The Denver Broncos have lost four of their last seven games, including two in a row, and head coach Gary Kubiak deserves a lot of the blame for that…
Once upon a time, the Denver Broncos were one of the last remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. Not inexcusably, they were finally beaten in a road game against the Indianapolis Colts.
One loss, no big deal…
Then they dropped a home game to the Kansas City Chiefs, and Peyton Manning was pulled in favor of Brock Osweiler. Embarrassing to lose at home to a divisional opponent, but again, not inexcusable.
Then, under the direction of Brock Osweiler, the Broncos ripped off three straight wins, including a road game against the Chicago Bears, a home game against the New England Patriots, and a road game against the San Diego Chargers. Brock Osweiler, despite being only slightly above average in terms of statistical production, was making the plays necessary for the Broncos to win, and they appeared to be back on the right track.
Then, a loss at home to the Oakland Raiders.
The Broncos, for many awful reasons, allowed the Raiders to overcome a 12-point halftime deficit and wound up losing their second division home game, which would be just the second time since the 2012 season that that has happened.
And this past week, a 27-13 halftime lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers slowly but surely turned into a 34-27 loss, leaving the team and the fans feeling helpless despite an eruption of offense in the first half unlike anything we have seen since Osweiler took the reins.
The inability to adjust and put the pedal to the metal in the second half has become habitual for the Broncos, and something they can’t really make excuses for anymore. In fact, it’s become a theme of their entire season. Just look at this year on the whole — starting off 7-0 and dropping four of the next seven games.
It’s almost as though the Broncos’ record is reflecting their recent performance in games — strong if not spectacular in the first half, completely useless for no reason in the second half.
The worst part about it is, there’s really no one thing to pinpoint as a problem. We see the offense put up points in bunches. We see the defense creating turnovers, sacks, and even generating points all their own. We see the running game emerge at times, even if it’s just sparingly.
And then a complete lack of production comes in like a tropical storm. The Broncos at times are rendered completely incapable on offense with five or six straight series that result in a punt or no points. There was a streak there going into this game against the Steelers where they were in a drought of 25 straight offensive series without a touchdown.
That streak was shattered against the Steelers with not a single missed third down play and four touchdown drives in the first half on Sunday, and they came away from that game with nothing to show for it. It’s hard for us fans to even be optimistic about what we saw from that team that came out there in the first half because we’re so concerned about the ineptitude that took the field in the second half.
That, to me, is all on Gary Kubiak. If you don’t have a singular problem to fix or at least a couple of minor issues compared to a variety of seriously glaring holes, then it’s on the coaching staff. No halftime adjustments were made. The Broncos had absolutely no chance of competing in the second half because they became soft. They became overly conservative. They tried a gameplan that was the complete opposite of what worked in the first half.
So why would you change things up so drastically? Why are your halftime adjustments failing so miserably?
Even in games they have won, the Broncos have nearly blown a second half lead. Look at the Chicago Bears game. Look at the scoreless second half against San Diego. There’s a significant pattern being created and Kubiak needs to do something about it if he wants this team to avoid a collapse. The Broncos have a lead in the division right now thanks to that 7-0 start, but that will quickly evaporate if they can’t figure out a way to make second half adjustments and put this team in a position to win games rather than trying not to lose them.