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Broncos at Chargers: The No Bull Review

The Broncos were obliterated by the L.A. Chargers. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on the clown fiesta coaching that led to these results.

Chargers Broncos at SoFi Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

We still had a shot at the playoffs, right? The Denver Broncos led by Vic Fangio trotted out some good old coach-speak about trying to win one game and agreeing that it was important.

But I would dare to ask Broncos Country this: Just how important did it look like Vic Fangio took this game?

Our offense once again trotted out inept play concepts including a slew of inside runs going nowhere and inept red zone calls that killed two perfectly good drives that should have gotten us 14 points.

Our defense (impacted more heavily from key starters missing due to Covid-19 than our offense to be fair) finally had the dam break on them and gave up 27 offensive points.

Our special teams once again embarrassed the team on the field of play giving up a kickoff return for a TD and muffing a punt to give the Chargers a very short field.

And what did Vic have to say about the declining performance of this team down the stretch, you may ask?

“It is very disappointing. We had three difficult losses prior to this one, all tight games against good teams. It is disappointing.”

I’m sorry, Vic. This is the No Bull Review and we don’t let junk like this ride. Let’s do a quick review of the three losses you are referring to:

Week 16: Broncos 13, Raiders 17

Okay…that’s a decent team playing good football. Technically the game was tight. But let me remind you that our offense in the 2nd half had 3 drives that averaged 21 yards each and the best result they got was a punt (the missed field goal actually sucked worse than punting in hindsight). No one on the Raiders bench was scared that we were going to win that game for even a minute in the 4th quarter.

Week 15: Bengals 15, Broncos 10

This was the one game that I’m with you on. You held a really good team to 15 points. The offense sputtered having to put in a backup and just couldn’t seal the deal in the 4th quarter. Ok…it was a tight game to a good team. Win one for the defensive mastermind acting like a head coach.

Week 13: Broncos 9, Chiefs 22

Yes, that’s a good team. But are you kidding me that it was a tight loss? You are out of your mind, Fangio. The Chiefs put up 10 points and the game was over. Remember the big long drive that chewed up half the game and netted us 0 points? Remember the garbage-time TD that was as meaningless as the platitudes you shower on your cherished coordinators who SUCK AT COORDINATING ACTUAL NFL FOOTBALL!? You got your ass kicked and looked out-coached at every step of the way just like this week’s game.

Take your coach-speak intended to move the goalposts and go pound sand with them in a deep, dark hole.

Defense

There is nothing good to be said of the defense this week. You can give them excuses for not having pass rushers or effective linebackers, but I’m a pass on that. Vic Fangio does wonders with backups and has hung his hat on that…isn’t that why we gave him a pass on last season?

Positives to note:

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Patrick Surtain II opened the game up with a 3rd down pass defense that was textbook perfect to end a drive and force a punt. In the 2nd half, Surtain again gives a clinic against Keenan Allen in the end zone batting away a nice fade pass. His technique, coverage ability, and play on the field are already that of a top-10 NFL cornerback. He’s a supremely gifted rookie who has a very bright future in the league.

Offense

It is so plainly obvious at this point that the offensive coordinator is out of his depth. Even now with a quarterback who has the arm strength and the willingness to throw his constantly challenged vertical passing concepts, the offense still looked completely predictable, and even when they tried to do a trick play that no one saw coming, it was poorly executed, blocked, and failed to deliver.

My wife actually had to tell me to stop telling Shurmur to not call the play he called for the offense the majority of the time because it was becoming so irritating that both of us knew what play calls were coming before the snap (plus the fact that she reminded me that Shurmur can’t actually hear me…which is a fair point). If both my wife and I know what his happening > 90% of the time, I think that’s a sign that you suck at actual NFL play calling in the modern era.

Positives to note:

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Fant was the one shining light on the offense. He made good things happen with the ball in space, put in a great effort, and was the workhorse for the Broncos’ offense.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Lock did show us some glimpses of what NFL passes vertically down the field look like. It was a sight to behold seeing the ball travel more than 8 yards through the air. For the sake of the Drew Lock Fanclub in Broncos Country, I’ll leave it at that. ;)

Special Teams

I’m getting really tired of pointing out how sucky of a Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon is. Our special teams unit is the worst coached unit in the NFL. He should have been fired two seasons ago and I’m still clueless as to why he’s stepping foot on a Broncos sideline, let alone collecting a paycheck for the product he puts on the field of play each week.

Final Thoughts

We’re officially there, Broncos Country. This team is done. There is no glimmer of hope other than that maybe there will be changes as the season ends. As much as I loved Vic Fangio’s defense, I think he (much like Wade Phillips) sucks as a head coach.

This team from top to bottom shows no accountability for the product they put on the field and while we can talk about the ownership, front office, and player blunders ad nauseum with this team, the buck stops with the head coach at the end of the day when we’re talking about what the sum product of an NFL season was for the team.

I’m honestly fed up with shitty coaches getting passes for their units doing a terrible job. If you would have asked me a few weeks ago about what needs to happen, I would have told you to fire Shurmur and McMahon and keep Fangio because that would be best.

But today, I don’t see it that way. There have just been too many times in the past two years that Fangio has defended the unforgivable ineptness of his Coordinators (offensive and special teams). They are not held accountable and that is on him.

As a matter of fact, if the story of the Broncos 2021 season was that a great defense was held back by a terrible offense and special teams units, that lands squarely on the shoulders of the head coach (and let’s be honest…he played that card last year).