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Broncos vs Raiders: The No Bull Review

The Denver Broncos had another sad showing for the 3rd straight game this season. The Raiders without a head coach looked easily twice as good as our team.

NFL: OCT 17 Raiders at Broncos Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the most frustrating things about being a Denver Bronco fan over the past 5 years or so is that there are so many times where we get NFL fool’s gold from our team.

What I mean is, this game was absolutely over in the 3rd quarter. Our coaches were out-coached. Our players were out-played. The Raiders had a three TD lead and looking at the sideline and booth squarely at Vic Fangio and Pat Shurmur, I just don’t see any reason that to be hopeful that the Broncos will be able to be victorious.

And they weren’t...predictably, they came up short, but dadgummit, they sure did fight hard!

The final score does not reflect for one second just how unprepared our team looked like in front of their home crowd to play a mediocre division opponent. It was a frankly pathetic effort at every level of our coaching staff and most of our players looked woeful in their level of fire in the game.

Defense

Where is our defensive mastermind? I thought we were getting a new take on Wade Phillips with the NFL’s best defensive coordinator turned head coach in Vic Fangio?

The Raiders with no head coach made your defense look completely inept, Fangio. We gave up multiple big plays for the 3rd game in a row that went for touchdowns. The only time your defense started looking halfway decent was when the opponents started playing to eat time instead of putting up points and even then you gave up more scores and drives.

There is truth to the fact that our team is plagued by injuries. Being down so many ILBs is really rough. But that excuse doesn’t matter. This defense looked pretty similar in the past two games with similar results.

At this point, what is keeping Vic Fangio’s job secure in Dove Valley? I can’t think of one legitimate reason that it should be.

Defensive takeaways

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
  • For a guy who is supposed to be one of the NFL’s best safeties, Justin Simmons is giving up an awful lot of big plays when he’s the free safety that should be all over it. He’s looked like garbage and should feel extremely lucky that his pay isn’t based on performance because it honestly looks like he is mailing it in at this point.
NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  • Where in the hell is Von Miller? This is the 2nd week in a row where he’s done nothing in the game to impact anything. He’s the highest-paid player on the team and he’s among the 5 least impactful starters in the past two games.
  • Where are our interior line and their impact in games? I see them getting very little push and very little impact in both the run and the pass. Carr was just as comfy as a fresh-baked muffin back in his pocket for most of this game.

Offense

So the game starts and we actually take an opening drive the distance and get a TD on the board. I’m stoked. The offense is back, BABY!

But then, we got nothing on top of nothing for practically two quarters. The offensive line was getting destroyed constantly, Bridgewater is starting to see ghosts and hand out picks like they are Halloween candy, and our offensive coordinator quadruples down on his 11 personnel scheme with a focus on his middling passing attack thinking that this is going to be the week it finally clicks!

News flash, Pat Shurmur: it didn’t click. It doesn’t click. You suck at scheming / play calling offense.

Sure, I’m just some dude behind a keyboard and all, but let me just say that if your team ends up throwing for damn near 50 plays and running only 23, you have absolutely lost any semblance of what this team should be doing on offense.

Our first 5 runs of the game went like this:

10 yards

1 yard

9 yards

3 yards

11 yards

Do you notice anything here...like the fact that every other run is going for 9 yards or more?

Our running backs averaged 4.9ypc. Believe it or not, that’s well above average for the NFL.

But no, instead of running the ball, let’s showcase our 11 personnel asking the #5 WR on the depth chart to play significant snaps instead of using more 12 and Eric Saubert who honestly looks every bit as good as Noah Fant in the passing game and looks like a better blocker in the run game.

Offensive takeaways

NFL: OCT 17 Raiders at Broncos Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • We are seeing Teddy Bridgewater regress to the mean against tougher competition. He still did a decent job in a bad situation, but some of his throws were just horrendous. He’s a quarterback that needs the team around him to play well. They aren’t and he’s for sure trending down because of it.
NFL: Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • Last season I gave a ton of praise to the offensive line. It seemed like they were starting to gel and had solid starters all over outside of our rookie C and weak RT. I’m starting to wonder how much of that was just the weirdness of the season being impacted by Covid-19. There wasn’t a position along the line that didn’t suck eggs this week. I can almost hear Alex Gibbs rolling around in his grave and cursing up a storm at how bad this line looked.
NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • For a guy who got the most targets and yards, Noah Fant sure does look like a hot mess. His effort at times lacks, he gets penalties far too often, and his run blocking leaves much to be desired.
NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tim Patrick showed up to play some ball once again for the Broncos. In the first drive, he made a great catch on the sideline with his toes barely inbounds and then got the TD pass on a great route that provided him enough space to get the angle and house it.
Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
  • Courtland Sutton is going to look at the tape from this game and be disappointed in his play (and if he’s not, he should be). He dropped a long ball that in the past he catches, and didn’t have enough juice to reel in another one early in the game. On a jump ball in the 3rd quarter, Sutton just lets the ball hit him in the chest and drop. For a guy that made his name winning jump balls, Sutton sure does look like a shell of his former self (garbage time TDs be damned).

Special Teams

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

Count me as amazed that our team recovered an onside kick. It was a superb play by both Brandon McManus and Eric Saubert.

Moving forward in the season, teams are going to do just like the Raiders did and make us return every kickoff...we have consistently shown that our kickoff coverage absolutely sucks and will always be stuck inside the 25-yard line.

Final Thoughts

The first three games of this season were super fun. We beat some bad teams and it was nice to win. I’m looking ahead at the schedule though, and am having a hard time seeing more than three possible wins ahead of us. This team is not coached well. The players look like they are just showing up to cash their paychecks for the most part.

I’ve heard all of the excuses for years now. How about instead of praying for some lucky overturn by the refs, you just prepare your team to win and have them enforce their will on the opponent on both sides of the ball. Maybe instead of trotting out the same 20 plays week in and week out, you ask your OC to maybe innovate just a little and bring out some new wrinkles. He could perhaps try running the ball more or maybe try a different personnel group.

Buckle on up, Broncos Country. I truly thought that last season was the winter of our discontent, but it is starting to look like perhaps I was a year early.