The Denver Broncos hit a new low with their Monday Night Football loss to the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve. Is this the end for Vance Joseph?
The 2018 Denver Broncos are a real-life example of those nightmares you have where something terrible is going to happen, but you can’t move because you’re paralyzed and it feels like you’re trying to run through quicksand.
The slow but certain demise of this team has been painful to watch, but not as painful as the offense over the past three weeks.
The Broncos were shut out through nearly three entire quarters against the Raiders before Case Keenum finally found it in him to toss a touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL (32nd in passing touchdowns allowed this season).
After Keenum got the Broncos back into the game (they were down 17-0 before that touchdown pass) the defense gave up a long drive where Doug Martin and Jordy Nelson chipped away.
In case you needed clarification, no — this is not 2012.
As Martin plowed his way to over 100 yards rushing for the first time since 2015 (seriously) the Raiders didn’t even need a passing touchdown from Derek Carr to beat the Broncos by 13 points in this game. As a matter of fact, Carr only needed to complete two passes with more than 10 yards of air under them to win this game.
Case Keenum and the offense set them up for failure by failing to convert simple plays, and the whole team was undisciplined from the very start with too many penalties and a crazy error on a great punt by Colby Wadman that wasn’t downed at the one-yard line and was instead returned 99 yards for a touchdown.
Instead of going into Oakland and spoiling what is likely to be the Raiders’ last home game at that particular stadium, the Broncos laid an egg and gave their fans the most disappointing performance of the season on Christmas Eve.
Thanks a lot.
Denver was playing uninspired, undisciplined, unfocused football. Even the ESPN crew was calling out Denver’s lack of preparation and at one point singled out Bradley Roby for his piss-poor effort on a running play.
It was an embarrassment in front of a national audience, but who are we kidding? No one in the NFL world who wasn’t a fan of Denver or Oakland really cared about this game, and even some of the fans of those two teams didn’t care enough to watch if it was going to take time away from Christmas Eve festivities.
That’s the sad state of the Broncos right now. It’s late December, and the team is irrelevant. The loss cements the fact that for the first time since 1972, the team will have back-to-back losing seasons. That is a losing culture Pat Bowlen worked hard to correct.
The Broncos have lost their way just three years after winning a Super Bowl. This team has shown flashes throughout the season, but over the last two, they have looked incompetent far too often and it can no longer be tolerated.
There will be major changes made in Denver over the course of the next four months, starting with the head coaching position. Vance Joseph hasn’t done an entirely terrible job with the team, but 11 wins in 31 games speaks for itself. The NFL is a business where immediate results matte, and Denver is a city where waiting more than two years to show competitive spirit on a week to week basis is unheard of.
The Broncos need a new head coach and a new quarterback in my opinion. Or they need someone who can really find a way to maximize Case Keenum’s lack of elite traits. Keenum excelled at times this season and much of last season with the Vikings, but the Broncos were unable to get even two quarters in a row of consistently good football from him.
That’s alarming considering the fact that teams were stacking the box and daring the Broncos to throw the ball. Keenum was simply unable to exploit what he was facing on a week to week basis.
Things are not going well in Denver right now and the fan base needs something to get excited about again. John Elway has to correct the mistake he made in hiring Vance Joseph, who has turned out to be the wrong pick for this team.
He will also have difficult decisions to make for personnel elsehwere on the roster.