It's official. The floodgates have opened. The Denver Broncos' three game tailspin is over. It's now a full on free-fall.
The Broncos are being dominated on offense, and their once vaunted defense is struggling to keep up. To their credit, they have been putting in their best effort, as they held the Chargers to only three touchdowns on seven red zone trips.
It has now been clearly established that Chris Simms is incapable of competing in the NFL anymore. A once viable starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Simms was nearly killed three years ago when his spleen was ruptured in a game against the Carolina Panthers.
Simms was signed by the Broncos this offseason to be the primary backup and played well in preseason. However, in nearly four quarters of regular season action, Simms has failed to produce, totaling five completions on 17 attempts for a total of 23 yards, an interception, and a lost fumble.
The situation became so bad that Josh McDaniels was forced to put the injured Kyle Orton into the game late in the second quarter, as the Simms-led offense was going nowhere.
Orton and the offense showed signs of life for a short period of time just before halftime, as Orton executed two nice passes to Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Marshall to get to the San Diego four yard line. However, Knowshon Moreno fumbled at the goal line and killed the drive.
The Broncos look like a shell of the team that was once flying high at 6-0 going into their bye week. At 6-4 they are now one game behind San Diego in the AFC West race and are right in the middle of the wild card race.
Despite having a respectable record, there is very little to be respected in this Broncos team.
The lack of commitment to the ground game, the frustrating predictability of the play calling, and bad fundamentals make the Broncos look like the team people thought they would be going into the season.
After being blown out by Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the team was still capable of getting back on their feet, but the ensuing loss to Washington and the injury to Orton put them in an uphill battle. This loss only makes the hill steeper.
The Monday night win in San Diego seems distant and the days of a potent offense and lights-out defense are quickly fading.
With a short week and a date on Thanksgiving Night Football this Thursday against the Giants, the Broncos will get another opportunity to snap out of this free-fall.
The outcome of Thursday's game could very well be the difference between hanging in the AFC playoff race and quietly "slipping" under the proverbial water.