Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the Denver Broncos unveiled an entirely new level of mediocrity during Sunday's 45-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
A level of broken assignments, stupid penalties, missed opportunities and heartless passion, all coming from a team that entered the game knowing that another loss would virtually put an end to any playoff hopes that may still exist.
"We were trying too hard," Broncos safety John Lynch offered in hindsight, although you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who saw the game actually agree with him.
Certainly no one in the Press Box got the impression the Broncos were trying too hard watching Dante Hall race virtually untouched the entire length of the field to open up the first of Kansas City's six touchdown melee.
By the time that Jake Plummer had tossed his first interception, many were moved to the idea that the Broncos weren't trying hard enough.
Especially for a team on the ropes.
And hereby lies the root of the problem, three-years running now. When times get tough, the tough beat the Broncos. Last season it was Indianapolis, today it was the Chiefs, in decisive fashion.
"I wish I had an explanation," Plummer admitted to reporters. "We're not pulling out the close ones, making the plays when it matters. The ball bounces really funny sometimes."
For Plummer, who celebrated his thirtieth birthday with two picks, the ball has bounced funny nine different times over the last five games, pushing him into the lead as the league's most intercepted quarterback.
Adding insult to injury, former Bronco Eddie Kennison ran circles around cornerback Pro
Bowl bound Champ Bailey, connecting with Trent Green on two touchdown strikes and finished the day with seven catches for a game high 101-yards.
The embarrassment of the final score paints only a small picture of a Shanahan team gone wrong.
Never before in the Mastermind's ten-year reign, has a defense given up forty-five points in a single game, sparking the collective question; why, with all the talent and preparation, do the Broncos simply fold when it comes to pressure?
"It's pretty disappointing when you're on a team like this with the kind of players we have," Plummer said.
"We should be producing more."
Tired of the usual cliches, Shanahan admitted his own frustrations, if only briefly.
"We'll find out, obviously talk is cheap," the one-time Mastermind lamented. "Obviously, we have to win 10 games to have a chance to get in there, and I'll just leave it at that."
At least we agree on something.
It is better to leave it at that.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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