The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: End of first half absolutely kills Broncos

Nov 20, 2022, 6:45 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm
Melvin Gordon...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Every time you think it can’t get worse, it does.

The Broncos found a new, rip-your-heart-out way of losing on Sunday, this time to the hated Raiders. Denver dropped its third overtime contest of the season, 22-16, moving to 0-3 this season in games that went beyond regulation.

They’re now 3-7 and dead last in the AFC West. There’s no top draft pick to look forward to in 2023, as Denver’s first-round selection will be headed to Seattle. This is about as miserable as it gets for fans of this once proud franchise.

How did it happen and what were the biggest takeaways? Let’s dive into it with our 10th edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

The offense actually looked pretty smooth out of the gate. With Klint Kubiak now calling plays instead of Nathaniel Hackett, the group appeared more fluid and less clunky. Russell Wilson marched Denver down the field on their first possession of the game, hitting Kendall Hinton for a big gain before Latavius Murray punched in an easy touchdown.

But the Broncos couldn’t produce anything more than field goals the rest of the way. Even with Kubiak at the helm, things once again slowed down. Although, they should have had points at the end of the first half. With a 10-7 lead and the offense knocking on the door, Melvin Gordon fumbled again, crushing any opportunity for another TD.

It zapped the energy and momentum out of the stadium and ended Denver’s hopes of taking a double-digit lead into the locker room. To add insult to injury, Brandon McManus had his chip-shot field goal blocked and the Broncos came away with no points at all. People will remember the gut-wrenching way the game ended in OT, but the final moments of the first half absolutely killed the Broncos.

The Bad

The defense had its second t0ugh game of the year. And they’ve both come against the Raiders.

Derek Carr threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to All-Pro Davante Adams. Not everything was stud cornerback Pat Surtain II’s fault, but he had his worst game of the season. Adams went off 141 yards on seven catches and was the best player on the football field.

Josh Jacobs continues to befuddle the Broncos for whatever reason as well. One week after shutting down Derrick Henry, Jacobs looked like the top rusher on the planet. He racked up 109 yards on the ground on an average of 4.5 yards per carry. Every time it felt like Denver might get off the field, Jacobs rumbled for another critical first down.

They only gave up 16 points in regulation, which should be enough to win, but the defense can and will be better. That’s a hard critique given how outstanding they’ve been this year, but Sunday wasn’t their best.

The Ugly

Who else is sick of this?

Sick of this team, sick of this coaching staff and sick of the insane ways they find to lose week after week. On Sunday, it was giving the ball back to the Raiders up 16-13 with about 110 seconds to go. After the two-minute warning, Las Vegas was out of timeouts and the Broncos had a third-and-10 in their own territory.

Rather than run the ball to burn another 45 seconds, Kubiak and Hackett let Wilson throw it. The play never had a chance, and Wilson threw a killer incompletion that stopped the clock. In his postgame press conference, Hackett said that can’t happen. Even if a pass was short of the sticks, it needed to be completed and keep the clock moving.

Instead, Denver punted, Carr marched the Raiders down the field and nearly won it. The Broncos defense held them to a short field goal, but tied it at 16, and another OT loss felt inevitable. Las Vegas won the coin toss, and that was that.

It’s not shocking the Broncos lost again. It’s not even shocking how they lost. But it’s okay to be sick of it, because these 10 games have been some of the most painful to watch in team history.



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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: End of first half absolutely kills Broncos