Opinion Time: What is your take on the Denver’s overtime loss last weekend to Kansas City?
Sentinel Sports Columnist
Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs cemented what I’ve suspected for a long time: the Denver Broncos are not Super Bowl material.
Although they have a more-than-respectable defense, it is not on par with what they had last year. They miss Malik Jackson and his pressure on the passer from the inside. It should also be noted that Jackson was above average as a run stopper.
As Kansas City proved in the late going when Von Miller was gassed, the Broncos can be picked apart, even occasionally run over as happened against Oakland.
Then, there’s that offense, doomed to struggle when trying to control the football thanks to the worst offensive line in the league.
The Broncos have five games remaining in the regular season. By my reckoning, they will be underdogs in three of them — in Kansas City and at home against New England and Oakland.
Barring upsets, they finish 9-7. That won’t get them a playoff spot, let alone a second straight Super Bowl.
Sentinel Sports Editor
What a bizarre game. It shows that the clock is more important than TDs sometimes. Firstly, I totally agree with Kubiak going for the field goal in OT. What fan wants to watch a tie unfold without trying to win? Maybe a half a win is better but look up “half a loaf” in Broncos’ history and tell me you’d be happy with a tie.
The Kansas City loss again demonstrated the flaws of this Denver team. A good defense that struggles against the run. But that’s super minor compared to the glaring weaknesses of the offense.
The offensive line is atrocious at times, mediocre at best and that’s only about 35 percent of the time. The running game — a mandatory component in Kubiak’s offense — is as consistent as pond scum. Oh yeah, and there’s the 15 penalties against the Chiefs!
Right now, this is an average team teetering on the edge of the playoffs and with five games left, Denver has lots of work to do. Three on the road, including a trip to K.C., and two at home against the two top teams in the AFC right now.
Lots of work. A flawed defending champion that really needs to win at least four of five to make the playoffs.
Sentinel Sports Reporter
I — like many of you — spent 2011-14 criticizing the play calling of former Broncos head coach John Fox. He’d play not to lose games with his ultra-conservative play calling and drive many fans insane.
What happened Sunday night, regardless of the game’s outcome, is the type of play call you have to live with if you criticized Fox for all those years.
Was it the right call to attempt an insanely long field goal in overtime to potentially win a game? Maybe. A 62-yarder is do-able in Denver’s thin air. There’s also a case to be made for going for it on fourth down — another gutsy call — or, gag, punting your way to a tie. But these kinds of calls, the riverboat gambler calls that exude stupid amounts of confidence in the players on the field, that’s what I like to see.
This game made crystal clear many of the flaws in Denver’s offense that we already knew were there. The offensive line, outside of center Matt Paradis, is worthless. Quarterbacking is mediocre at best and special teams needs a kick in the butt.
The fact that the game came down to an overtime field goal against a pretty solid Chiefs team is a minor miracle. That’s how poorly the Broncos played. Denver didn’t deserve to be in that spot and Gary Kubiak tried to seize the one chance the Broncos had at taking a division game that hopefully wasn’t a must-win. He’s definitely not at fault for making that call.
Sentinel Sports Coy Editor/Designer
I applaud Gary Kubiak for trying to win the game, but I would have gone for it on fourth down. A 62-yard field goal is a long kick and a miss, as we saw, gives the opponent fantastic field position. If Denver goes for it on fourth-and-10, two things could have happened — they pick up the first down and move closer for a Brandon McManus kick or they don’t get it and Kansas City has at least eight more yards they have to get to be in field goal range.
I put this loss, like Aqib Talib said, on the defense. If you tout yourself as the best D in the NFL — as the Bronco defenders do — you must stop a team with only two weapons from moving down the field. Don’t play prevent defense, keep doing what worked for the first 57 minutes of the game. Double Travis Kelce with Talib and a safety and put Chris Harris on Tyreek Hill and make Alex Smith find someone else to beat you.
As everyone else said, the offensive line was exposed again and needs to be addressed in the offseason. The right tackle position is a mess. The Broncos clearly thought Ty Sambrailo was better than Donald Stephenson, but I think John Elway and Kubiak need to admit Sambrailo is a bust and move on. The offense showed it is better than last year’s model, but the defense needs to be better.
I still think the Broncos make the playoffs — albeit as a wild-card team. Once Denver gets into the postseason, the other AFC teams need to watch out.