BRONCOS

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A pathetic second half for Denver’s offense

Oct 17, 2022, 11:08 PM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

We’re watching the same movie over and over again.

And it’s absolutely awful.

For the second straight week, the Broncos lost in overtime. On Monday night, it was a brutal 19-16 loss to the Chargers, sending Denver to 2-4 on the season. It’s starting to feel hopeless for Denver fans, because after 11 days off, nothing changed. There was no improvement and it was more of the same old, same old. The offense stunk. Penalties were a problem. And this season has gone sideways in a hurry.

How did it happen and what were the biggest takeaways? Let’s dive into it with our sixth edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but the Denver defense was once again incredible.

Baron Browning looks like he’s going to be a star. Dare I say he reminds me a little bit of Von Miller? The Broncos outside linebacker had a sack, two tackles for loss and an interception. It’s a bummer that Randy Gregory got hurt, but more playing time for Browning is ultimately a good thing.

The Denver defense held Justin Herbert to just 238 yards passing on 57 attempts, or 4.2 yards per completion. He didn’t throw a single touchdown and also had the pick to Browning. Inside linebacker Alex Singleton was excellent filling in for the injured Josey Jewell, posting a ridiculous 21 total tackles. Jonas Griffith added 10 of his own and Austin Ekeler had just 14 carries for 36 yards.

It’s shocking to try to figure out how the Broncos lost this game, but that takes us too…

The Bad

Russell Wilson had just 15 yards of passing in the second half and overtime. That’s a stunning number to try to wrap your mind around. 15 lousy yards. The trade for Wilson is looking worse and worse. The contract extension might go down as one of the poorest decisions in NFL history. He’s been miserable in his Broncos’ tenure thus far.

He finished with a “QBR” of just 34.7 and completed only 15 of 28 passes for 188 yards on the night. Outside of a hot first quarter, with a nice touchdown pass to tight end Greg Dulcich, Wilson was simply awful. He took four sacks for 28 yards and couldn’t move the Denver offense at all after the intermission. Even with the Broncos “O” touching the ball twice in overtime, it never felt like Wilson was going to drive them down the field to win the game.

The running game didn’t help. Denver carried the ball 23 times for just 98 yards. Outside of new running back Latavius Murray popping a couple of times, that group was mediocre at best against the Chargers. Melvin Gordon pouted on the sidelines after getting benched, finishing the night with just three carries for eight yards.

The offense is broken right now. And even though head coach Nathaniel Hackett once again took the blame postgame, fans are sick of hearing it. His group is bad, and undisciplined…

The Ugly

Which leads us to this.

The Broncos committed an absurd 10 penalties for 151 yards. Rookie cornerback Damarri Mathis was the chief offender, getting flagged four times for defensive pass interference. He now leads the NFL in that category, starting just one game after corner Ronald Darby tore his ACL against the Colts. A couple of the flags were questionable, but it’s clear the Chargers planned to pick on Mathis. And it worked. They moved the ball more times on penalties than on positive plays.

Denver remains a poorly coached team under Hackett. Nothing he’s doing right now is working, and the play on the field is somehow getting worse. It’s hard not to wonder if Hackett hasn’t already lost the locker room. Clearly the players don’t listen to him and the rest of the coaches.

This season was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be fun. But right now, it’s just more heartache in Broncos Country. Everything is still bad, with very few good times had since Super Bowl 50.

***

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A pathetic second half for Denver’s offense