The Broncos lose, and the message is the same
October 11, 2016
This really could be an "I told you so" column.
Call it more of "I sort of told you so" column.
I told you last week that you assume nothing in the NFL and this is why.
Atlanta Falcons 23, Denver Broncos 16.
To be fair, I put this more under the category of the Broncos laying an egg, and not time to panic. There's a reason teams don't go 16-0 or 0-16, for that matter. During 16 games in 17 weeks, you're going to have a clunker — which this was for the Broncos. (And usually bad teams are going to run into a win — Niners 28, Rams 0 in Week 1).
"Weekly reminder that the Broncos will easily make the playoffs. Bucs, Falcons, Chargers next 3 weeks. 6-0," wrote one of my favorite readers a week or so ago.
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This is what assumption gets you.
Are the Broncos doomed? Of course, not. Maybe Broncos fans start to worry if they don't turn it around on Thursday against San Diego. (Then, it's a minor panic.)
This is, perhaps, why I wasn't all gung-ho about the Broncos with their young quarterbacks. Statistically, the numbers were OK, but Paxton Lynch looked very much like a rookie starting his first game.
We'll see if Trevor Siemian comes back on this short week. He says he's playing, according to yahoo.com. NFL.com says it's "game-time decision."
The NFL and/or any pro sport are games of adjustments. The Denver defense, which is excellent, got touched a bit. Does that unit make adjustments? Probably.
Can Lynch make some adjustments, albeit on a quick turnaround, a tall order for a rookie? Does the league start to make changed in its collective approach to Siemian when he returns? Yes.
Back to one of the original questions of the season, "Will the Broncos have enough of a rushing game to keep the pressure off their young quarterbacks and not have their defense on the field all the time?" No one can answer that question.
The NFL is a kaleidoscope, ever changing from week to week.
This is why you don't go nuts after a win. This is why you don't overreact after a loss.
The Broncos remain here. See? This is an application of The Don't Overreact Rule.
Meanwhile, the Patriots and Steelers also stay here. New England, of course, got Tom Brady back last week, and life is better in Pats Nation.
The Steelers continue to look good, despite wearing those bumblebee throw-backs. By the way, I'm a fan of wearing garish gear while rooting for my teams, but really?
And since they're now the only undefeated team in the league, we grudgingly move the Vikings into this category. This comes with our weekly caveat that Minnesota has to keep Sam Bradford upright. He's good when healthy, but he's only played a full season twice in six years.
The Packers continue to win rather quietly. Under the radar is fine.
Not so fast
Remember when we were all laughing at the Buffalo Bills and their 0-2 start. They've won three straight. The Ravens started 3-0, and have crashed back to earth. Carson Wentz is still not the second coming after the Eagles lost to the Lions, 24-23.
The Cowboys are 4-1! No sale, yet. The Raiders are 4-1! No sale, yet, but I see a little more upside in Oakland.
And, yes, the Panthers looked awful on Monday. Chill. The NFC South ain't great and the Falcons may fall back to the packs. They did start 4-0 last year and finished 8-8.
How did the Niners ever win in Week 1? Mark your calendars, everyone, for Dec. 4 and San Francisco at Chicago in the Toilet Bowl.
And can the Browns go 0-16? Will I become the quarterback for the Browns? (Everyone else has played. Why not?) If they lose this week at Tennessee, they schedule gets a little scary for them to join the 2008 Lions.
On to Week 6.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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