The O'Reilly Report

Broncos Update contributor Dan O'Reilly grades Denver's 19-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Check out the complete story.

Well, the Broncos are rapidly playing themselves out of playoff contention, having now lost 3 of their last 5 games, and two of the losses have been in the division. The Broncos MUST go into San Diego in 2 weeks and win, and then they need help to even make the playoffs as a wild card. If Jake Plummer was indeed playing for his job, he didn't do enough to keep it. On the face of it, his numbers weren't all that bad, but the fact is, he didn't make the third down conversions when he had the opportunity to.

As for the NFL Network's debut, I wasn't all that impressed. It started with (at least on the HD broadcast) the sound severely out of sync with the video, and on and off throughout the game the video got grainy. Bryant Gumbel is TERRIBLE as a play-by-play guy, and I've never been able to stand Chris Collinsworth but he's head and shoulders above Gumbel.

Offense: F
A horrible day rushing (38 yards on 16 attempts) to go with the lackluster performance by Plummer, and it's easy to see why the Broncos could score only 10 points. Plummer had his usual INT (and it should have been 2: only a bonehead play away from the action by Lenny Walls kept it from being 2). It wasn't all on Plummer, there were at least 3 or 4 dropped balls. But the fact is, Plummer didn't run the offense well.

I was also somewhat surprised at the dropoff in the quality of pass protection when George Foster went into the game for Adam Meadows. I expected a bit, but Foster was routinely beaten, and badly. Erik Pears looked like a fish out of water really for the first time tonight, and I think that was a result of the Broncos not keeping a tight end in to help him with pass protection.

Defense: C-
At times, they were stout. At times they were terrible. Yet again, the lack of a pass rush hurt the Broncos. It also didn't help that absolutely STUPID penalties led directly to the first KC touchdown, keeping the drive alive on 2 occasions after a 3rd down stop.

Special Teams: F
Easy to see why they're rated last in the league. Paul Ernster again wasn't up to the task; it's time to see if Todd Sauerbrun has any plans that he can't break for the next 6 weeks or so. As much as I like Ronnie Bradford the man and former player, it's time for a replacement. He's not doing the job as the special teams coach. Special teams play is disgraceful, and that's a reflection of the coaches.

Coaching: B
I thought the offensive and defensive game plans were pretty good. The problem was, the players simply didn't execute them. For the first time, Larry Coyer switched very rapidly from zone to man-to-man in a timely manner. I sense there's a problem brewing, and that's one of motivation. It seems to me like the players are starting to coast just a bit, now they're down two games to San Diego and tied with Kansas City. We'll have to see what the next few games hold for the Broncos, especially if they lose in San Diego.

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