Tag Archives: Broncos Country

How Unique is Denver Broncos’ 2022 Season?

So many have wasted many hours trying to make sense of the Denver Broncos’ 2022 season using “historical data”. The problem is, there is no data that matches this squad.

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I had a convo on Sunday before the Denver Broncos game against the Chiefs. And I was thrown the argument that the aggregate record of the three best defenses that had a bottom-3 offense in history existed in a number that the sample size mattered.

They also stated that their records were going to be astronomically better than the 2022 Denver Broncos because the Broncos have the worst offense ever. How the Broncos can have the worst offense ever when they don’t have the worst offense of 2022 is an idiotic take on it’s own but I degrees.

Below are the worst offenses by total yards per ESPN.com:

Let’s see if his argument that those teams were far and away more successful without a doubt and no research was needed to prove him right is true. I said it was ridiculous to make such a claim without research and his “historical data” (which he was unable to cite or give specifics on just “if you look at the historical data”) was irrelevant. Let us see if he had a single leg to stand on: (All stats and records are per Pro-Football-Reference.com)

Top-3 Defense/Bottom-3 Offense Aggregate Team Record from 2010-2021:

2021: n/a

2020: n/a

2019: n/a

2018: n/a

2017: n/a

2016: n/a

2015: n/a

2014: n/a

2013: n/a

2012: n/a

2011: n/a

2010: n/a

I’m stopping here. My point is two-fold. Never make blanket statements with zero research. Secondly, people need to stop trying to use “historical data” to explain this 2022 Broncos squad. Due to the injuries, mass changes, etc. this team is a true outlier.

Historical data means nothing more than trying to create a context for current events. You must learn from the past, but past success means almost nothing when it comes to future success. Historical data is useful, but it means nothing when it comes to what should happen, it only tells you what could happen. If you believe otherwise you have already lost every argument you will ever be involved in.

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Causation and correlation are not always synonymous. Just because you shave down the edges of the square peg to shove it in a round hole doesn’t change the fact that you shoved a square peg in a round hole. You didn’t solve the problem, you cheated your way to a false positive.

There always comes a time in historical data that a first comes around. It’s a novel concept I know but stick with me. No offense this bad has had a defense this good and vice versa. This 2022 Broncos squad is a first in many ways, but one above all others. How does a team become this lopsided? Simple, injuries. I know that’s not very exciting and is more boring than “Team X scored 35 points in 3.5 seconds while the Broncos haven’t scored that many in 35 blood moons.”

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I’m obviously being facetious but the premise remains, historical data means what you could have, not what you are entitled to. People can keep banging their head against a wall of irrelevant stats to try and justify their narrative. But the simple fact remains that this team is way to injured to be effective.

How do you run a complicated offense and dive deep in a playbook when four-out-of-five lineman have no more than 3 starts this season? How do you run a complex blocking scheme that requires after snap identification of the man you are blocking while running full speed sideways that requires you knowing exactly what the guy next to you is going to do on every single snap and against every single defensive front you will face each week? Not to mention 7 different running backs have taken double digit carries in a game. So no excuse why they might not know who is going where right?

You can’t do any of that, periodt. There is absolutely no way you can expect guys that only have between a few weeks to as little as a few days on a team to know an entire playbook. If you do, you are a disengenous and insufferable human being.

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How any human, let alone so many that can’t throw a football with fully intact shoulder ligaments can say Russel Wilson’s shoulder injury doesn’t matter is befuddling to say the least. Let alone all the injuries around him to be “excuses”? Calling broken bones and torn ligaments “excuses” is one of the most asinine statements I have ever heard a human utter. The best any team in the table below can call themselves any better than mediocre. And they all have something in common.

Below is the “top”-5 most injured squads in the 2022 NFL season per Spotrac.com:

How can you see those numbers and the teams around the Denver Broncos and say that doesn’t matter? That it has to be deeper? I get pundits and experts have to find daily talking points and it seems most in this business are very bad at finding their own as they copy cat off each other. This is not an assumption, it’s a fact. I have had multiple professors teach me to literally rip off places like USA Today and The Athletic for talking points because it’s easier. They stated it didn’t matter if it was an original idea as long as it got “clicks” and “views” and you put the story in your own words. This is the problem with media today, it’s all about what’s sensational, not so much truthful or accurate.

The 2022 Denver Broncos have an easily discernible problem, it’s not the moronic claim that Russell Wilson is washed. It’s not even the more viable but overstated low hanging fruit of an inept Nathaniel Hackett offense. Three touchdowns by Russ and 4 total by Hackett and Co against the Kansas City Chiefs begs to differ on the latter though. Yes they lost the game, but if Russ finishes that game, I have every belief the Broncos leave Empower Field a Mile High.

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So you can be the ones that bloviate about this irrelevant number or that one from NFL seasons past to try and cope with your fee-fees about this team not doing what you want them to do. Or you can accept the fact this season is lost to injuries and has been since the first month. I told you all exactly 31 days before this was published this o-line would not allow the Broncos to be successful.

I don’t do hindsight, I tell you how things will happen beforehand. This is what we do at The Answer is 42, and why you Don’t Question the Blue!

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Denver Broncos Lose 6th Straight to Raiders

Holding a three-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game, the Denver Broncos’ defense falters. Broncos lost 22-16 in OT to hated rival Las Vegas Raiders.

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For the third year in a row, and most importantly for Broncos Country, the first time under Josh McDaniels. The Las Vegas Raiders have swept the Denver Broncos. There are three observations that actually make it worse:

  1. Raiders defense holds its first offense faced in 2022 to less than 20 points.
  2. The Broncos’ defense has allowed more than 19 points to one team, the Raiders, now twice.
  3. Derek Carr is the only QB to throw for 300+ yards against the 2022 Broncos’ defense.

I have said ad nauseam on Breakin’ Broncos Podcast that game one in Las Vegas was inexplicable. How this defense can’t seem to defend the Carr/Adams/Jacobs trio is truly mind boggling. This one has me even more appalled. At least in the first game, it was more about the offense being bad, which we have come to expect. This time, the offense was what we expected(bad) but the defense cratered when it mattered most. Unlike when they were able to clinch a victory against San Francisco and Jacksonville. They weren’t able to clinch the dub with a 16-13 lead and less than two minutes remaining.

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Just as infuriating as it has been writing this to this point, it actually can get worse. There is only two running backs in 2022 that have rushed for at least 100 yards against this Denver Broncos defense. They are Travis Etienne of the Jaguars, and Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, who has done it twice. Somehow the Raiders have become the kryptonite for this Broncos super defense. Some may claim it’s a defense tired and left out to dry by a bad offense. Below you will see the Broncos are actually middle of pack averaging 30:00 minutes time of possession per game. Look who sits 4 spots behind them.

Per teamrankings.com:

Denver is only two minutes behind the leader in TOP, the Washington Commanders. Contrary to popular belief, this defense is not “hung out to dry” more so than any other team in the league, and actually are better off than half of them. Where things differ is the Denver offense can’t seem to get past the 16 point mark. This really comes down to one thing, offensive line play. Only one QB has been hit more (sacks + knockdowns) than Russell Wilson (69), and that is Kirk Cousins (74). Cousins has an entire game on Russ to get that 5 hit “lead”.

You can see the top-3 most hit QB’s below per fantasypros.com:

These three QB’s lead offenses that scored a total of 35 points across 12 quarters of professional football in week 11. The only one with a winning record scored 3 of those points (Vikings). As I stated in the Breakin’ Broncos episode linked above, no QB can sustain the onslaught Russell Wilson is facing on a weekly basis. He is trusting his health to the likes of veteran journey-man/depth pieces Calvin Anderson and Cam Fleming at the tackles. That is there 2nd string left tackle and 3rd-string right tackle. And a 5th-round rookie 3rd-string center is the only player besides Russ that handles the ball on every snap. They have had 8 different o-line combinations in 10 games. The only player I can see sticking to this roster for 2023 is first-year starter Quinn Meinerz at right guard.

I will go deeper into whether major changes are needed right now in another article later this week. But gut reaction is no, this is not Indy and Jeff Saturday who walked into the best interim HC position possible. This initial “no” also has nothing to do with anything I said here. I stand by my optimism in that article. The Colts have a top-notch o-line, a superstar running back (Jonathan Taylor), budding star WR (Michael Pittman Jr.) and healthy veteran QB who has been to the Super Bowl (Matt Ryan) with a top-notch defense. The Denver Broncos have only 3 of those, QB, WR, and defense. It doesn’t matter how good the play call/design, QB, and WR are if the o-line can’t block. It doesn’t matter who you bring in as an interim coach, it could be Sean Payton or Mike Shanahan, it will not make a difference.

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How will an offense that struggles with communication get better by changing the lingo completely? You can’t install a new offense over half way through the season. These things are not the same and people need to stop trying to equate them. There is no magic wand to fix this Broncos offense. It will take time and patience to get through this season and offseason where the focus needs to be in the trenches. I say trenches, because as I stated earlier, this is not just on the offense. The defensive line deserves as much scrutiny after giving up 100+ rushing yards to Josh Jacobs for the second time this year and 4th time in the last 2 season.

D.J. Jones was a solid signing that lost effectiveness after a concussion against the 49ers in week 3 and some nagging injuries to his shoulder and knee. Dre’Mont Jones has been a revelation in his 3rd-year as a starter and is looking like a pro bowler through 10 games. Outside of that, there really isn’t much that stands out for what was supposed to be a strength of the defense. As good as this defense is, there are cracks that can be exploited. They are 14th in rushing yards against per game (115.3), 14th in sacks (26), and 25th in turnovers forced (10). I hate to jump on the one bright spot this season for the Denver Broncos, but this is a game the offense gave them a chance to win and Ejiro Evero’s squad failed spectacularly. Russell Wilson and Co. played a solid if unspectacular game. Outside of yet another Melvin Gordon fumble, his fifth of the season (one lost), the offense didn’t screw it up as they had outside of their three wins.

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Say what you will about the final play by the Broncos offense that saw them throw the ball and stop the clock for a Raiders squad that was out of timeouts and on the wrong side of the two minute warning. They handed the reigns to the best part of the roster with an 88% chance of winning at the Raiders 22-yard line against the 16th ranked scoring offense. This was Derek Carr not Pat Mahomes. There is no excuse to have Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams being lost in the wash in the two most critical moments of the game. those are literally the only two weapons McDaniels could deploy. And twice this vaunted defense failed.

Call me crazy, but give me another week of Klint Kubiak calling plays, a running back room minus Melvin Gordon, and an o-line with another week to gel as the only second time this season the same five men are expected to start for consecutive weeks against a bad Carolina Panthers squad. Speaking of Panthers and Broncos fans wanting a change. Look at the Panthers season, not the Colts. Once you do that, come back and let me know if you still think a change is necessary.

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Denver Broncos Lay Egg vs LV Raiders

The Denver Broncos had every reason to believe they would leave Empower Field with a win on Sunday. The Raiders had another idea.

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The Denver Broncos came into a virtual must-win game against a team in turmoil and simply didn’t show up at home. The Raiders were embroiled in the Jon Gruden controversy that lead to his resignation mid-week. Defensive End Carl Nassib (the only openly gay NFL player) had to take a personal day to process what his coach had said in private. They elevated their Special Teams coach Rich Bisaccia into the Interim Head Coaching role. The Raiders were down multiple defensive backs. Both Raiders starting defensive tackles were out. Yet they still were able to slap the Broncos around in their house. But as I warned in my preview of the game here, they should not have been taken lightly.

For the second week in a row, Teddy and the Broncos Offense lights up a prevent defense in garbage time. And for the 4th week in a row, the Teddy Stans were out in full throat making excuses for why he was failing. It’s the coaching staff, it’s the defense, it’s everything but Teddy. They will say he brought the Broncos back again, despite the fact they lost. They point to the 330+ yards and 3 touchdowns without mentioning the 4 turnovers. Or if they do mention them, there are a million excuses why they weren’t his fault.

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Some have claimed that Drew got all the same excuses, but not a single tweet, post, or any other medium has been produced. Yes, some have made the observation that caveats are needed for a young QB that was thrust in the middle of COVID, bad coaching, and so many other factors outside of his control. I have never seen anyone try to excuse away 4 turnovers that were all blatantly on the Lock in any forum. The defense being bad has nothing to do with Teddy under/overthrowing receivers or putting the ball on the deck.

Teddy Trolls on the other hand have literally said things like “Drew ain’t the guy, he had 55 net yards before the final drive against the Ravens.” And never mention that was over less than 2 quarters against one of the best teams in the league. Or they will try the trope of “one player can’t lose a TEAM sport” like that’s some type of trump card. Or “where was YOUR guy?! That’s right, he’s on the bench!”. Kurt Warner and Warren Moon were run out of the league before they could start initially, Peyton Manning was benched, John Elway was benched. Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson won an MVP and Super Bowl after 30.

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Now I’m not saying drew is Warner, Moon, Manning, or Elway. But he damn sure could be a Rich Gannon or Brad Johnson. Drew is still only 24 while dripping with raw talent, but somehow he has less potential than a physically limited journeyman that has a losing career record over 4 teams? This is where my consternation comes from. How do you say that with a straight face, let alone mean it with your entire soul?

Here is a side by side look of Drew Lock and those two QB’s courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com:

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Drew outpaces both in almost every category even with their best years included. This is why I believe the statement “The NFL kills more QB careers than they develop” is 100% correct. But here the Broncos are with a QB that has 6 turnovers in his last 5 quarters. The only thing that changed was the level of competition. A starting QB is supposed to raise all boats. This QB is doing nothing but sinking them for 3 weeks straight. As I stated on the Breakin’ Broncos podcast, the only reason teddy has some decent end-of-game stats is that he threw the ball 49 times. Derek Carr had more yards on half the attempts. Derek had a great game, Teddy was abysmal.

People will also claim the o-line is the problem. I will point out that he has the 5th longest average Time To Throw after the snap of all qualifying QB’s. That is not an o-line problem, that’s a QB problem. Teddy has been regressing since the end of the Jacksonville game. Which is a team that has given up career games to just about every QB they have faced over the last 2 years. This is also the only game where you can’t really nitpick Teddy’s performance. But the only QB’s to not get at least 300 yards against this year’s Jags D are Tyrod Taylor (291) and Ryan Tannehill (195). Tannehill didn’t need to, Derrick Henry had 130 yards rushing and 3 TDs. The Titans fell just short of 200 yards rushing.

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But that’s enough about QB’s let’s talk about that Broncos defense because the Teddy Stans are right about one thing. This defense has stunk the last two weeks. They allowed 2 of the 5 worst run offenses in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas to outpace their season averages by at least 40 yards. The highest-paid secondary in the league was also torched by Carr as mentioned for 341 yards on 18/27 throwing with 2 touchdowns. I will never understand how this defense regressed so much so quickly.

This was supposed to be the strength of this squad and now it’s becoming a liability. I believe a short week against the Browns who will have Case Keenum starting at QB instead of Baker Mayfield. Where neither team have the time to install an extensive game plan and will be running a basic scheme should help this unit to regroup and get back the confidence they seemed to have lost over the last 3 losses. It reminds me a lot of how the defense would lose confidence and essentially give up, allowing the opponent to run up and down the field as they seemed to believe the moment they fell behind the game was over. 2020 seems to be repeating itself, just with fans in the stands this time to boo the team as they head to the locker room.

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Up Next:

vs Cleveland Browns Thursday, October 21 @ 6:20 PM MST

Where to Watch:

National: NFLN/FOX

Local: KDVRD

Stream Locally: Denver Broncos App

Stream Nationally: Amazon Prime

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Denver Broncos Take on LV Raiders in Week 6

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Denver Broncos look to bounce back from their second consecutive loss. They get a reeling Raiders squad, that had their head coach resign mid-week, at home.

The Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders entered their respective week 4 matchups with undefeated records and a share of first place in the AFC West. Since then, both teams are 0-4 and share 2nd place in the division 2-games back of the L.A. Chargers. The Raiders had their season upended further this week as the Gruden e-mails were leaked by the league. Causing Jon Gruden to resign on Tuesday of this week. That was the truest real-life version of the fight scene from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. That escalated quickly.

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But the Broncos can’t count on a team with no will to show up at Empower Field. Much has been made about coaches “wanting out” and “calling for that next opportunity”. But this coaching staff is veteran and has head coaching experience in DC Gus Bradley. They know how to run a team, this is not a captainless ship. They just have a new hierarchy. I actually like the move of promoting the special team’s coordinator and leaving the offensive and defensive play-callers in their respective roles. This will help keep some normalcy and continuity in the building.

I would normally be happy to see the Raiders in such turmoil, but the facts around the story are just too horrible to glean any satisfaction from. If you would like further details on the Gruden situation you can listen to our Breakin’ Broncos Podcast here. And this article from The Athletic is a great resource as well.

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The Broncos coaching staff has been thoroughly outcoached the last 2 weeks. This is not debatable. As I stated in my Steelers game review here. Shurmur just can’t get out of his own way. He wants to run old-school blocking and running schemes, with new-age pass concepts despite whether or not he has the personnel to do so. For the second week in a row, despite constant pressure refused to go into 2 and 3-TE sets. He abandoned the run in the 2nd quarter despite average north of 6 YPC. And he used 3 wide sets with a return specialist, and practice squad players taking up the majority of the WR room.

Teddy had a third straight sub-par game against the steelers and a stout pass rush. The front 7 of the raiders is legit, their biggest weakness lies in the inconsistent back end. Casey Heyward is a bit underrated, but the rest are suspect at best. But Max Crosby and Co. make their lives much easier and will be going up against a suspect Bronco’s O-line that can’t even tout an “elite” Garrett Bolles anymore. Teddy has shown he tends to panic against misread blitzes pre-snap. He has shown all the tendencies, including backbreaking INTs in the 4th quarter that got Drew Lock benched. But again, somehow, Teddy gets a pass.

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If the Raiders come in and get anywhere near their offensive average of 399.6 total yards, it will be a long day for Broncos Country. If the Broncos can re-find their defensive efficiency from the first 3 weeks and hold the 29th ranked rushing offense in check while Von Miller and Co. get to Carr, Denver will be alright. Problem is, they just gave up almost 200 yards to the 32nd ranked rushing offense in the Steelers. And over 320 passing yards to a bottom 5 passing game the week before. The one area of this team that was supposed to be elite has been absolutely outclassed the last 2 weeks, in different ways. The game plans have been misguided at best, and absolutely horrible most of the time.

At least Teddy has been practicing with the team all week and he’s at home. So we should at least not see the embarrassing mistake of a delay of game on the first offensive play of the game. Think about that, you have a play you know was going to be called since Tuesday/Wednesday install. And you still can’t get the snap off. That is proof positive of bad coaching.

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Now, I do believe we will suffer the embarrassment of losing to a Raiders squad still licking their wounds created by their head coach. Denver will see heads roll, and a new QB on Monday. I won’t even call it Drew, it may be Brett Rypien. But changes will be made and the season will most likely fall off the rails over the next few weeks. I hope I’m wrong, but I cannot feel confident in this team, even this week, after the last two.

Final Prediction:

LV Raiders 24-Broncos 20

Denver Broncos Lose Again vs Free Falling Pittsburgh

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The Denver Broncos came off their worst performance of the year against the Ravens. Then laid an even bigger egg in week 4 until Pittsburgh went to prevent in the 4th quarter of a 27-19 loss.

That final score does not tell the story of just how inept and out-coached this Denver Broncos squad was Sunday morning. The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off 3 consecutive losses and Big Ben had more INTs than TDs. All of that changed over the course of 60 minutes on Heinz Field. The Broncos would go down by 7 after an early dime from Big Ben to Diontae Johnson for 50 yards and a TD put them up 7-0 at the 12:09 mark in the first quarter. The Denver Broncos would never threaten that lead, never getting to within more than 4 points the rest of the game.

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The Broncos were so inept on offense they didn’t score their first TD until the 10:19 mark in the 4th quarter. Even that would take a bigger screw-up by the Steelers D (blowing over-the-top coverage) and an absolutely ridiculous catch by Sutton to bail out his quarterback than anything the Broncos did right. Before the 3 final drives for the Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater had less than 60 net yards and only 83 passing. Look at this tweet I put out about it:

Every Teddy Troll has tried to grill Drew Lock for his 55 net yards in 1+ quarters against the 4-game win streak Ravens who stayed blitzing against a weakened O-line. But want to give a pass to Teddy who had just as low a net yard total through 3+ quarters against a much worse Pittsburgh defense that had lost 3 in a row.

The only mistake Drew made in his half of play was a meaningless INT with 3 ticks on the clock. Teddy throws a pick in the same place in the end zone, to the same player, with the same throw, but it actually lost the game as the Broncos had a chance to tie the game with a TD and 2-point conversion. I keep hearing that “he brought them all the way back”. But he didn’t, unless they resumed the game after the INT that even the NFL record keepers missed, the Broncos are still listed at 3-2, not 4-1.

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It’s amazing to me that Teddy can lose and be called a “winner”. But Drew does better in a worse situation, and he’s a definitive bust? This is what Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropical Thunder meant by “you never go full retard.” I need to know why the double standard? I obviously need to be clear because people have trouble with words. I do not sit in the camp that Drew Lock is the second coming of John Elway. What I am saying is nobody knows, nobody. Eighteen, that’s the total number of starts Lock has in his career, is barely enough to fill the weeks in this year’s entire schedule. But somehow people that have never so much as seen Drew practice somehow just know he is not the man because he is sitting on the bench.

Have we all forgotten Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson? Where when they finally got into the right system (one we will not mention) they went on MVP tears or won a Super Bowl. Drew Lock is more talented than both of those men by leaps and bounds. Yet you “experts” sit here and say that Teddy had a “great game” and Drew is a scrub. Give me a break. I don’t want this to be a pure Teddy bashing session, I really have no ill will towards the player. But his fans are insufferable and idiotic.

Let’s move on from the QB position though as it was not completely Teddy’s fault. This vaunted Broncos defense has looked more like a doormat the last 2 weeks. After giving up Lamar Jackson’s 2nd ever 300-yard game last week. Big Ben found a fountain of youth and after 5 INTs in the first 4 games, gave up nothing but a lost fumble that lead to an FG by Brandon McManus in the 2nd quarter. He ended the day 15/25 for 253 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. I know that’s not a flashy stat line. But when you allow the 32nd ranked running game (55 YPG) to go off for 147 yards. Najee Harris had 122 all by himself, the first 100-yard game for the rookie. After that, Big Ben doesn’t need to light it up, just not screw it up.

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I still don’t understand why the best pass rusher on the team was covering Chase Claypool from the slot instead of, you know, pass-rushing, is beyond me. Justin Strnad’s hesitancy in coverage and attacking the LOS during run-plays is concerning as well. If Mike Purcell misses anytime or is limited due to a back injury he suffered trying to make an insane interception in the first half. This run-D will fall off a cliff. The depth behind Purcell is light, figuratively obviously. The Denver Broncos front-7 was manhandled by a Pittsburgh O-line that was ranked dead-last in the NFL during the pre-season and has done nothing to change that before Sunday.

The Broncos have a little reprieve with the reeling Raiders coming into Denver this Sunday after the insanity that is the Jon Gruden scandal. If you would like to hear our takes on that, as well as how we feel about Javonte Williams and this Broncos rushing offense. You can listen to the Breakin’ Broncos podcast here.

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So for the second week in a row, we saw Shurmur sabotage himself by abondoning from the running game with just a 4-point deficit despite his running backs averaging more than 6 yards per carry. You saw the Pittsburgh Steelers put. on a clinic of the use of 2 and 3 TE sets. It’s amazing to see a coach look across the sidelines and say “see what you could do” and the coach on the receiving end going “but I don’t wanna!”

The Steelers have far inferior talent at the TE position when compared to the Broncos, yet their use in Denver is like a giant squid. We know they’re out there somewhere, we just don’t know exactly where. Also, can someone explain how Javonte Wiliams has 0 rushes inside the 5? This offense with Teddy looks absolutely identical to 2020 with Lock who had no offseason to prepare. Teddy has had a full offseason with the team and looked just OK when playing inferior teams.

As I have said since week 1 in this article and everywhere since. Teddy would give a lot of fools gold through the first month, then Broncos Country will claim the sky is falling by the time they played the Raiders. It didn’t even take that long. And here we stand, right where scared money gets you, desperation and people under the bus. Things will get much worse in Dove Valley before they get better.