They had it. It was theirs. But, it didn’t happen. The Broncos went into Week 6 with a number of team goals, and, for the most part, they accomplished every one except for the most important one. They didn’t win.
Coming into the game with the worst running stats in the league, they knew they needed to do something on the ground, and they did OK. Compared to other games, they were outstanding. On defense, they did a pretty good job of handling the Jets running game as well. In the air, they got good numbers against an excellent pass defense, and the numbers would have been even better if some of those interference calls had been receptions. They also picked off two passes, recovered a fumble and, for the most part, held their own against a pretty good Jets team. They did almost everything they needed to do to win except to win.
This battered, beaten group of hard-luck misfits stood toe to toe with their opponents for most of the game, and still had a decent chance to take the “W” right up until the end.
It wasn’t the comical interference penalty at the goal line, or the “Keystone Cops” fumble, however, that ended the Broncos chances. The game was really lost on those two consecutive series when, deep in their own territory, they went three and out. Playing the field position game is the way the Jets have been winning all year long, and the Broncos know that. No matter what they did the rest of the game, they needed to move that ball out of their own territory, at least get one first down or do anything positive except go three and out. By preventing that, the Jets pretty much won the game right there.
Are there moral victories in professional football? I suppose so, but, when you get down to it, those are about as satisfying as kissing one’s own sister. Nonetheless, this was a moral victory. The Broncos kissed their sister. They played tough, they got their running game moving and they got Tim Tebow some playing time.
Except for a period there of about two minutes, they actually played well enough to win. So well in fact that they had the game in the bag until fate stepped in, slapped them in their collective face and forced them to kiss their sister.
Yes, there’s a lot to build on from this game, but building on marginal successes without winning is what teams do in training camp or during preseason games. The regular season is the time to win, and the teams that want to make the playoffs find a way, any way, to do just that.
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Broncos fan, and I will keep cheering the team on no matter what happens, but understand that there are just 11 weeks left in the season, and just 10 more chances to win. Realistically, that means the Broncos have to take seven of those 10 chances if they want to make the playoffs. If they are going to do that, the time for experimenting is over, the time for waiting for guys to get healthy is over and the time for doing everything right and still losing is over.
The Broncos need to “Cowboy Up,” and go on a win streak, or their season will be done even before hitting the halfway mark. Nothing else really matters right now if the team expects an invitation to the ball. Enough of the moral victories, and enough of the kissing of sisters. Now, it’s time to just go out and win some ball games, no matter what.