The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Why is Melvin Gordon still on the Broncos?
It’s the nightmare we can’t wake up from.
The Broncos season continues to circle the toilet after a brutal 17-10 loss to the Titans on Sunday.
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the Denver offense couldn’t do squat the rest of the way. A late drive looked promising to possibly tie the game and send it to overtime, then stalled out and ultimately ended in a Russell Wilson interception. Same old, same old.
How did it happen and what were the biggest takeaways? Let’s dive into it with our ninth edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Broncos defense was stout, particularly when it came to shutting down monster Tennessee running back Derrick Henry. Maybe the best rusher in the NFL, Denver held Henry to just 53 yards on the ground on 19 carries. That’s only 2.8 yards per attempt for those scoring at home.
On a day where many thought Henry would be the difference, he was a non-factor. Even without star safety Justin Simmons, or edge-rushers Randy Gregory and Baron Browning, the Denver defense didn’t miss a beat. Coordinator Ejiro Evero is a favorite to land a head coaching job this offseason for a reason. No matter the personnel, his group is excellent every week.
Outside of a tough drive to end the first half and getting fooled on a flea-flicker, the Broncos defense was once again special. However, like usual, the offense didn’t do its part.
37 minutes and 23 seconds.
That’s how long the Denver offense went without scoring a point the rest of the game after Brandon McManus split the uprights to put them ahead 10-0 late in the first half. In the second half, the Broncos offense went punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception on their possessions to end the game. You really can’t make up how bad this group is. The play-calling isn’t creative, Wilson has no time to throw and the “stars” aren’t making any plays.
Wilson was under constant pressure against the Titans, getting sacked six times and escaping a handful of others. Yes, the offensive line is insanely beat up, but these guys are still NFL players. They should be able to block someone, not act like a turnstile. That happened far too often in Nashville.
As has been mentioned time and again, Wilson isn’t going anywhere. So head coach Nathaniel Hackett and offensive coordinator Justin Outten better figure it out, or leave town.
Melvin Gordon fumbled again on Sunday. The Broncos got lucky (twice) that it didn’t count.
First of all, the referees blew their whistles way too early and ruled him down by contact. The ball was clearly coming out when Gordon was hit, and Denver was fortunate the zebras missed it.
Second, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was asleep at the wheel. How did he not throw his red challenge flag and at least have the replay officials take a look? It was in the first half. Worst case he loses a timeout, which we all know are not nearly as critical as second half timeouts.
But the larger issue here remains, why is Gordon still on the Broncos? He’s a fumbling machine and has been his whole tenure in Denver. And even though he’s “corrected” the issue the last few weeks, he’s simply not an effective running back any more. He had just seven carries for 24 yards on Sunday, a paltry 3.4 yards per attempt. That number was inflated by an 11-yard scamper.
This is on GM George Paton for re-signing Gordon this offseason and then not cutting him after his four early season fumbles. It’s also on Hackett, who inexplicably gave Gordon his starting job back after pouting against the Chargers. Hackett is playing with fire every time he gives Gordon the football, and it nearly burned him again on Sunday.
It’s on Paton to fix this. Today. Now. Cut Gordon. And if he won’t, it’s time for CEO Greg Penner to get involved. Gordon is far too much of a liability, without any of the explosiveness that once made him a good NFL back.