Freud: Several days later and it’s still mystifying how the Broncos lost
1. Chiefs (5-1) … They weren’t going 16-0.
2. Eagles (5-1) … Big win in Carolina.
3. Patriots (4-2) … Reports of their demise were premature.
4. Steelers (4-2) … They have the tools.
5. Vikings (4-2) … The door is open in the NFC North.
1. Browns (0-6) … Not close to a win.
2. Niners (0-6) … Closer to a win.
3. Colts (2-4) … Not only bad, but boring.
4. Chargers (2-4) … The Spanos family deserves this.
5. Raiders (2-4) … Getting that gagging feeling.
Wow. The Broncos have got to stop viewing gimmes as gimmes.
Seriously, if I had said the Broncos were 3-2 before the season, then you would have told me those two losses were the Cowboys and the Raiders.
The Bills and the Giants?
Let’s start with the general points of concern:
• Denver’s got to bring it week in, week out. They took the Giants lightly, as did we all. Of course, we weren’t playing the game, so it’s more on the team.
• Trevor Siemian got hurt in a Terrell Davis-like situation. That probably produced some unwanted flashbacks. He’s also having some issues. He threw two more picks, one for six, against the Giants. He has eight touchdowns and six interceptions this season.
The Broncos just need him not to stink. Two of the last three games, he’s been a negative.
• The Broncos are dinged up one game after their bye week. Emannuel Sanders is already out for the Chargers game. Demaryius Thomas and Menelik Watson haven’t practiced this week, but could be available.
• The Broncos’ defense had the best rushing defense in the league. Everyone knew the Giants would run because they had no available wide receivers. And the Giants ran successfully against the Broncos.
Orleans Darkawa — who? — carried the ball 21 times for 117 yards. New York did this with tight-end heavy sets. The Broncos can anticipate more of this look until they show they can stop it.
• In fairness, the Giants have a great defense and they shut down the Broncos. Denver got nothing going on the ground, totaling all of 46 yards on 17 carries. Denver became one-dimensional as Siemian threw the ball 50 times, which is just not going to work.
Jason Pierre-Paul had three of New York’s four sacks. He’s a beast, yes, but the Broncos, after the Chargers, face the Chiefs and the Eagles, who both have good defenses.
• While it wasn’t a game breaker, kicker Brandon McManus isn’t right. He missed a 35-yarder against the Giants and had a 54-yarder blocked. A kick of 50-plus being blocked isn’t a disaster. But McManus has missed two chip shots at home this year. Anything under 40 yards in Denver should be automatic.
• Broncos fans were doubtless delighted — maybe — to see Brock Osweiler in relief. Hey, he’s cheap. The Browns are picking up all that money that Houston originally gave him. It does beg the question of whether he’s an alternative if Siemian continues to struggle. Osweiler knows the system and the personnel.
Either that, or the Broncos could just sign Colin Kaepernick. (Just kidding, happy letter writers.)
• Dear Broncos, please do not take the Chargers lightly this week.
• Oh, the carnage: Aaron Rodgers is done for the season with a collar-bone injury. That changes the entire NFC picture. Jameis Winston also got dinged up. Just remember all these injuries when the NFL proposes expanding the season to 18 games.
• The 1972 Dolphins popped their champagne last week after the Chiefs took their first loss of the season to Pittsburgh. That’s not a bad loss for K.C., especially after the Broncos coughed up a fur ball later that day. The Chiefs still lead the AFC West by one-and-a-half games.
• Did anyone actually watch the Titans and Colts on “Monday Night Football?” Wow, that was a bad game selection. For the record I napped after getting in 36 holes in this weekend. The good news is that we have better primetime games this week. It’s the Chiefs at Raiders on Thursday, Oct. 19; Falcons at Patriots on Sunday, Oct. 21, and a very intriguing game, Eagles at Redskins on Monday, Oct. 22.
On to Week 7.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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