To the Denver Broncos, and all involved parties: please don’t let this season slip away. Signed, Broncos Country.
I’m not ready to start connecting dots for the Broncos in the 2016 NFL Draft. I’m not ready to talk about what free agents may or may not help this team win a Super Bowl in 2017. I’m not ready to talk about the looming possible departure of Peyton Manning, the cap situation, or the number of impending free agents on this current roster.
I want to keep talking about the games for a while longer. Is that too much to ask?
After Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, I will admit — I was in a state of disarray. I had to beat my own head to remind myself the Broncos are still 10-3, still with one of the best records in football and when you consider how poorly the offensive line and quarterback play has been, that’s really saying something.
I mean…that’s really saying something.
After Sunday’s 12-15 loss to the Oakland Raiders at home, I felt generally like I feel when you lose to the Raiders at home — it sucked. I was inconsolable. Even the great Impractical Jokers could barely put a smile on my face.
It reminded me of the feeling I had during last year’s loss to the Colts in the playoffs when yet another season turned into a year of what ‘could have been.’
But luckily for the Broncos, all is not (yet) lost.
The Broncos still have the best defense in the NFL (in my humble opinion) which gives me hope that on any given Sunday, they can win a ball game against whoever. But if the defense needs the offense to step up in a game where they did almost everything right, and the offense can’t accidentally score even a single point in the second half?
There are times when you feel sad for the Broncos after a hard fought loss. There are times when you are down right mad about a loss because something happened like a bad play call, bad officiating, or a bogus hail mary that sails over Rahim Moore’s head to end your Super Bowl aspirations.
Then there are times when you’re just embarrassed to associate with them. That would have been me on Sunday, as I stripped away my Broncos hoodie and hid all my apparel out of sight for the time being. It was a disgusting loss, an horrific performance from a number of players but certainly no one on the defense deserved any of the blame.
I will no longer dwell on the game itself but the repercussions moving forward. If the Broncos’ offense puts forth the effort it did on Sunday in any of their remaining games this season, we’ll know it wasn’t a fluke and that — barring a miracle — we can kiss our playoff hopes goodbye. Not that we won’t make it to the dance, because we likely will, but that getting there will be the end of it.
Perhaps the Broncos can still manage a first round bye, and some team can go into New England in the 2nd round and get Denver home field advantage in the title game if it comes to that. Perhaps things aren’t as gloomy as they currently seem, but this eternal optimist finally needs some serious convincing to believe that this offense is capable of stumbling its way into a Super Bowl appearance, let alone a victory.
Learn how to block. Figure out how to throw the ball downfield. Stop dropping the easiest passes possible. Stop muffing punts. Stop using the punter we have (no longer willing to use his name).
You get paid to play in the NFL. Your defense is, as I’ve described, ‘other-worldly’.
Figure it out.