The Denver Broncos weren't in a "do or die" situation against the Houston Texans in Week 13, but the implications as far as the playoffs are concerned were huge. The odds of the Broncos making the playoffs would have increased drastically (over 60 percent) with a win and they decreased substantially (under 25 percent) with the loss.
Because this was such a significant loss, we've got to do some substantial finger pointing. Who is to blame for the atrocity we witnessed in Houston where the Broncos failed to convert a single one of their 11 third down attempts, and they failed to score a go-ahead touchdown with seemingly unlimited opportunities late in the game?
Let's play the blame game.
1. Alex Singleton, LB
Look, Alex Singleton played a great game. As a matter of fact, he was one of the best defensive players on the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, he made one absolutely critical, unforgivable mistake early on in the game.
The Texans were about to be called for a false start penalty as Singleton burst through the line of scrimmage. Houston was going for a 4th-and-2 in this situation, but the false start penalty would have unquestionably caused them to kick a field goal instead of go for it. A field goal at this juncture of the game would have put Houston up just 6-0 instead of 10-0, which is what they did after this interaction...
Yes, CJ Stroud head-butted Alex Singleton. No, the officials don't care about that. It's always the guy who strikes second that gets flagged in the NFL. Unfortunately for Alex Singleton, his decision to retaliate in the moment cost the Broncos four points in a game they ended up losing by five.