To say the 2022 Denver Broncos season is lost would be an understatement.
To say it would be a disappointment? Closer. An embarrassment? Even closer. But to the men in uniform every Sunday... that doesn’t matter much. They’re paid to do a job still, and despite all the unfortunate circumstances that have buried the team this year, it can never be said that this team has quit.
There have been so many losses by a handful of points. There have been so many games where if just one play or one series had gone differently, the game itself would’ve been completely different.
Despite failing to live up to expectations, despite having to overcome an amount of injuries that would rival an amateur roller derby startup, this team has played to win the game week in and week out.
Sunday, in what might have been viewed as an ugly game for fans (it was) was at least a bit of relief for the players doing the job.
Safety Justin Simmons pulled in two interceptions to help the cause and expressed pride in his teammates after the win over the Arizona Cardinals.
“I am really proud of guys in locker room,” Simmons said after the 24-15 win. “You can fold. But guys are fighting.”
8 of the 10 losses for the Broncos this year have been by 7 points or fewer. It would be completely understandable if tempers and attitudes started to boil over with nothing left to play for but the fact the team puffed out their chests and pushed forward is worthy of recognition.
Prior to this afternoon, the Broncos had lost five straight games. There wasn’t a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. And no one should blame anyone on the roster if they decided to stop looking for one.
But behind backup QB Brett Rypien’s admirable showing, completing 21-26 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, the team was able to eke out a win, a rare positive in an otherwise disappointing season.
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett, perhaps sensing his time as head coach coming to a conclusion, made sure to tip his hat to his guys/
“This team has had a lot of adversity this year,” he said. “Both through the injuries, through the close games and it has been great to see them all stick together, fight for each other and continually battle.”
Unfortunately, this win over a team who was just as plagued by injuries as the Broncos, does very little to salvage any part of this season. It’s still a disappointment. It’s still going to leave question marks for next season.
However, it’s the first win in five weeks. Maybe let’s just give them this one.