The end of the Denver Broncos 2020 season made me a little nostalgic. The loss to the Las Vegas Raiders hurt for several reasons, and we will get into that, but in the end, it was probably the best outcome.
Now back to that nostalgia.
As Ian St. Clair and I sat down to record the final postgame recap show of 2020 on the MHR Radio Podcast I asked him to think back. Back to a time when national media members were calling Drew Lock a dark horse MVP candidate. Back to a time when Denver was considered a potential challenger to the Chiefs hold on the division. Back to a time when the playoffs felt almost like a sure thing.
While it may feel like 84 years ago, it was more like just 4 or 5 months ago. What a difference a season makes.
As far as the end of the season, I imagine it ended exactly how it should have. A last minute TD by the Raiders, poor clock management by Vic Fangio, and a 2-pt conversion after a panicky timeout by the Broncos head coach.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Broncos won the turnover battle 4-0. That’s right, 4 takeaways to none, and the offense could only manage 31 points. Sure, the defense gave up 32, but how many starters were on the field? Would have been nice if Lock and the offense could have capitalized a little more.
But honestly, I’m not going to complain too much. Lock played pretty well, all things considered. He was 25-41 (61% completion) for 339 and 2 TD. The 92-yard TD to Jerry Jeudy is a bit of a stat padder, and Jeudy did most of the work, but who am I to judge.
Lock played a clean game. Melvin Gordon was solid as the bell cow back. Jeudy had a nice bounce back game. The 92-yard score was a thing of beauty. The route was run perfectly. Lock hit Jeudy in stride as he came open, and then he simply ran away from Raider defenders who looked like they had the right path to make the tackle. He’s going to be really, really good.
On the defensive side, Justin Simmons continued to make the case for an extension. He had a pick and 2 passes defensed. Kareem Jackson had an interception. The Broncos forced two fumbles. It was a surprisingly good game from a defense that gave up 32 points.
Sure, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller had big games. Missing several starters will do that. And yes, the Raiders were able to put together a last minute drive to win the game. But the defense is not the problem in Denver.
The final score for the Raiders was incredibly telling about what needs to happen with Vic Fangio. He must spend an entire offseason running scenarios, learning how to manage the clock. Better yet, hire a guy who knows how to manage the clock, and let him call timeouts, and make those decisions. Like I have said several times, Fangio is a great defensive coordinator.
I want to walk away from this abomination of a season with something positive. It’s been a real challenge to be excited about the future of the Denver Broncos. The loss to the Raiders only adds to the struggle to find positivity in 2020.
Here is my attempt. Nothing is really going to change in 2021. Lock will probably be the starting QB. Fangio will be the HC. John Elway will be the GM. Pat Shurmur will be the OC. Mike Shula will be the QB coach. The changes that will happen are mostly the return of missing pieces like Courtland Sutton.
Maybe continuity is what this franchise needs? Or maybe I’m delusional.
Oh, and can we please sign Justin Simmons long term.