This was the game they couldn't lose.
The 6-2 Broncos against the 2-6 Washington Redskins. The Redskins were thought to be a well-established "trainwreck." An incompetent owner, a terrible offense, a confused coach, and an angry fan base made Washington the laughing stock of the NFC East.
And what did the Denver Broncos do? They went into the Nation's Capital, and lost to them.
The Denver Broncos lost by ten points to the Washington Redskins. Inexcusable.
There are plenty of excuses. Kyle Orton was knocked out of the game after Redskins defensive end Brian Orakpo tackled him by the ankle.
In the second quarter, the Redskins lined up for a field goal, then went into punt formation, and then punter Hunter Smith threw the ball 35 yards downfield to the fullback for a touchdown. The Denver special teams were taken completely by surprise and had no answer for the trick play.
Chris Simms came in for Orton to start the second half and played "like crap" for lack of a better term. In two quarters of play, he made three completions on 13 pass attempts for a pitiful 13 yards and an interception to DeAngelo Hall.
On the bright side of things, the offense came out gunning in the first quarter.
Kyle Orton and Josh McDaniels had been heavily criticized for playing a conservative offense devoid of the "big play." Determined to change that, Orton connected with Brandon Marshall on two big plays of 40 and 75 yards, showing that this tandem is capable of stretching the field.
However, the once-vaunted defense looked soft. The Redskins were playing without star running back Clinton Portis, and the banged-up Ladell Betts ran on the Denver defense 26 times for 114 yards and a late touchdown that put the 'Skins up for good.
The statistics speak for themselves. The intangibles are what make this loss more distressing for the Broncos and their fans.
Denver is now 0-3 after the bye week. Over that week off, the rest of the league caught up to the them, and they have been unable to make any adjustments to regain their edge.
The cold reality of the NFL has now set in for Josh McDaniels. It's nice to start 6-0, but it will mean nothing if this team misses the playoffs. Still haunted by their three-week meltdown last December, the time for this team to be kicked in their rear-ends is now.
This cannot continue. They had a chance to rebound and they let it slip away. Orton needs to be healthy for next week's game against the Chargers.
Pending their game with the Eagles today, the Chargers and Broncos could be tied for the AFC West lead going into that game. The desperate struggle keeping this sinking ship afloat has begun.
The season is not lost by any means, but it is now going fast, and it's time for the Broncos to "put up or shut up."