Denver Broncos Resemble Dumpster Fire in 21-13 Loss to San Diego Chargers

No offense to dumpster fires.

Take the all-orange uniforms, drown them in gasoline, and light them aflame. Denver Broncos were a cross between a tire fire and a dumpster fire tonight. Just take whichever sight is more visually unappealing and pick that one. The basement-dwelling San Diego Chargers were present to accept their 21-13 victory. 

There was the flailing hope of a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but it was not to be. The Broncos dropped their second straight game, this time within the division. Their 15-game road win streak within the AFC West also went up in flames (RIP 2011-2016)

I hope Gary Kubiak switched over to the baseball game at some point. Get well soon. 

Holding Them Back

There were too many of them. To be exact, there were 12 of them for 103 yards. A whole football field and change. And you can thank the offensive line for that. The most egregious hold was when Russell Okung swallowed a Charger to negate a C.J. Anderson catch-and-run touchdown that would have brought the Broncos within four late in the game.

Another holding call from Michael Schofield killed a promising late third quarter drive, pushing back the offense into an eventual missed 56-yard field goal.

And of course, a holding call in the end zone dialed up a safety that put Denver in a 21-3 hole. Not only was the offensive line unable to protect Trevor Siemian or open up running lanes, they were actively sabotaging any ounce of success that the skill players could manage.

To complement the flurry of penalties, the line gave up two sacks and once again failed to blaze the path for the running backs, as Anderson averaged 3.7 yards per carry.

I would say that Max Garcia and Michael Schofield need to be evaluated, but who would you replace them with, a bent traffic cone? Maybe...

Slow Starts

Like they did in weeks one, three, and five, the Broncos defense surrendered a touchdown on the opening drive. Not only did Philip Rivers cap off his opening statement with a touchdown pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry, but he did so while subtracting eight full minutes off of the clock. After the Broncos offense promptly folded on the subsequent drive, San Diego did it again. They settled for a field goal, but spent 10 minutes in the process, the longest drive of the NFL season.

When you can go watch an episode of Seinfeld and turn the game back on all in the same drive, you have a third-down problem on your hands. The Broncos defense certainly did early in the game, hence the 90 percent possession maintained by the Chargers.

Ultimately, the defense did tighten up, but they could never fully recover from the marathon that was the first quarter. The worst play of the second half was a 48-yard run by Melvin Gordon that was punctuated with one of Josh Lambo's four field goals.

Von Miller reached 7.5 sacks and Shane Ray got to 3.5 in the absence of DeMarcus Ware.

Missed Opportunities

What makes this game so inconceivably vomit-inducing is that, despite the atrocities in every phase of the game, the Broncos could have won. 

It started with a muffed punt from Travis Benjamin in the second quarter. Will Parks recovered and set the offense up at the San Diego 11-yard line.

What did they proceed to do? Absolute, unequivocally nothing. Field goal. Not even an attempt to the end zone.

Later in this cursed game, Jordan Taylor coughs up the rock on a crucial drive in the third. San Diego tacks on three points.

To the fourth. The Broncos benefited from another muffed kick, this time after the safety.They draw within 11 after Siemian finds Bennie Fowler for his first career score, a five-yard bullet.

The defense holds strong and gives the ball back to the offense. Things are going well, aggressively pushing the ball down the field. Siemian dumps a screen pass to Anderson, who shakes off tacklers, gets away, gets away again, and he's in the end zone!

Then we see the yellow flag. 

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Two plays later, Demaryius Thomas dutifully fumbles for the second time this season and a touchdown becomes a turnover.

On their last gasp after recovering an onside kick, Siemian nervously lets go of a Hail Mary that doesn't make it to "now and at the hour of our death." It's batted away at the five-yard line. Game.

It capped off a bizarre, 30-for-50, 230 yard, one touchdown game for Siemian, who suffered the first loss of his career. 4.6 yards per attempt is never going to get the job done. That's a number that falls firmly in the dreaded Gabbert Zone.

Overall, the offense lacked creativity, spark, and organization. Too often, the Broncos were behind in the down-and-distance after failing to run the ball well on first down. 

While Rivers was making quick drops to neutralize the pass rush, the Broncos were dropping five and seven steps on their pass plays, putting their crumbling offensive line on full display.

There's much to be gathered, evaluated, and tinkered after this one. The positives are few and far between.

And still, I present to you this; the Broncos are 4-2. In 2012, they were 2-3. A year ago, they lost consecutive games two separate times.

It's not over. The Raiders are not AFC West champions yet.

It's a tough pill to swallow, but I submit that the Broncos must take this loss in stride. There's a lot of 2016 left and there's plenty of time to grab it by the horns.

10 days until the return of Brent. Hang in there.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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