Sunday, December 20, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game #14 - vs Raiders

Sigh. The Oakland Raiders were too much for the Broncos today.

So, that was humiliating. As I was sitting in Invesco Field today, I couldn't bring myself to believe that the Raiders were really going to beat the Broncos. To be honest, I'm still in a bit of shock and disbelief. In the stages of grief, I'm still in the denial stage. Because, SERIOUSLY, that didn't happen, did it? The Broncos didn't lose to Oakland. I refuse to believe it! I actually may be at anger by now, as I'm ticked that the Broncos actually played THAT badly. Perhaps I even went through bargaining as I look at the logjam of 8 teams vying for the final 2 playoff spots in the AFC. Geez, I'm depressed, there is no way the Broncos are getting in now. Oh well, I guess I better accept it.

Chaz Schilens goes in for the winning touchdown.

And with that, you've just gone through all five stages of grief with me as I process through the horrible loss that now puts the Broncos perilously close to missing the playoffs yet again. In one of the weirdest games that I have ever attended, the Broncos stumbled and bumbled their way to a 20-19 loss to the football-challenged Oakland Raiders.

Part of the weirdness of today...Brandon Marshall pointing out where a laser pointer came from. Apparently some Oakland supporter was flashing a laser in Marshall's eyes. Stay classy, Raiders fans.

Let's recap, this game was terribly bizarre. This game featured a 7 yard punt, a play where Kyle Orton hurried the Broncos to the line on a 2nd and 4 to run a quarterback sneak that got about a yard and a half, there was a screen play that was thrown to an ineligible left tackle, and the game got stopped for about 10 minutes as Brandon Marshall tried pointing out someone in the crowd who tried to shine a laser pointer in his eye, The Raiders had three different quarterbacks throw a pass, and the fat almost universally-regarded as terrible JaMarcus Russell somehow was clutch; converting a 2nd and 25, 4th and 10, and then threw a game winning touchdown in the final minute with his team down by 6.

Charlie "Toothpicks" Frye...not a good NFL quarterback.

Charlie Frye was atrocious. In fact, I nicknamed him "Toothpicks" because his arms and legs are impossibly thin for an NFL quarterback. His best play all day was a naked bootleg which he ran for a stunning 26 yard gain. Throwing the ball he was only 9-17 for 68 yards and an interception. In fact, getting his head slammed to the turf late in the game may have won the game for the Raiders, as JaMarcus Russell had a tremendous day by JaMarcus Russell standards. He went 5-11 for 47 yards and a touchdown. I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty sure those are the best numbers Russell put up all season. I'm just sick about this loss.

Positives from the game:

Broncos Goal Line Stand to end the third quarter: The positives section for the Broncos today is VERY short, but at the end of the third quarter they were leading 16-13 and the Raiders had 1st and Goal at the 3 yard line. On the previous three plays the Raiders moved the ball 86 yards on three basic running plays, yet on the next four rushing attempts, the Broncos kept the Raiders from getting in. It was an impressive stand after a horrible three play sequence that saw Denver's defense gashed by simple runs.

At least we know that Brandon Marshall came to play, the rest of the team? Not so much.

Brandon Marshall: The most exciting player on the Broncos put on another masterful performance with 7 catches for 73 yards and the only Bronco touchdown of the day. Sadly, Marshall cannot do it by himself, and the rest of the offense had a shameful performance.

Matt Prater had a good have to look for positives somewhere on a day as dark as this one.

Matt Prater: He didn't miss a kick, and his kickoffs were booming out of the back of the end zone. Yup, the game was so sad I had to list the kicker as one of the positives.

Negatives from the game:

2.2 yards per carry is not getting it done, Knowshon.

Offense: The offensive line provided Kyle Orton with very poor protection, plus they were unable to get any push into the Raiders offensive line. They were opening no holes for the running game, and it's not like Knowshon Moreno was running very hard even when he did get the chance. Moreno averaged 2.2 yards per carry. When the Broncos got the ball back with a chance to ice the game with less than four minutes remaining, they lost nine yards and took a whopping 30 seconds off of the game clock. The whole Broncos offense was pushed around, and apart from a few big plays, they offense was pretty much atrocious.

Michael Bush was like a hot knife, and the Broncos defense was like butter.

Defense: Pushed around all day, the Raiders almost completely abandoned the passing game because they didn't need to throw the ball, and the three guys they used to actually throw passes were Toothpicks Frye, JaMarcus Russell, and J.P. Losman...I wouldn't throw much either if those were the guys doing the throwing for me. They didn't need the passing game much at all, as they only three for 102 yards all day, but they more than made up for it by rushing for 241 yards on the day. Michael Bush went for 133 yards with a monstrous 7.4 yards per carry. The Broncos defensive line was shoved around almost as badly as their offensive line. It was a sad effort on behalf of the whole team.

How pathetic was the Broncos effort on Sunday? Freaking JaMarcus Russell led Oakland to a comeback win...Need I say more?

The whole stinking effort: I'm not even going to try to assign individual blame, I'm just putting the entire offense and the entire defense on the wall of shame. This was a team loss...almost everyone was terrible. There was no fire or passion, and the Broncos lost to one of the worst teams in the league in convincing fashion.

Final Thought:

The Broncos still control their own destiny, but they MUST defeat both the Chiefs at home (possible and even likely to happen) AND the Eagles on the road (If not impossible, the next closest thing to impossible). The AFC now has eight teams (Broncos, Ravens, Texans, Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, and Steelers) within one game of each other and all of them vying for for the 2 wildcard spots. There is no room for error, there just isn't.

Oh, and if they play like they did today, they have no shot. I now think that the playoffs are a pipe dream. They will finish 9-7 and will miss the playoffs yet again. Then again, After a game like today, this Denver team doesn't deserve the playoffs. I'm just bummed about the way the season has just come off of the tracks after the amazing 6-0 start. Today was yet another reminder that the Broncos really just aren't all that good.

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