showed grit in the end. They showed confidence in their players, and it almost paid off. Horseshoes and hand grenades and all that aside, that was a huge moment.
We can do the overreaction thing again this week. We can panic because the Broncos are 0-2 for the first time since 1999. Or, we can look at this team for what it is. The Denver Broncos are a team going through a culture change. You caught a glimpse of it in the waning moments of the game against the Bears.
An old new head coach, trying to get his first win, putting his trust in an old new QB with question marks swirling around his career. And it almost worked, too. Horseshoes and hand grenades, but that was a move we should all hold onto.