By Rick Brown
The Broncos (3-6) were unable to turn things around when the New England Patriots (7-2) came to town on Sunday. Denver recorded its fifth loss in a row after falling to the Patriots, 41-16.
New England got off to a fast start when the Broncos special teams gave up a touchdown and two turnovers. It was not until the third quarter that the Broncos offense managed to score its first touchdown of the evening, while the Broncos defense did not show up to play at all. The coaching staff continued to look lost as they failed to get the team to perform as one unit. The Broncos needed a near-flawless performance to have a chance against the Patriots, but instead a game full of mistakes cost them a victory.
Offense – C
Broncos starting quarterback Brock Osweiler got off to a quick start and drove the team to a field goal on the Broncos’ first full possession. Osweiler threw the ball often to Emmanuel Sanders, who missed the last two weeks with a sprained ankle, and the Broncos were able to move the ball between the 20s, but they only put up nine points in the first half of the game.
The first drive of the second half started off well as the Broncos drove down the field and into the red zone. Osweiler threw his first touchdown of the night to Demaryius Thomas, but it was too little, too late. Denver racked up a bunch of yardage after the game was well decided.
Defense – D
For a second week in a row, the Broncos defense didn’t show up to play. After a turnover on special teams, the Broncos defense had to defend a short field and were unable to stop the Patriots’ running backs from going up 7-0 at the start.
The Broncos defense is clearly not the same unit they were at the beginning of the season, and for a second week they gave up more than 40 points. The Patriots were able to move the ball up and down the field. Tom Brady had a good night with 297 yards passing and the Patriots rushing attack put up 99 yards.
The Broncos secondary did not have an answer for Rob Gronkowski, as he had four catches for 74 yards. It appears the defense is fading down the stretch.
Special Teams – F
The Broncos made too many mistakes on special teams. After Denver’s defense was able to hold the Patriots offense, Isaiah McKenzie started the game by muffing the first punt. Denver’s special teams did not perform well and allowed a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown.
During the second quarter, the Patriots were able to get to Broncos punter Riley Dixon and block one of his punts. During the fourth quarter, the special teams had 12 men on the field and provided an additional first down for Brady the Patriots offense leading to another touchdown.
Coaching – D
Denver did not come out as a full squad against the Patriots. The offense was able to score some points, but the defense and the special teams did not perform well. It seems as though at least one part of the the Broncos team continues to make mistakes on any given night, and it has a cascading effect on the team as a whole. After the slow start and a few mistakes on special teams, the Broncos offense and defense were playing from behind. The coaching staff needs to start taking chances now that the Broncos have lost six games and the playoffs seem like a stretch. There are a lot of problems on this team, and Denver will look to turn the ship around next week against another underachieving team.
The Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) will play the Denver Broncos (3-6) next week. The Bengals are coming off a last-minute loss to the Tennessee Titans (6-3), while the Broncos are coming off another blowout loss against the Patriots. Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton will look to get Cincinnati back on track against the Broncos, while Denver will try to figure out what is causing the team to lose so badly. These two sub-500 teams should make for some exciting football.