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Is the Fangio/Shurmur experiment finally over?

Vic Fangio said he has no plans of making coaching changes but last night’s embarrassment may force the pair out sooner rather than later.

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal PHIL MASTURZO / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wow. What an a$$-whooping ... especially for losing by just three points.

That was easily the worst Broncos football I have watched in a long time.

According to stats or points, I’m sure there were definitely worse games in the last decade - and certainly worse ones in franchise history.

But it has been a minute since both the offense and defense looked so incompetent that just a 10-point deficit seemed insurmountable.

In fact, my working headline for this post was, “Fire everyone,” because it was the second game in a row the Broncos lost to a team facing greater adversity yet they could not take advantage of it.

But after rage-tweeting the whole game, I’m not even mad anymore. And that makes me sad.

To be at Week 7 and feel total despair for the team’s outlook - and feel sorry for players who have wasted their talent under a coaching regime incapable of adapting - is depressing.

When you can count the number of Broncos’ highlight plays on one hand - Javonte Williams’ touchdown run; Melvin Gordon’s touchdown stretch; Shelby Harris’ sack followed soon after by his blocked field goal attempt; Pat Surtain’s coverage; clutch catches by Courtland Sutton - it’s not a championship-caliber team.

We can no longer pretend the Broncos have an elite defense and an efficient offense. They have neither.

There was a glimmer of hope after Shelby Harris kept the Browns from reaching 13 points in the first half with his blocked field goal, and then the Broncos offense came out on fire in the second, putting together a solid touchdown drive to close the point gap to three.

But that hope disintegrated as Case F-ing Keenum destroyed the Von Miller-less defense in a second touchdown drive that seemed so easy it was a miracle it wasn’t replicated four or five more times.

The Broncos even still had an outside chance after forcing a couple punts from the Browns and scoring a second touchdown with six minutes to go, down just 17-14.

But Browns’ third-string running back D’Ernest Johnson would slice and dice the Broncos run defense with impunity, chewing up clock and getting first down after first down until time just ran out.

Steve Atwater said earlier in the week he wanted to see the Broncos’ D do some bullying instead of getting pushed around.

No one listened.

That defense got straight bullied for 147 yards from Johnson alone.

It was embarrassing.

So about firing everyone...

The problem with showing Vic Fangio the door right now is that it doesn’t necessarily help the Broncos play/do any betterlv. For one thing, who takes his place - Pat Shurmur? Tom McMahon? Mike Shula?

Good grief, let’s hope not.

Mike Munchak? Maybe. But he’s got his hands full with an underperforming offensive line and moving him to head coach now may hurt the o-line as much as his chances at proving himself in a bigger capacity.

And even if you go further down in the ranks, you’re replacing an ineffective head coach with a relative novice - and doing so with 10 games on the schedule. That’s just inviting more frustration and chaos.

No thank you.

I don’t see how this coaching regime lasts another season, but I bet the purge occurs after Week 18 (which can’t come soon enough at this point).

I have really liked Fangio and really wanted to see him grow into the head coaching role so he could quiet his critics. Although he has to some extent, Fangio’s stubbornness where Shurmur and McMahon are concerned will be his ultimate downfall.

Offensive play calling is atrocious, special teams play is barely competent, and defensive performance is lackluster to say the least.

Coaching changes are imminent for the Broncos, and if Fangio isn’t going to replace the weak links in his staff now, then he’ll certainly go down with the sinking ship later.

HORSE TRACKS

Broncos pass rusher Von Miller leaves Thursday night's game with sprained ankle
Denver Broncos star pass rusher Von Miller limped to the sideline in the second quarter on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns with an ankle injury and was ruled out in the second half.

Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns 2021 REG 7 - Game Center
The official source for NFL news, video highlights, fantasy football, game-day coverage, schedules, stats, scores and more.

2021 NFL season, Week 7: What we learned from Browns' win over Broncos on Thursday night
Browns backups Case Keenum and D'Ernest Johnson came up big to lead Cleveland past Denver, 17-14.

'Calm and poised' Case Keenum gets Browns back on winning track
It was vintage Case Keenum, as the consummate journeyman filled in and stepped up to help the Browns to a 17-14 win over the Broncos on Thursday night in Cleveland, snapping a two-game Browns skid in the process.

Broncos' crumbling defense is a downfall Vic Fangio couldn't have seen coming – The Athletic
Being the No. 1 defense in the league, that’s a goal we have,” safety Justin Simmons said after the Broncos began the season 3-0 with wins over the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. “We’re not hiding that by any stretch of the imagination.”

Broncos falter on both sides of the ball, suffer 17-14 prime-time loss to Browns
In a city where the Broncos earned one of their biggest wins, they suffered a difficult loss.

Broncos Postgame Show: Teddy Bridgewater and offense start slow, Von Miller leaves with injury as Denver loses fourth straight
After falling behind early, the Broncos nearly pulled off a comeback in Cleveland. Instead, it became a fourth consecutive loss and a lot of questions left to be answered about a team that started 3-0.

Raiders coaching candidates: Could Jon Gruden be replaced by Eric Bieniemy, Joe Brady or Lincoln Riley? – The Athletic
Gus Bradley, Jerod Mayo and Byron Leftwich are also among the candidates the Raiders should consider to replace Gruden.

Broncos need to transcend mediocrity to beat Browns
Although written before the game, some interesting points brought up about this game that the Broncos decided to lose.Y

Instead of reading game stories to catch our three highlight plays in three hours, watch this video. It’s entertaining at least.