It felt like déjà vu for the Denver Broncos in their loss to the Houston Texans Sunday afternoon.
Much like the Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Broncos found themselves in an early hole, a hole they ultimately couldn't get out of. And to make the game even more eerily similar to the Falcons game, the Broncos' defense had a chance to get Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense the ball with over two minutes to play to win the game, but they couldn't get a key stop on a third-and -five.
After being down 21-5 and 31-11 to the Texans, the Broncos offense started to click, but it was too late to make the comeback. Last week, the Broncos were down 20-0 to the Falcons and failed to come back, losing 27-21. The Broncos fell by six to the Texans as well, losing 31-25.
The Broncos have shown patches where they appear to be one of the top-echelon teams but mistakes have cost them in each of their two losses. Against the Falcons, it was the turnovers, especially the three interceptions by Manning in the opening quarter. Against the Texans, it was the lack of protection and dropped passes.
It'll be crucial for the Broncos to try and straighten out the ship this coming weekend with their first divisional game against the Oakland Raiders.
Despite the Broncos having a 1-2 record, there are still bright spots that can be taken away from it all.
For one, the Broncos are only a game behind in the division as the AFC West continues to prove how weak it is.
Two, when Manning and the offense is clicking, they are hard to contain and stop. Having Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley and Demaryius Thomas at the wide receiver position has become deadly if the offense is rolling.
Thirdly, the Broncos defense buckled down in the second half after giving up a bevy of big plays to the Texans.
But with the positives there are negatives. And the one that stands out the most is not punching the ball into the end zone when given huge opportunities in the red zone.
Those who thought the Broncos were going to be Super Bowl contenders just because they brought in Manning were and are mistaken. Sure they can make a run, but as of right now, they are not ready to compete with the top teams of the AFC.