Curran's Know Thine Enemy: Rocky Mountain low for Broncos
The Denver Broncos
Last week: 51-23 loss at Eagles
Last three: 0-3 (Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers)
2016 record: 9-7
Coach: Vance Joseph
Offensive coordinator: Mike McCoy
Defensive coordinator: Joe Woods
Extreme nosedive in progress under first-year coach Vance Joseph. Denver’s lost four in a row beginning with a Sunday night loss to the hapless Giants at Mile High and chased by three more to the Chargers (21-0 shutout), Chiefs and Eagles (51 points surrendered). Former starter Trevor Siemian imploded after a 3-1 start. He threw eight picks in a five-game stretch before being yanked in favor of Brock Osweiler last week. Osweiler came in and played like Osweiler has in virtually every game except for the 2015 upset of the Patriots in the snow during the regular season (thanks, Chris Harper).
Hmmm. Well, it’s been said Denver has 300 days of sunshine per year. But that’s not entirely true. I’m reaching. You can’t give up 51 and lose four in a row and have people willingly shining that turd. Bottom line. So let’s talk defense and personnel because that does remain “good.” Defensively, the Broncos – prior to the 51 allowed – were one of the best in the league in points per game. They remain the best in the league on third down (26.67). They’re fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (88.4) and second in yards per rush allowed (3.46). Defensive end Derek Wolfe, nose tackle Domata Peko, outside linebacker Von Miller, linebacker Brandon Marshall and corners Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby are the staple players in the Denver 3-4.
Effort. And attitude. As Wolfe said after the loss to the Eagles, "We're just tired of it," Wolfe said. "It's like if one thing goes wrong, it's like the whole thing just crumbles. And that's where leadership has to step in. We have to do a better job of leading. I can't keep going through losses like this," Wolfe said. "It's breaking my heart, because the whole time I've been here, we've been winning. We've always found a way to win, and this kills me." And quarterback play. And protection. And health at the skill positions as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are both banged up.
This is something the Broncos definitely have in their favor. This will be the 10th time the Patriots and Broncos have played since 2011. The Patriots are 6-3 in the previous meetings but four of the past five have been in Denver and the Broncos have 20-18 and 26-16 AFC Championship Game wins and a 30-24 regular-season overtime win over the Pats in that span.