The same old Denver Broncos offense showed up again for the eleventh straight game as they fall to 3-8 after a 23-10 drubbing by the Carolina Panthers. If this game isn’t the final nail in the coffin of the Nathaniel Hackett era, then perhaps this franchise has embraced the culture of losing fully. Change is needed and it cannot wait until January.
Both teams seemed to be content trading three-and-outs to start the game, but the Panthers decided to run a fake punt on their third drive. The conversion catapulted the offense down the field where Sam Darnold capped it with a touchdown pass to DJ Moore who beat Patrick Surtain in the back of the end zone to put Carolina on the board first.
Denver’s offense logged their first first down of the game on the final play of the first quarter.
Panthers 7, Broncos 0. Full first quarter recap.
A turnover helped the Broncos anemic offense in the second quarter. This Panthers muffed punt set Denver up with excellent field position.
Their drive would stall inside the 10-yard line and they’d kick the field goal. Meanwhile, the Panthers offense had averaged 8 yards per play since the fake punt conversion and quickly matched that field goal by the Broncos with one of their own.
Denver almost got things going late in the second quart5er after this 52-yard gain by Latavius Murray, but Russell Wilson would have his hand hit as he threw. It was ruled a fumble and the Panthers recovered.
The Broncos would get another chance to score late in the half, but McManus would hook a 56-yard field goal attempt wide.
Panthers 10, Broncos 3. Full second quarter recap.
You didn’t have to watch this game to know there wouldn’t be much Broncos offense in the third quarter and there wasn’t, but the big question is how much the front office has embraced the losing attitude.
Meanwhile, the Panthers added another touchdown in this quarter and put up a score that Denver would seem to never have a chance at overcoming.
Panthers 17, Broncos 3. Full third quarter recap.
Pat Surtain continued his tough day covering DJ Moore early in the fourth quarter giving up a 52-yard deep ball to set the Panthers up in the red zone. That would lead to a field goal and a massive blowout for the Broncos.
Panthers 20, Broncos 3.
On the ensuing kickoff, rookie wide receiver Jalen Virgil would fumble where the Panthers would recover. Soon after, defensive lineman Mike Purcell was seen laying into Russell Wilson on the sideline. We’ll all be wondering what was said, but unlikely we’ll ever find out.
In any case, the Panthers added another field goal to increase their lead to 20.
Panthers 23, Broncos 3.
As the clock wound under six minutes, Wilson and the Broncos offense finally began moving the ball. A few intermediate receptions put the Broncos down just outside the red zone.
It looked like it would have been twenty drives between touchdowns, with Denver finally getting one late in the fourth quarter on a Wilson pass to Greg Dulcich to potentially cut the Panthers lead. It would have been Wilson 300th TD of his career, tying him with Broncos’ legend John Elway on the all-time touchdown list. Instead, offsetting penalties moved them back.
Russ TD to Sutton called back.— The Orange Remembers (@OrangeRemembers) November 27, 2022
Russ TD to Dulcich called back.
They would almost score touchdowns three times on that drive, but came up empty. On fourth and goal, they would get a delay of game to push them even further back. Predictably, they would fail to convert, but a roughing the passer penalty gave Denver an automatic first and goal from the nine to start things all over again.
That would breathe new life in what looked like a failed drive. Wilson would get his 300th career touchdown pass and rookie Brandon Johnson would get his first career touchdown pass.
Panthers 23, Broncos 10.
After an onside kick recovery by P.J. Locke, the Broncos offense was back in business with just over three minutes to go in the game. The Broncos would throw four straight incompletions with Wilson under insane pressure almost as he fielded the snap.
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