The Denver Broncos have dropped to 7-7 on the season after imploding in their 42-17 road loss to the Detroit Lions. The team was outcoached and outmatched in virtually every facet of the game. It was humiliating, embarrassing, and proof that Denver is further away from being true competitors than one would like to admit.
Broncos Country will have to hope the Broncos can take care of business and win their last three games of the year to have a shot at the playoffs. They can’t afford to lose another one or they aren’t going to make the postseason. With that in mind, here are some instant reactions from tonight’s devastating loss.
Imagine that! Another disastrous performance by the offense.
In the first half, the Broncos had only 75 total yards, gave up two sacks, and Russell Wilson fumbled the ball away early on in the game. Outside of their first drive of the second half, there isn’t much positive to say about the offense at all. But hey, at least the finally got points on a drive to start the third quarter for the first time all season!
Denver’s inconsistency on offense has been their bane throughout the entire season. They couldn’t run the ball at all tonight and there weren’t many explosive plays down the field. The team is in desperate need of playmakers to help create a spark on that side of the ball. And quite honestly, I don’t think Wilson is ever going to be the answer for them at quarterback. Mr. Unlimited has his limitations, and they are a significant inhibitor to Denver’s ability to be a true contender.
On top of all that, the referees did a good job of taking a touchdown off the board for the Broncos. What kind of call was this? I guess it didn’t help matters that Sean Payton refused to challenge either of the plays earlier. I don’t think Javonte Williams was in, but thought Jaleel McLaughlin clearly was on the player earlier. Could it have changed the game? Probably not, but the video below shows how laughable the “offensive offsides” call was.
This was Denver’s worst defensive performance since the Miami Dolphins game.
At some point or another, the Broncos defense continuously bailing out the offense just wasn’t going to be in the cards. That was evident tonight with Denver giving up 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to the Lions. This was easily the worst the Broncos defense has looked since Miami dropped 70 on them earlier in the year.
Goff was 19/26 for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half. He had no problem carving up the Broncos defense. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, Josh Reynolds, and Jameson Williams all had big plays. He finished the game going 24/34 for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns.
I had pegged LaPorta as Detroit’s offensive X-Factor in my Scouting the Enemy article earlier in the week and he certainly didn’t disappoint with three touchdown catches this evening. Year in and year out, the Broncos seemingly can’t find out a way to cover opposing team’s tight ends.
The Broncos clearly missed Nik Bonitto tonight. They weren’t able to generate consistent pressure on Jared Goff and the Lions offensive line without him present on the edge. Detroit’s offensive line manhandled the Broncos defensive line in the trenches. On the ground, David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs feasted and racked up over 160 yards and averaged 6 yards per carry.
If one thing was evident tonight—the Broncos are going to need to draft early and often to revamp their defensive front seven. That whole unit has been average at best and without forcing turnovers, it’s quite clear that they aren’t nearly as good as some thought they were.
Playoffs? The Broncos will have to win out to have a shot.
Tonight’s loss to the Lions didn’t vanquish Denver’s postseason chances, but it certainly didn’t help matters. Three teams are ahead of them with 8-6 records. The Broncos will have to win their final three games against the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders in order to have a shot. Denver had a slight shot at winning the AFC West, but dropping this game pretty much eliminates that opportunity. It’s highly unlikely the Chiefs drop all their remaining games to make that a reality.