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Broncos must turn page quickly for Raiders week

Turn the page, rip it out, and tear it up. It’s Raiders week.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos fell to a 1-win Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that was never in doubt. Despite a furious 4th quarter rally, terrible play-calling, a lifeless offense, lethargy on both sides of the ball were just too much for the Denver Broncos to overcome. After early struggles in the year, most Broncos fans thought Sunday’s game could have been just the thing to get Denver back on track. Whoops!

There’s no time to dwell on the last two weeks with the Broncos arch nemesis coming into Mile High this week. Like the Broncos, they started red-hot with a 3-0 start to their 2021 season. Like the Broncos, they stumbled these last two weeks and have lost their second game in a row, most recently to the hapless Chicago Bears. It’s safe to say that both teams may not be as good as their first three weeks and also not as bad as the last two weeks. How good or bad are they?

The Broncos have come out as lifeless as wet potato chip to open every game of the season, failing to score a touchdown on any of their opening drives. The first three weeks of the season, they were able to find themselves and elevate their level of play. These last two weeks, they have been without the will, desire, or motivation to do much of anything but compound mistakes upon penalties upon lackluster play-calling. They have the ability to not be so discombobulated, we have all seen it earlier this year. Fixing the problems Broncos Country saw on Sunday begins and ends with coaching. Broncos coaches need to fix these issues like their jobs depended on it, because they do.

The Raiders, on the other hand, lucked into their 3-0 start taking the Ravens and the Tua-less Dolphins to overtime to squeak out two of their three wins. In their last two games, the Las Vegas offense has sputtered, scoring just 23-points total. David Carr sustained a head injury on Sunday that was so scary that Raiders players took to their knee in prayer for his safety. He later returned only to take another shot to the head later in the game. It’s nothing short of remarkable that the very same concussion protocols that claimed Teddy Bridgewater last week allowed Carr to continue to play.

Compounding the Raiders offensive struggles, there is also this matter of Jon Gruden sending racist emails while he worked as a commentator at ESPN. He’s vehemently denied that there’s “not an ounce of racism in me.” Clearly, he’s just another in a long line of non-racists who just happen to send racist emails. Unfortunately for Jon, history has shown that people who casually throw racist terms around in the workplace rarely only do so only once. It wouldn’t be a surprise if more abhorrent emails soon surface sent by self-proclaimed non-racist, Jon Gruden.

This Sunday’s game against the Raiders is a big one. Are these 2021 Broncos better than the 2020 Broncos who lifelessly walked through the season, or are they something better? If they want to show that they’ve turned the corner and are making gains toward becoming a contender in the AFC, it starts not just by beating the Raiders, but by beating them bad. What better team to demonstrate focus, intensity, ferocity, and fury against than the team that every Broncos fan loves to hate? I sincerely hope Sunday’s loss to the Steelers got the Broncos attention. I want them to be mad.

Bring on the Raiders.

HORSE TRACKS

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