Sometimes you just can’t say anything at all in the way of an explanation for what we have watched.
The National Football League is structured for parity. We all know that, and most games reflect scores that show one team that barely won and one that barely lost, with a half-dozen scenarios that could have changed the result, sometimes several times over.
But once in a while we witness a game that just starts off bad, gets worse, and before we know it is not even recognizable as being representative of the way we expect a team to play.
There is no sense in looking back at the Chargers game with any eye toward saying that if this had happened, or that had happened, the results would be different.
In 1940 the Washington Redskins had the best record in the NFL at 9-2 and won the Eastern Division title, facing the Western Division-winning Chicago Bears, who had been 8-3, for the league title.
The Bears won that game, 73-0, not only the most lopsided score in pro football history, but one which came in the championship game to add to the Redskins’ embarrassment.
Early in the game a Washington receiver dropped a sure touchdown pass from Redskins’ Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh, and after the game reporters asked Baugh if he thought the game would have been different had that ball been caught.
“Sure,” Baugh deadpanned. “It would have been 73-7.”
From start to finish, the Broncos’ game against San Diego was one of the worst in team history, and some of the other “worsts” came back in the early 1960′s, when Denver was a ragtag team ill-prepared to face early American Football League powerhouse like San Diego and Kansas City.
In a blog last week, I wrote that this series has produced some of the Broncos’ most “interesting” games — I guess we have another addition to that list in the series ledger between the two teams.
At halftime Sunday the San Diego PR staff called the Elias Sports Bureau, official statisticians for the NFL, and got confirmation of what they had suspected: the halftime margin yesterday was the largest in Chargers history for any game played in Denver.
Who would have thought the carnage would get worse in the second half?
But it did, and there are not many solutions for the average observer to come up with.
One thing is for sure–the Broncos’ bye week could not have come at a better time.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and clear your head before getting ready for the next challenge.
The good and bad of pro sports is that no matter what you have just demonstrated, you have to go there and do it all over again in your next game.
Win or lose. Or lose real bad.
Champ Bailey said something quite true after the game.
Without trying to sugarcoat anything, Champ pointed out that the NFL brings almost every team back to the middle, and by the last couple of weeks of the season sure winners are fighting to hold on while long-ago abandoned teams are playing their way back into the playoff races.
It does nothing to settle our stomachs today, but that truly does happen every year.
For now, all we can do is try to get away a bit during the bye week, and a mental vacation in this case is as good as a physical one.
There are no answers in this corner, just the knowledge that the calendar and schedules are absolutes.
Every remaining game, one at a time, is a chance to improve and fix things, no matter how many might today seem irreparable.
And there is no joy in statistics today, but the Broncos’ division has three teams that are 2-3, and one, Oakland, which is 2-2 after their bye this past week.
As has been true evermore, the future is not in the past.