The only way to describe the Denver Broncos efforts against the Oakland Raiders is Pathetic. Watching the offense shut down in the red zone in the first half was almost as frustrating as watching them completely stall out in the second half. It felt like the offensive line was single-handedly trying to get Khalil Mack enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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Brock and Roll tour 2015 hit its first snag, and it was the worst possible week for it to happen. There is nothing worse during a football season than losing to the Raiders. The worst part about the loss was the shift the offense went through, from inept down by the goal line to just inept. Losing to the Raiders is unacceptable, but losing the way Denver did is absurd.
With their playoff destiny in their own hands, the Broncos handed back home field advantage, and the first round bye. Drops have begun to plague the receiving corp. Demaryius Thomas has been battling the dropsies, and Vernon Davis’ drop on fourth down to end the game was infuriating. The Broncos had chances to win on Sunday, and squandered them at every turn.
The only thing that can prevent the Broncos from winning the Super Bowl is the inability to keep the quarterback upright.
The worst phase of the game for the Broncos was the offensive line. It begs the question, did John Elway and Gary Kubiak do enough in the offseason to address the problem. Following the collapse at the end of 2014, the two areas that seemingly had to be fixed were the offensive and defensive line. The defensive line has benefited from a shift in defensive philosophy. The same can not be said for the offensive line.
When Ryan Clady went down prior to the start of the season, rookie Ty Sambrailo was supposed to step in. What has ensued is a MASH unit of players shuffled in and out looking for a formula that will work in Kubiak’s offensive scheme. Unfortunately, this may have cost Peyton Manning a chance at ending his career on top, and now it may have taken away the Broncos’ opportunity to make a deep run into the playoffs.
The obvious question following the loss to the Raiders seemed to be does this open up the door for a return to Manning running the offense? However, the biggest questions have to be about the play of the offensive line. I never thought I would have to say this, but I think Elway missed the ball on this. The only thing that can prevent the Broncos from winning the Super Bowl is the inability to keep the quarterback upright. Ask Khalil Mack if he thinks the offensive line can do that.
Dec 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) during an NFL football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 15-12. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports