The Denver Broncos broke new ground on Sunday, September 15, by finding a new way to lose. According to ESPN Radio, the squad became the first team since the two-point-conversion rule went into effect circa 1994 to take the lead in the fourth quarter on such a play after trailing by one point...and still taste defeat when the final whistle blew.
And it took only about thirty seconds for it to all go to hell.
After the Chicago Bears walked off Empower Field at Mile High (sounds tortured, doesn't it?), savoring their bizarre 16-14 victory following a 53-yard field goal by instant Illinois hero Eddy Piñeiro Jr., Broncos loyalists took to Twitter to vent their spleen. An enormous number of them decided the referees caused the defeat by way of a ludicrous roughing-the-passer penalty called on Bradley Chubb as the clock wound down — most of them forgetting that a similarly bogus foul had been called on the Bears earlier in the tilt. But there was plenty of blame to go around.
Let's start with head coach Vic Fangio, whose recent experience as defensive coordinator with the Bears resulted in a grand total of zero sacks. And while the defense as a whole surrendered just one touchdown (and three field goals) over the course of four quarters, the outfit was going up against a quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, who looks like the second coming of Paxton Lynch. Worse, the D still had a chance to seal a Broncos win after the aforementioned two-pointer simply by preventing a completion with single digits on the clock. Instead, the vaunted crew surrendered a 25-yarder that gave Piñeiro a chance — and unlike double-doinker Cody Parkey last year, he cashed in.
Then there's offensive lineman Garrett Bolles, who struck us as Denver's riskiest number-one draft pick since Tim Tebow when he was selected in 2017 — and after another putrid display in which he produced mainly holding penalties and fan agony, he's looking more and more like a mega-bust. But the O-line as a whole was consistently mediocre, failing to open nearly enough holes for running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman — and that forced new QB Joe Flacco to throw the ball a dumbfounding fifty times. That's a recipe for futility, and the Broncos cooked up extra servings.
Even team executive John Elway was taken to task for failing to assemble a unit capable of challenging for the playoffs — and if Number 7 is in the crosshairs, no one is safe.
Does the Broncos' 0-2 start mean the team should tank for Tua (a reference to Alabama hurler Tua Tagovailoa, expected to be the top pick in next year's draft)? Plenty of Twitter users are already thinking along those lines, which demonstrates just how little confidence they have in Denver's odds of turning around a season that already smells like an epic stinker. Peruse our picks for the twenty most memorable tweets about the game to see what we mean:
Thank god denver won that ring, cause you’d be hard pressed to find another team more fucked than the broncos. They’re a total disaster with no vision. Just tank. Get Herbert or Tua and FINALLY start over— treize khushrenada (@projectksl) September 16, 2019
I think Mase hit the nail on the head earlier. The Broncos had enough issues that it's simplistic to blame it on one thing, whether that be Bolles or the refs. Both were issues. So was Yiadom, the pass rush, Flacco's RZ 'til the last drive, the linebackers... pic.twitter.com/VcU369K9x4— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 16, 2019
Of course Flacco Stan’s would Blame Broncos O-line and defense. They said the same shit here in Baltimore the past 7 years— Hot Bob Summer (@bemorelovely) September 16, 2019
What if.. and I’m just spitballing here.. but what if the Broncos just don’t have very good players? You can only blame the coaches so much. They have a terrible oline again and 0 depth. That’s on Elway. He has done a piss poor job drafting his entire tenure with the team.— Small Ball (@danabischoff) September 16, 2019
I don't fully agree with all of the takes saying that if you don't want the game to come down to a penalty like the one called on Chubb, just 'play better' the rest of the game.— Sayre Bedinger (@SayreBedinger) September 16, 2019
The Broncos played well enough to win this game. It's fair to blame the loss on a bad call
Denver Broncos fans all yelling at one another about who or what is to blame for our bum ass team. pic.twitter.com/dFIgZqkqM5— Kevin (@Kevi_YoYo) September 15, 2019
Not surprised so many voted offense. Broncos fans will blame Flacco for anything. Defense is obviously the issue.— Jered Garcia (@jered_85) September 15, 2019
I'm not going to be hypocritical. Sure you could blame the game on the refs but the fact is the Broncos lost. Couldn't get any meaningful pressure on Mitch. Killer penalties, bad O line play. Also Joe Flacco how about you play that well throughout the entire game and not just— Eric Jensen (@Eric18utah) September 15, 2019
Guys. I NEVER blame the refs. Ever. The @Broncos were robbed in that game. Atrocious roughing the passer call followed by the fastest timeout call in human history. Explain yourself @NFLOfficiating. Garbage. #broncoscountry— Jeremy Alexander (@Jeremy_Alexandr) September 15, 2019
I always hate seeing the broncos get fucked over by the refs…… shit fuckin hurts— Sign Hall (@NJD_Broncos_avs) September 16, 2019
Well @Broncos got fucked over in the last 31 seconds so that’s fun— Emily Evonne (@emily_evonne) September 16, 2019
Broncos got fucked over per usual https://t.co/Yivtviwgb4— JUDE CLAW (@MarcellusESQ) September 15, 2019
@byeline. Let’s Get Real. This is John Elways fault , there I said what this fan base can’t bring themselves to say . Our 35+ years of love for him makes it hard to lay it all at his Feet. He put this mess together. If the Broncos had a Owner he would’ve been fired a year ago .— CEO45 (@650_7663) September 16, 2019
Lots of Broncos fans are now talking “tank for Tua.” Aside form the fact this isn’t Flacco’s fault...if the Broncos and the Dolphins go 0-16 does it come down to points against differential to get the #1 pick. I honestly don’t know.— Michael St James (@michaelstjames) September 16, 2019
They need to score touchdowns, not field goals. They shouldn't have let themselves get into a hole that deep the whole game. So, their own fault.— Tommy Pagano (@tommypagano) September 15, 2019
1 touchdown all game, INT thrown in the red zone, 3 holding penalties on ONE player in a half....it’s our fault no matter how bullshit that TO was— Trade Garett Bolles for a Bag of Chips (0-2) (@KT2Three) September 15, 2019
The Broncos don't have the mix right at the moment. It happens. To let go of all their experience is just reactionary bullshit. But please carry on.— Kernpuff (@Kernpuff) September 16, 2019
A preview of #Denver sports talk radio today. All day:#Broncos suck.— D.K. Williams (@BlueCarp) September 10, 2019
Broncos are doomed.
Broncos should lose on purpose to draft Tua next year.
Trade Miller for draft picks.
I think that covers it.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.