It’s two-day-old news now that in a crushing 34-13 loss, the Broncos have officially been eliminated from the postseason for a sixth straight year.
Final. pic.twitter.com/nhwT30dgfu— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 2, 2022
It’s hard to call today’s loss a devastation, considering it was predictable enough. As a fan I have belief in my team, but I also know how it’s been this season, and it’s been a regressing gameplay since Week 4. The special teams have been consistently rough. The offense has been inconsistent. The defense has been better than both the offense and the special teams, but they can’t carry the other two phases.
One word to consistently sum up the feelings of the team and fans: disappointment. Fangio was careful to point out positives that stood out from player performances today, including ILB Micah Kiser and DL DeShawn Williams. Asked about QB Drew Lock’s performance, Fangio noted that he had some good throws and reads, but admitted their offense struggled as a whole.
“We cannot seem to find a rhythm and a consistency in our offense to keep our drives sustained, or make first downs to eventually get us touchdowns,” Fangio said.
The problem could lie in the quarterbacks, considering both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock have struggled to make much happen this year. While Bridgewater is statistically better than Lock was in either of his seasons as Denver’s starter, neither have been showcasing championship characteristics.
It could be on the offensive players as a whole, although I’d argue we have some real talent on that side of the ball and that talent is being wasted week after week. And it’s no secret why they can’t seem to find a rhythm. It would be much easier for the offense to find a rhythm if OC Pat Shurmur was calling plays that made sense. You can have the best team ever, but if his calls aren’t connecting with the game’s flow, the players are going to have a hard time getting the job done.
Fangio isn’t innocent here either. This is his third year as head coach and he’s failed to produce playoff-worthy results in this team, despite a talented roster. It doesn’t make it any better when their press conferences are the same songs every week, the same points that need to get better, same ways they sugarcoat poor performances. And let’s not even get into ST coordinator Tom McMahon’s side of the ball.
Again, not a new opinion. We have a good team and the coaching staff is doing a poor job of utilizing them. But my rant is over.
In the same presser immediately following Sunday’s game, Fangio noted that they’re not hanging up their season’s shoes yet.
“We still have another game to play and we are going to get ready,” he said, “Hopefully, another normal week of practice and put our best foot forward next week to compete and try to win that game.”
Speaking on the decline of the team’s performance as a whole, the head coach said, “It is very disappointing. We had three difficult losses prior to this one, all tight games against good teams. It is disappointing.”
Fangio isn’t alone in openly expressing this disappointment. Drew Lock gave props to his teammates but shared that getting into the playoffs was their goal this year, and they didn’t reach that goal.
“In the NFL, all that matters is the playoffs. Yeah, it’s disappointing. You can do really good things throughout the year, sure, but your main goal is to make it to the playoffs, so, technically, we didn’t do what we wanted to do this year.”
In a Zoom press conference, RB Melvin Gordon III had a lot to say about missing the playoffs, per Mike Klis’ article.
“It’s tough. I’m not going to lie to you. A couple of my years with the Chargers we had some really talented teams...I mean, I was really frustrated, I’m not going to lie.”
The running back was particularly angry after their most recent game versus the Raiders.
“After the Raiders game I was so mad, just because I was thinking about from the D-line, from the secondary, from our receivers, tight ends, the linemen we have, young but yet a lot of moxie.”
Gordon went on to describe their well-built team, and even went so far as to call it a Super Bowl team.
“It’s frustrating.vIt’s frustrating as a player. I know it’s frustrating as coaches, as an organization. It’s frustrating,” Gordon said. “We’re such a good football team. So talented across the board it is ridiculous. For us to be sitting here and not having a chance for the playoffs, all that work you put into the offseason, it’s tough to say the least.”