Posted by Uncle Rico 12:15 PM ET
The St. Louis Rams, a team less than a year removed from a 1-15 record and without a road win in 2010 before yesterday, beat the Denver Broncos 36-33 in front of a heavy no-show gathering on a dark Sunday afternoon at Invesco Field at Mile High.
After the Broncos jumped out to a 7-0 lead, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, who torched Denver’s secondary with a 22/37, 308 yard, 3 TD performance, led the Rams to 35 unanswered points. Kyle Orton rallied his team in the 4th quarter, but as is becoming the modus operandi of Orton and the Broncos, big plays were not made at crunch time.
The Broncos are 3-8 for the first time in 20 years. Pending Arizona’s game vs. the 49ers tonight, Denver is the worst defensive team in football, surrendering 29.4 points per game.
As The Denver Post’s Dave Krieger notes, “the main issues for the Broncos on the field are the quality of the personnel [McDaniels] has assembled and his lack of in-game adjustments.
“Once again Sunday, the Broncos came out of the locker room looking good. For the third consecutive game, they scored on their first drive. For the second consecutive game, it was pretty much all downhill from there. McDaniels spoke of the adjustments the Chargers and Rams made the past two weeks to slow down his offense. The Broncos never seem to adjust back. There never seems to be a Plan B. But frankly, it’s hard to tell whether that’s a lack of resourcefulness on the sidelines or a lack of talent on the field. Watching the defense collapse yet again rekindles all the questions about why McDaniels the personnel man didn’t concentrate on fortifying that side of the ball when he first arrived almost two years ago. Instead, he overhauled the offense, which didn’t really need it. As a result, the defense remains a sum of mostly mediocre parts. It has all the same issues it had when McDaniels arrived. The offense put up some pretty numbers again Sunday, but many of them came in the desperate catch-up effort at the end. Brandon Lloyd caught two more touchdowns from Orton, adding to the best season of his career, in yet another loss.”
After Sunday’s NFL action, NBC’s Football Night in America crew discussed the free fall of the Broncos (see video below). Mike Florio said that storm clouds have gathered around Josh McDaniels, and due to bad personnel moves, ugly loses and recent allegations of cheating it’s unlikely that McDaniels will remain in Denver beyond this season regardless of the two year term remaining on his contract. With regard to “McSpygate”, Florio pointed out that even if McDaniels didn’t direct Steve Scarnecchia to record the 49ers practice and/or watch the tape (both very unlikely), McDaniels blatantly ignored NFL protocol which mandates the immediate reporting of violations of the league’s “integrity of the game” policy. It has come out that McDaniels waited almost two weeks to report the incident to the team’s senior management, which raises questions about McDaniels’ truthfulness and a possible attempt to cover up the scandal.
In addressing Jay Glazer’s report that McDaniels told Denver’s coaching staff that the New England Patriots’ videotaping of opponents’ in-game defensive coaching signals “was practiced, that was coached, that was worked on,” former Tampa Bay and Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy asserted that McDaniels violated the honor code among NFL head coaches. Harsh words from Dungy, one of the most respected and articulate figures in the game.
As Mark Kiszla wrote, the Broncos are a leaguewide joke thanks to the missteps of Josh McDaniels. The team is 5-16 over its last 21 games under McDaniels, and the head coach has embarrassed the franchise by cheating. Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis have be coming to the realization that McDaniels is bad for business as thousands of Broncos fans stayed away from Invesco Field at Mile High for the game against the Rams. However, to make a real statement and impact the team’s bottom line, the stadium needs to be empty for the Broncos final home dates against Houston and San Diego. As JP, a Josh McDaniels Sucks visitor commented “as a Broncos season ticket holder of 14 years and never missing a home game in such time, I am officially boycotting the Broncos and will burn my 4 tickets each week McDaniels is coaching.”
Kiszla finished his story with a portrait of a beaten man:
“When the comeback against the Rams fell short, after nearly all his players had dressed and departed, McDaniels walked through a silent Denver locker room. He wore a backpack and a ball cap. A cellphone was stuck to his ear. Before going out the door, McDaniels stopped to scavenge the pizza boxes stacked on a table. If you didn’t know better, you would never guess this man was the coach of an NFL team.”
With any luck, he won’t be for long. Next week the Broncos travel to Kansas City, and you can bet Todd Haley and the Chiefs have revenge on their minds.