The Denver Broncos lost a heartbreaking game to the San Francisco 49ers, leaving Vance Joseph’s future in doubt yet again.
The Denver Broncos had caught that winning feeling again, and three straight victories heading into a gimme against the previously 2-10 San Francisco 49ers had everyone talking about the playoffs.
That all changed dramatically on Sunday afternoon as Vance Joseph’s Broncos blew it against one of the worst teams in the NFL, losing to Kyle Shanahan’s crew 14-20. That type of disappointing loss, regardless of the number of injuries, is unacceptable at this point in the season considering what was at stake.
Though Joseph and the Broncos seem improved this season compared to last (and their record reflects that), it’s hard to imagine John Elway tolerating a losing season or anything less than a postseason appearance.
The standard for John Fox was to win a Super Bowl, and he was fired after four straight division titles and a Super Bowl appearance.
Though Fox had Peyton Manning and Joseph has nothing like that, the expectations in Denver are always high. After starting 3-6, Joseph’s seat was white hot and the Broncos responded with three straight wins.
Though fans were riding high on the winning streak, many still maintained their disdain for Joseph and the loss to San Francisco really amplified things.
Has Joseph done enough this season to keep his job moving forward? That is yet to be determined, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
In fact, listening to Rap Sheet, it doesn’t sound like Joseph is really in danger of losing his job at all, though perhaps the Broncos are keeping things under wraps for now.
It makes sense for the Broncos to formulate a plan before season’s end. They face a short week this week against the Cleveland Browns, though they are coming back home to play in Denver for the first time since they beat the Steelers three games ago.
If Joseph and the Broncos lose at home to the Browns, they will officially be guaranteed no better than a .500 season the rest of the way with division matchups against the Raiders and Chargers looming.
The Broncos likely needed to win this game against the 49ers (and they had many opportunities) in order to make the postseason with the Colts, Titans, and Dolphins all winning this past week.
Even with the Ravens and Steelers suffering losses, a 9-7 record might not be enough for Denver to make it to postseason play and if simply making the postseason is the line drawn for Joseph, we’ll be discussing new head coaching candidates sooner than later.
Though Joseph has made some questionable decisions, the Broncos have proven themselves capable of winning or at least competing against the best teams in the NFL when they have competent quarterback play.
The list of negatives for Joseph is far too long at this point, however. He and the Broncos need to find a way to win against Cleveland to change the narrative once again.