The Broncos offense went 69 yards in six plays for a touchdown on the opening drive of last night’s 35-14 loss in San Diego. During its final 11 possessions, Denver picked up 169 yards total and just seven more points.
On Tuesday morning, Head Coach Josh McDaniels gave the Chargers credit for making defensive adjustments that his team never solved.
The head coach said the Chargers, who blitz on about 40 percent of plays, backed off the pressure significantly after the first drive and focused on taking away Kyle Orton’s sideline passing lanes.
“That took some adjusting on their part because they had to leave some of their comfort zone I am sure and go to some different things, but that was something they tried to do and we tried to combat it,” McDaniels said. “We didn’t do it very well, and the game ended up becoming more of a catch up game for us.”
Part of the reason for that success was outside linebacker Shaun Phillips’ success getting pressure on Orton without his team having to send blitzes. Orton’s former college teammate finished with a game-high two sacks and two quarterback hurries.
As the team rapidly fell behind, Denver focused almost exclusively on the pass trying to comeback. The situation created a perfect storm for San Diego’s defensive scheme to thrive.
The Broncos mustered a season-low 235 yards of total offense and converted just 1-of-12 third-down opportunities.
After the game-opening score, the visitors never sustained a drive longer than 39 yards, allowing the Chargers to score 35 unanswered points during one stretch and ensuring Denver headed home with its seventh loss of the season.
“There are things we can do better, no doubt about it in the game that we didn’t do last night very well,” McDaniels said. “But, again, they made some adjustments and they worked because of the guys they had and made them go.”
McDaniels ruled Andre’ Goodman, Demaryius Thomas and Darcel McBath out for Sunday’s game against St. Louis at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
Goodman has missed six of the past eight games due to injury. Thomas and McBath were injured in yesterday’s loss to the Chargers.
McDaniels also discussed the choice not to play Robert Ayers in San Diego, calling it “a tough decision.”
McDaniels said he was worried Ayers would not have been able to make it through the entire game, which could have compromised the team’s defensive gameplan and even had an impact on special teams personnel.
Ayers, who practiced on a limited basis last week and came into the game questionable, has missed five games with a foot injury. McDaniels said Ayers is eager to get back onto the field, and the head coach looks forward to getting back his starting outside linebacker soon.
“(Ayers is) a competitive person,” McDaniels said. “He’s missed playing for a number of weeks now and wants to get back out there and help his team. It isn’t an easy decision to decide that the best thing is to not play him for a number of different reasons. But, I’ll give him credit — he went out there and worked hard in the pregame warm-ups and then wanted to play. But I just don’t think that was the best thing for us last night.”
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com