After the last several weeks, I've almost run out of synonyms for "stink up the place". But "stink up the place" the Broncos did. This was a tale of a Kansas City Chiefs team fighting for a playoff berth, and a Denver Broncos team just playing out the string until next year.
Oh, sorry, wrong teams. Let me start again.
This was a tale of a Broncos team that effectively gave up any claim they
might have on a playoff berth, and a KC team that relished the chance to
keep the Broncos out of the playoffs. Yes, technically the Broncos are
still alive for the playoffs. But realistically, if the Broncos can't come
prepared to lay a whuppin' on a 5-8 Chiefs team, they certainly won't be
ready for the Titans (no matter who plays QB for them), nor for a red-hot
I am so very tired of hearing "we know what we have to do" from each and
every Broncos player, and then watching them go out and evidently prove
that "what we have to do" is to blow important games with half-hearted
efforts. I am so very tired of having to argue, either in front of the
water cooler or via email, about whose fault the latest pass interception
of Jake Plummer really was. And I am so very tired of excuses, period.
If there has been a story of this Broncos team, it's not been of Mike Shanahan.
It's not been of Plummer, nor dropped passes, nor fumbles, nor incredibly
poor giveaway/takeaway ratios, nor injuries, nor of picking the right
players in the offseason. Plain and simple, it's been a story of lack of
heart/guts/desire or you want to call it. This team was put together to
win. They have the talent, both on the sidelines and on the field. They
had the depth. They simply never seemed to really WANT the games badly
enough. And, frankly, that's not Shanahan's fault. If you're a player in
the NFL and you can't WANT a win badly enough to play your heart out each
and every game, you have no business wearing a uniform. Period.
"Offensive" would be a good word to describe a meager 17-point output from
this unit. Yet again, Plummer decided it was better to pad his INT totem
than his TD totem. I missed the second and so can't comment on it, but the
first was CLEARLY mostly his fault. Yes it was a timing pattern to Lelie,
who should have been there, but on the other hand, Plummer watched him the
whole route and released the ball AFTER Ashley Lelie had passed the correct spot,
and with 2 KC defenders boxing him on the sideline. NO WAY could Lelie have
gotten back for the ball, and the KC defenders were reading the play so well
that they broke on the ball before Lelie did. Bottom line: Shanahan coming
out last week and praising Plummer, and promising that continued contract and
$6M bonus (!!!) is looking more and more like a MASSIVE mistake. And by the
way: there are many who say "well, who better to replace him"? My response:
"what does it matter WHO loses the games for us?". At least his future
megabucks of cap space could be spent shoring up other things like the OL
The OL simply broke down. They made the DL for KC look like a team of
all-stars. Ben Hamilton, IMHO, has to go. He's missed more blocking assignments
than any of the other linemen this year, and I'll bet he's right up there in
penalties (false starts and holding).
The running game was non-existent, but then again, the Broncos got so far
behind so quickly that they couldn't afford 7-8 minute drives running the
ball by mid-2nd quarter. And this is the second straight game where Tatum Bell
may be showing great speed, moves and acceleration, but he's finishing up
by tripping over his own feet or neglecting to put the darned ball away!
I totally agreed with the TV crew today: who could believe the Broncos have
one of the top defense in the game, the way they played today? Yes, KC has
a darned good offense. But they're not a 45-point offense (or at least, they
shouldn't be) against this Denver D. No pass rush. The KC rushing game
time and again ripped of 5-or-6 yard gains on a consistent basis. Stupid -
REALLY stupid - penalties, especially personal fouls. Only D.J. Williams and Al Wilson seemed to really want to play the game today. Unfortunately, it takes 11 men in the NFL to have a defense.
Here's a telling stat: KC, who had no turnovers, only punted once in the game.
Here's another one: on successive drives, both of which ended in TD's, KC
drove 90 yards and 99 yards, respectively.
Special Teams: D+
The tone was set from the beginning with the Dante Hall runback. If there was a
brighter spot today, it was that Jason Baker's kickoffs were much better, as was
his punting. Traindos Luke had almost a 20 yard/return average for his
kickoff returns (and he certainly got enough practice at THAT today).
The Broncos had no adjustment they could make to let them score points (except
maybe to have kept Plummer on the bench?), or to keep KC out of the end zone.
I don't fault Shanahan for going for it on the 4th-down plays. The team
needed SOMETHING, ANYTHING, for a spark. I think I would have done the same
thing. As for "why the bomb on the 4th-down try", well, why not? Plummer
and Shanahan were heros for trying it (and making it) a week ago.
One more thing, WRT Shanahan. I think the calls for his head are really
misguided and short-sighted. If the players don't feel they want to put out
enough to win a crucial game like this, it's not a failing of the coaches;
it's a failure of character of the players. Do I think some coaching changes
are necessary? Yes. We need a better OL and DL coaches. We need (as we
have for years) better special teams coaches. We likely need a better DB
coach (no reflection on Spencer, though).
And what about Shanahan? Not this year, for sure. But if the Broncos are
REALLY just a player or two from greatness, and we get those players, then
next year his team better produce, or I will then think yes, it's time for
him to go.
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