KUSA—Let’s review the disturbing trend that has developed among the men in orange and orange and orange and.
Orange you glad I didn't keep writing orange?
Back to the disturbing trend. The Denver Broncos were down 20-3 midway through the third quarter against Atlanta on Sunday before losing, 23-16. The Broncos were down 21-3 with 12 minutes left in the game against San Diego before losing, 21-13.
I just went back and watched the game between the Broncos and Chargers on TV.
Some next-day observations:
*Even if his defense played poorly in the first 1 ½ quarters and the offense was inert for three quarters, Joe DeCamillis made several in-game decisions that gave the Broncos a chance to pull out a miracle.
The challenge he won on the bouncing Riley Dixon punt touching Chargers returner Travis Benjamin. Ordering a pooch punt on the free kick following the safety was potentially the play of the game. Chargers coach Mike McCoy was so busy celebrating his team’s safety for a 21-3 lead, he didn’t put his “hands team” out there for Dixon’s Australian-style punt on the free kick. It wasn’t Kenny Wiggins’ fault he couldn’t catch the punt. He’s a 6-foot-6, 314-pound guard. He’s not supposed to be in position to catch a punt.
DeCamillis got the better of McCoy on that one. And McCoy otherwise coached a heckuva game himself.
DeCamillis also smartly used his timeouts. Like kicking the field goal with 27 seconds left, then drawing up the successful onside kick.
Joe De showed us all week he’s head coaching material. He would need to curb some of his sideline emotion – especially the frustration – but he otherwise has what it takes.
*I watched Broncos left tackle Russell Okung closely late and there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him, physically or mentally, during the fourth quarter, or as he kibitzed on the field after the game.
Okung simply got beat on his two holding penalties that cost the Broncos a minimum of 8 points, and possibly 10.
Concussions can be delayed reactions, especially if there’s overheating involved. It was warm on the field last night.
*To me, the primary culprit for the Broncos loss was the poor play of their defense through their first two possessions. The defense gave up 75-yard drives each time.
Not only did the defense put the offense in a 10-0 hole, the Chargers’ drives lasted 7 minutes and 10 minutes.
Sandwiched between, the Broncos’ offense got a first down on its first series, and it could have had more had quarterback Trevor Siemian got a split second more protection so he would not have overthrown Emmanuel Sanders on a sideline-and-go.
But the offense should get a series to settle in without falling behind 10-0 and not getting its second possession until 5 minutes gone in the second quarter.
The poor start set the tone for the entire game. The Chargers were inspired upon realizing they could beat the defending Super Bowl champs, and the Broncos’ offense was lulled by inactivity.
You could feel it in the stadium – after that opening drive, the Broncos were in trouble and the Chargers were on the attack.
*I exempt Von Miller from defensive blame. An outside linebacker by trade, he played a ton of three-point stance defensive end against the Chargers and was a terrific run stopper.
In fact, I don’t need to wait for the Pro Football Focus report to give Miller an A+ for his run defense.
*On two passes did I see Siemian clearly clutching his injured left shoulder. The first was when he escaped a sack early in the third quarter by pivoting left and throwing against his body on a pass that was short of intended target Virgil Green in the flat.
The second was on the game-ending Hail Mary. Siemian clearly, and innately, tucked in his left shoulder as he wound up to throw.
He was still capable of reaching the end zone but he didn’t step into it properly and he admittedly threw it too early. But without leading his left shoulder into his throw he couldn’t overcome his mechanically issues.
*On the Chargers’ opening drive, they had two penalties and a drop on the first play, and still stuck it down the Denver D’s throats.
*The matchup problem for the Broncos was Falcons running back Tevin Coleman on Sunday. It was Chargers’ tight end Hunter Henry in this game. Henry had four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown on San Diego’s first two scoring drives.
He had just two catches for 19 yards the rest of the game.
*All in all, it was too much orange. I think it was the orange socks along with the all-orange jerseys and pants that made it too much.
I did like the blue helmets along with all that orange, though.
*I’m a modern-era reporter. So long as we all agree the modern era begins with Vince Lombardi’s Packers in the 1960s.
As such, I struggle with seeing all those smiles from losing players when both teams gather on the field immediately after the game.
There was enough happy chatter in the Broncos’ losing locker room the past two games for me to notice.
I know those from the modern, modern era – a period that starts in the late-1980s, early 1990s – would ask how does being mad after a loss help you win the next game?
We now live in the trophy generation where today’s players grew up getting rewarded for participation.
And by gosh, they are the better for it. I do realize I’m the problem and not them.
Still, it’s difficult for us modern-era folks to adjust.
*I like how Jordan Norwood brings out kickoffs where Cody Latimer will take the knee. The only problem with Norwood as a kickoff returner is I also like him as a slot receiver.
Norwood reminds me a little of Brandon Stokley in that they’re both slot receivers who are sons of college coaches and therefore are more heads up than others.
*Aqib Talib’s first punt return since his rookie season of 2008 with Tampa Bay was bit of a botched circus show.
But I like the idea and I wouldn’t give up on him.
*Riley Dixon, the Broncos’ rookie punter, reminds me of Brett Kern when he was the Broncos’ rookie punter in 2008.
Both have big legs. But both are inconsistent. Dixon had two, low, down-the-middle punts – the kind that are the most returnable.
But former Broncos’ special teams’ coordinator Scott O’Brien – one of the best ever before he retired two years ago – told me you have to be patient with young punters.
Josh McDaniels wasn’t when he waived Kern after six games in Kern’s second season of 2009. Kern is still punting for Tennessee.
I predict Dixon will be a very good NFL punter in his third season. The Broncos took a leap of faith in him by keeping him and letting veteran Britton Colquitt go. Now the Broncos have to remain convicted.
*One reason why Chargers running back Melvin Gordon broke off a 48-yard run early in the third quarter was the Broncos were essentially in a 10-man box and once he cleared the line of scrimmage, there was nobody back to meet him at the second level.
Another reason was defensive end Jared Crick got blown out of the hole and safety Darian Stewart, who was supposed to fill the gap, got caught up in a block by Chargers’ receiver Dontrelle Inman.
Crick and Stewart otherwise played well, but one bad play can mean one long gain.
*I was never a big fan of the TV series, “Friends.’’ So imagine my thought when a Matt LeBlanc commercial interrupted the middle of a Chargers’ series with about 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
*In a third quarter sequence, Broncos rookie running back Devontae Booker had a 17-yard run, a catch, and a 16-yard run.
And he never got another carry. Granted, C.J. Anderson finished well and he potentially would have been a hero had his 20-yard touchdown catch-tackle break-and-run not been called back by an Okung holding penalty.
Still, when a back like Booker is that hot, get him the ball.
*The Broncos’ offensive line will be better in the next game against the Houston Texans. Gary Kubiak will be back coaching the Broncos against his former Texans.
The Broncos will beat Brock Osweiler and the Texans, and then will handle the Chargers in the rematch, Oct. 30, at soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
So as troubling as the Broncos’ issues seem now, they will be 6-2 heading into their AFC West showdown Nov. 6 at Oakland.
Providing, of course, the Broncos’ quarterback stays healthy and there are no more postgame ambulance rides.