Nov 2, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) defends against Denver Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (84) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 43-21. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
As Yogi Berra so poetically said, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”
For the Denver Broncos and Broncos Country, it was the Super Bowl nightmare relived – only the final score was different.
The same look.
The same feel.
The same awful, gut-wrenching outcome.
Despite almost 10 days off, the Broncos were out-planned and outplayed in a 43-21 embarrassment. (Hey, at least they scored 21 points).
It was complete ineptitude from every facet of the Broncos. Not one player or coach was prepared – mentally or physically – for this game.
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There were stupid and costly penalties.
There were turnovers.
The offensive line that was lost. In fact, the offense as a whole was caught with its hand in the cookie jar.
Special teams was terrible.
The defense was unable to show any consistency.
The coaching staff that once again was outclassed.
The New England Patriots did exactly what the Seattle Seahawks did in the Super Bowl: Punched Denver in the mouth.
Just like the Super Bowl, the Broncos tapped out and quit.
No doubt the Broncos can find positives from this. They’re still 6-2, have a two-game lead in the AFC West (thanks to their win over the Kansas City Chiefs) and have the best chance to get home field advantage.
Nov 2, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) runs the ball against Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 43-21. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Still, this is the second time in a year this team has been punked and made to look the fool in a big game.
That’s not good; however you want to spin this.
That’s not just a one-time event – that’s a trend, if we want to be honest. The only reason I won’t include this season’s game against Seattle is because Denver didn’t quit. The Broncos actually fought back despite the fact they looked in that game how they looked in Foxborough.
This was a chance to take control and show that this team is not like the one from a season ago. That it is tough. That it is prepared. That no matter what you put in front of this team, it will rise to the occasion.
Again, there’s the positive spin you can put on this. It’s just one game out of the first eight that the Broncos have looked this way. It happens; especially to teams on the road. Remember New England in Kansas City? See the San Diego Chargers in Miami? The Seahawks in San Diego? The Indianapolis Colts in Pittsburgh?
The season is not over.
The goals Denver set prior to the season are still there to grab hold of and bring to life.
What makes a great team is how it responds to situations like this. It will make the Broncos stronger or break them.
Given the character of guys on this team and organization, go all-in on the former.
The positive out of this is that the brutal stretch for Denver to start the season is over. Through eight games, if had you said the Broncos would be 6-2, some people would have said you’re an idiot. But here they are. The task now is to forget about this game until these two teams meet again – if they meet again.
It helps to play the Oakland Raiders next.
Nov 2, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox wipes his face during the fourth quarter of their 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports