Let's call yesterday's loss to the Oakland Raiders what it was for the Broncos: embarrassing and humiliating, possibly the worst loss in Broncos history. There's no way to sugarcoat this loss. This team needs to evaluate itself right now and figure out how to move on. However, if yesterday's game is any indication (and it should be), this team might have already given up on the season. Maybe a road trip to London will do good for the Denver Broncos. It certainly can't get any worse, right?
Here are the top five (of many) problems from yesterday's game:
5. Zach Miller's 43-yard touchdown reception, Kyle Orton's pick-six, Demaryius Thomas fumbles ball
Let's mark this as one event because it all happened within moments of each other. Jason Campbell leads the Raiders from their own 20-yard line to the Broncos' 43-yard line. Campbell takes another snap and finds a wide open Zach Miller who zooms into the end zone without being touched. Game stamp: 10:44.
All right, Kyle Orton is about to lead the Broncos down the field for a--whoops, a throw into double coverage leads to a pick-six by Raiders defensive back Chris Johnson. Game stamp: 10:36
Fine, fine. This is the drive the Broncos start making this a ga--why is Demaryius Thomas rushing the ball and how did he just fumble it? Well, at least the Raiders weren't given a touchdown on that play. Game stamp: This game is over.
Simple mistakes the Broncos should have avoided, but didn't.
4. Letting Darren McFadden run all over the field
Ah, but the Raiders did capitalize on that drive started by the Thomas fumble. Darren McFadden scored a touchdown to finish that drive. And then he kept scoring: a 19-yard touchdown reception, a four-yard touchdown run and a 57-yard touchdown run. McFadden totaled 196 yards, 165 yards on the ground and averaged 10.5 yards per rush. Darren McFadden scored double the points the entire Broncos team managed to put up. When a defense acts like tackle dummies, it's hard for a running back not to put up numbers like that.
3. Kyle Orton
It just wasn't a good game for Orton. He was 12-of-19 for 198 yards and two touchdowns, well off his pace from previous games. Gone is the talk of him breaking the 5,000-yard passing mark. It was a bad individual performance during a bad team performance. It's not time for the Kyle Orton ship to sail, but. . . .
2. Not playing Tim Tebow
I've already written about this in other places, but I still don't understand how a blowout loss is not the time to play Tim Tebow. I'm not looking for a quarterback controversy in Denver, but that's probably McDaniels' reasoning for not putting Tebow into the game. However, all Broncos fans should keep some thought of Tim Tebow starting at some point this season. That's where Tebow's direction looks headed.
So with a Tebow start at quarterback looking more like a question of when rather then if, we'll start to wonder what Kyle Orton can draw in a trade (what with a lockout looking).
1. Where was the anger and the passion?
This was a Broncos-Raiders game: long-time rivals ready to clash and battle it out on the gridiron. None of which happened. The team looked out of it after the Miller touchdown reception and the Orton interception returned for a touchdown. Where was the intensity and hard-hitting tackles? The NFL's new guidelines on that certainly didn't cause this team to lack that fire on defense.
The players are now talking about doing some "soul searching" over the coming week. They'll need plenty of it in order to figure out how to respond on Sunday in London against the San Francisco 49ers. But head coach Josh McDaniels will need to do some soul searching as well, because he probably sees the writing is starting to emerge on the wall: his tenure with the Broncos is on the brink.
What do you have left in the tank, Broncos?