After the 34-27 loss on November 8, there was no shortage of candidates — among them quarterback Drew Lock, head coach Vic Fangio, team executive John Elway and a less prominent whipping boy, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Some online jokesters also pointed fingers at COVID-19, and that's understandable. As of November 4, the Broncos became an official novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with at least seven positive cases — and that may not include Elway and fellow exec Joe Ellis, whose diagnoses were announced last week. As a result, a slew of coaches and players (notably defensive stalwart Shelby Harris) didn't participate against the Falcons.
Of course, nearly every NFL franchise is reeling from COVID-19 right now, and because the NFL has seemingly decided that it's not going to postpone or cancel games for anything less than a plague of biblical proportions, they're having to take part in the equivalent of pandemic scramble drills, too. So this excuse is a non-starter, particularly given that the Broncos have made a habit of sleepwalking through the first half of games, as happened again on Sunday.
Indeed, Atlanta was on top 27-6 until the early moments of the fourth quarter, when receiver Jerry Jeudy, who seems to be rounding into form, snagged a touchdown pass from Lock. And while the Broncos found the end zone twice more before the final whistle, they gave up another score to the Falcons and didn't leave themselves enough time to notch the equalizer.
Afterward, Shurmur was put on blast for Denver's offensive ineptitude during the first three quarters, as were Lock, Fangio, Elway and pretty much anyone else who works regularly on that side of the ball. And the fact that Twitter users couldn't settle on a single villain suggests that the problem is even more complex than anyone cares to acknowledge.
Here are our picks for the most memorable post-game tweets.
2 things I have to say to Broncos fans— Lava (@InvictusLava) November 9, 2020
1. The reason we do so much better in the second half is because the play calling is more loose and lock does what he wants
2. If your mad at the team and say we suck ok leave now but don't be coming back next yer when everyone is healthy
You know how I can tell Broncos fans suck, because Lock will have the same game two weeks in a row, maybe even a better one this week, and Broncos fans will shit on him the one they lose, but not the one they win. Especially considering the glaring flaws around him.— Colin Wilson (@ebleau_26) November 9, 2020
God himself cursed our team with injuries and other things. So I'm not mad at our team losing I hate that half our team is either on covid reserve or IR ... This season sucks .— Jordanthelam19 (@jordanthelam19) November 9, 2020
PART 1— James (@JamesWise1121) November 9, 2020
Things the Broncos need to do:
1. Fire Tom McMahon
2. Fire Pat Shurmur
3. Fresh start from the top, might be time for Elway to go
4. Fix the Ownership dispute. Love Pat Bowlen but his daughters are not the move
If people don’t blame Vic y’all clueless— (@Broncos__21) November 8, 2020
too late for all this shit smfh @Broncos— tim (@_timmmmy) November 8, 2020
Lock sucks...sorry— Joseph Hogen (@JosephHogen) November 8, 2020
When the Broncos needed urgency and plays, it was too late. When they needed to go fast, they were down too much. When defense needed to step up, it was already down a lot. This team is just not able to find any type of consistent play whatsoever. Time to wonder again...— Logan Hesselius (@LoganHesselius) November 8, 2020
Do the broncos just enjoy getting coaches that just suck insanely bad? Like there has to be good coaches out there but we just go no where near them— Cole (@CCaused) November 8, 2020
I do not want to hear about no damn practice and the real game is two different things. At the end of the day everybody have to step up and start playing good ball. @DrewLock23 no more dancing until you and Pat get this offense rolling. I can not blame John— KEVJR (@Jr10Kev) November 9, 2020
I do not blame Lock for this. I think defensive injuries mixed with some poor team play overall is what led to this loss. Broncos have to learn to start games with some more intensity and I put that on the coaching staff.— Ben Thedford (@IRL_Squidward) November 8, 2020
Fuckn @Broncos suck. And it sux— Big Chris (@AlejandreCa) November 9, 2020
Broncos should just blame there poor play on Trump— Outfield1988 (@outfield1988) November 8, 2020
If you blame lock do not call yourself a broncos fan.— MilehighMac official Youtube (@MilehighMac0) November 8, 2020
I 100% blame Broncos season on injuries and poor coaching. You have a young team and this coaching staff isn’t helping them at all.— Mike Curmi (@MikeCurmi) November 8, 2020
Regarding the Broncos: This is a coaching/Elway problem. Elway has proven over and over again that he’s unfit for the position he holds within the organization. He displays a complete lack of ability to evaluate or develop talent, and that includes choosing good coaches.— Mark Thomas (@themarkthomas) November 8, 2020
Life just isn’t as much fun when the Broncos suck— D-Line Co. (@DLineCo) November 8, 2020