To answer the rhetorical question once posed by the late baseball broadcaster Jack Buck, “No, I can’t believe what I just saw.” I am at once amazed while simultaneously mystified at how the Broncos could struggle so mightily against the Patriots.
Clearly the Patriots were ready to play. Their intensity was evident. Their desire was clear. Their execution was nearly flawless.
But this was still a team playing without its star quarterback, Tom Brady. This was still a team whose defense hadn’t shown itself to be dominating.
And the Broncos never gave themselves a chance.
That’s the most maddening part about Monday night’s Boston Massacre, a 41-7 loss to the Patriots in which the Broncos committed five turnovers and couldn’t stop a castoff running back, Sammy Morris, who topped 100 yards in the first half and finished with a career-high 138 rushing yards on the night.
No one person gets the blame for any loss (or any win, for that matter), but when Broncos’ running back Andre Hall fumbled the ball away on Denver’s first possession, a lot of wind went out of the Broncos’ sails. They had been moving the ball steadily and then all of a sudden, they were playing defense.
Whatever wind was left in their sails seemingly disappeared all together when Hall gave the ball away on the Broncos’ second series. Give credit to the Broncos’ defense for holding the Patriots to field goals after those first two giveaways. But the damage was done. I can only imagine what might have been had the Broncos put points on the board on one or both of those first two drives.
The problem is we’ll never know what might have happened. The Broncos did not play well at all and now they get to think about it before trying to turn things around on Sunday, November 2 against Miami.
As someone posted last week, the sky isn’t exactly falling. There is no doubt the Broncos have plenty to fix, with reducing turnovers and finding something resembling a run defense at the top of the list.
But I always look for the bright spot, and the fact remains the Broncos are still leading the AFC West. I agree that’s not the greatest accomplishment given the relative mediocrity of the division, but it is true nonetheless. What is also true is the fact that the Broncos have to play better football.
They get a week to lick their wounds, clear their heads, and refocus before trying to turn talk into action. The bye comes at a great time. Some key players have a chance to heal up and everyone can take a moment to exhale and return ready to make a playoff push over the final nine games.
The season is hardly lost. In fact, it is just getting started. There is no great team in the NFL. Who thought the Tennessee Titans would be the last remaining undefeated team? Who thought the Chargers would be 3-4, the Colts 3-3, the Cowboys 4-3 and reeling, and the Bills 5-1?
That’s what I thought. Not too many hands are raised.
But let’s forget about all the other teams. The Broncos have plenty of things to straighten out.
Given what happened Monday night, a few days off sounds like a great place to start.
Now that the bye week is here, what non-football fun can you recommend to the Broncos to clear their minds?
Have a great week enjoying the other NFL games. Early next week, I’ll look ahead to the rest of the season.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your thoughts.