Broncos Europe’s Andrew Lewis reviews the defeat to the New York Giants.
An injury riddled New York Giants team marched into Mile High on Sunday night and rolled over a lacklustre Denver Broncos team. This is one of the worst regular season losses in recent memory, and must act as a wakeup call to the team.
The night started as it would continue, with the Broncos offence stalling.
Despite the Giants missing several defensive starters, the Broncos were unable to open holes in the run game, forcing Denver into unfavourable passing situations.
Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison man-handled the Denver offensive line, which has regressed from a promising start in the first two games of the season. The low point for the Broncos run game came in the fourth quarter, when they were dubiously unable to punch it from the half yard line on fourth down, after a pass interference penalty got them within the 10.
Hampered by a negative game script, Jamaal Charles led the Broncos in rushing with 19 yards on five carries. The good news is that rookie Garrett Bolles showed improvement at the left tackle spot, the bad news is that right tackle remains a challenge, to put it politely.
Trevor Siemian had his worst game of the season, and one of his worst games in a Broncos uniform.
The third year quarterback held the ball too long, looked shaky in the pocket, and tried to force passes into windows which weren’t there.
The result: two interceptions in the first half, including a bad pick six to Janoris Jenkins just before the half. Siemian was not helped by his receivers. Sanders went largely untargeted in the first half, whilst Bennie Fowler III, and tight ends AJ Derby and Virgil Green failed to reel in passes thrown their way.
Demaryius Thomas was close to losing a fumble in the first quarter of the game but was marked down on review. DT would not get away with it again. Jenkins made an incredible play on the football, forcing the fumble immediately as the fourth quarter began on what would have been a fourth and five conversion around midfield.
DT did finish the game with 133 yards on 10 receptions, and was targeted heavily despite being covered by Jenkins for the duration of the game.
Turnovers were one of the biggest storylines in the game with the Broncos giving up the ball three times, although we’re lucky it was not five or six.
Ball security is an issue that must be addressed moving forward after the Giants almost recovered a further two fumbles within the Broncos’ 20.
The Broncos have now scored just 35 total points in their last three contests combined, and the offence looks as anaemic as it did at any point over the last three years.
Brandon McManus’s post-big money contract struggles continued. He finished the night 1-3 on field goals after missing kicks from 35 and 53 yards. He now has five misses in five games played, already matching his total from both 2015 and 2016.
His uncharacteristic run of form couldn’t come at a worse time for the Broncos’ middling offence. Hopefully he can get back on track sooner rather than later.
The box score will not show a dominant defensive performance, however the defence was not the reason we lost this game.
The Broncos racked up three sacks and held the Giants offence to just 16 points. However in a return to 2016 form, the Broncos struggled against Evan Engram, an athletic tight end who had the better of Justin Simmons and Todd Davies for the duration of the game.
The Broncos gave up 117 rushing yards to Orleans Darkwa. This after Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy and Marshawn Lynch could only combine for 95 yards in four games.
Injuries are a concern coming out of the game with Siemian, Watson, Thomas, Sanders and rookie receiver and kick returner Isaiah McKenzie all receiving treatment at some point during the game. Watson, Sanders and McKenzie failed to return.
Siemian had an MRI scan on his left shoulder with the fear being a similar AC injury to last year, but he was given the all clear and is set to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Meanwhile after suffering right ankle injuries, Sanders and McKenzie also had MRI scans and neither player suffered a break, but both were ruled out of the Chargers game.
Many questions will be raised after the game of not just the players but the play calling and the coaches themselves.
How did the Broncos lose to a team missing their top four wide receivers with a full two weeks to prepare?
The Broncos will look to bounce back in a crucial divisional game against the Chargers at StubHub Center on Sunday.
Follow Andrew on Twitter here.
Photo credit: Ryan Koenigsberg