Denver Broncos: Where should blame be placed for Week 12 debacle?
The Denver Broncos reached a new low on Sunday.
In a miserable 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 12, the Broncos became the first team in 22 years to throw more interceptions than completed passes. Kendall Hinton, the practice squad wide receiver tasked with being the team’s starting quarterback, completed just one pass in the game while throwing two interceptions.
But Hinton does not deserve the blame for this loss. Not even close.
But who is to blame? Denver head coach Vic Fangio certainly seemed to blame his quarterback room for what transpired in the game, based on this interaction with The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones.
It’s true that the Broncos broke protocol as their quarterbacks were interacting with Jeff Driskel without the use of a mask. Drew Lock issued this apology.
There is no doubt that the quarterbacks put the team in a bad spot. But why could the league not move the game to another date, ya know, like they did with the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game that was scheduled for Thanksgiving night.
It was revealed that Lamar Jackson had a positive COVID test along with several members of the team and the game was moved. Why was the league so intent on making an example out of Denver on Sunday?
On top of the embarrassing defeat, which all but buried any playoff hopes the Broncos may have had, there is likely to be further punishment coming in the way of fines and/or a loss of draft picks.
It is certainly fair to wonder if the league would have forced a team like the New England Patriots or Dallas Cowboys to play a game without a single quarterback on the 53-man roster. Would this have been the answer that Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones received? Heck, would Pat Bowlen have even received that kind of an answer from the league office?
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It’s hard to say what would have happened or what should have happened and it is the kind of debate that fits right into the debates that have ran rampant across the country since the pandemic started.
But what is certain is that the league should show more consistency in how it deals with its teams and players concerning this pandemic. To force the Broncos to play this game without a quarterback was a bit much.
And if that is going to be the stance the league takes, it needs to make sure that other teams are held to the standard that the Broncos were.
What we saw on Sunday was embarrassing. But the fans shouldn’t be embarrassed of the players and the players shouldn’t be embarrassed by their performance, they did their best given the situation.
The league should be embarrassed that it allowed this game to be played.