Injuries aren’t an excuse ‘til they strike like the plague in the middle of a pandemic. Looking back on this season years from now, we’ll believe Von’s freak accident served as a forewarning. At the starting line, the campaign lost its leader. Miller did what he could from the sideline, but you don’t replace a living legend’s presence between the lines. All year long, a young roster clearly missed the man who helped Peyton go out on top.
Without their Hall of Fame edge rusher, the defense had to adjust. The schedule did them no favors as the Broncos opened the season with three playoff teams. Meanwhile, the injury bug continued to gnaw its way through the roster. A starting corner here, the big ticket defensive lineman there. The void became a vacuum that didn’t stop until just one rookie cornerback remained from the initial roster. By season’s end, a waiver claim made his first career start after days in the playbook.
As the defense hollowed out, the offense wandered the desert. The presumptive franchise quarterback made it 72 snaps before a spill spelt the end of his September. While he fought his way off the training table, two of his teammates joined him there. He never threw another pass to his favorite receiver, and the absence caused an identity crisis. A coordinator yearned to chuck it all over the yard while his charge burned to toss jump balls downfield.
A Denver Miracle in front of South Park cutouts shushed the boo-birds, but did nothing to hide the cracks. The passing attack couldn’t rely on easy completions to keep them on track. Deja vu in Georgia kept the pitchforks at bay long enough for a trip to Vegas everyone wants to forget. Sleeping off the hangover seemed to help. The coordinator took the ball out of his quarterback’s hands whenever he could and simplified his assignments when he couldn’t. A callow passer began to flash growth on the job.
Everything came to a grinding halt when the team’s signal callers ran afoul the league’s Covid-19 rules. Late notice meant no time to plan or secure an arm. No matter, the show goes on. At the season’s lowest moment, another Bronco found his way to Canton. By doing all he could to keep a dream alive, Kendall Hinton became a cautionary tale.
After a date with Saints, the stars aligned long enough for the head coach to see his battered team come painfully close to knocking off the champs. By then, his defense had begun to spout blood where they once leaked. A tweak here, some timely pressure there, and a couple lucky breaks pushed the worst damage out of the open air. It held long enough for an arm to see a career day at the expense of three different legs.
Shattered, the defense became fish in a barrel for a cowboy from Wyoming. Tattered, they held a record setting rookie to 19 points. Broken and left for dead, they were backed over by a Carr. Decades from now, any tale of the 2020 Broncos will begin with a meme.