Don't look now, but the Broncos are going to be playoff no-shows for the fifth straight year.
Forget the holiday season. I'm ready for the end of the season.
But alas, we cannot escape our realities. Whatever hope the win against the Chiefs last Sunday brought to the Broncos was just as quickly doused by the Chargers, who last night enjoyed putting the Broncos in their place as much as ever. For the record, that would be last place in the AFC West.
Make excuses for the Broncos if you'd like. If you want to talk about injuries, maybe you didn't notice that the Chargers were without Antonio Gates, Legedu Naanee and Ryan Mathews, to name a few. Perhaps you'd say that the Broncos suffer from inexperience, particularly on the offensive line. While that may be true, what happened to the progress they made last week against the Chiefs?
Last but not least, you could say that Kyle Orton can't do it on his own. No offense against Orton, but Phillip Rivers is in the MVP race, possibly even the favorite to win, because he can and does do it on his own and largely has all season.
The truth, dear friends, is that the team Josh McDaniels has put together is not a team lacking in desire, but one that is severely lacking in talent. If the Broncos didn't know that until now, the Chargers were more than happy to remind them once again.
If it wasn't Darren Sproles and Patrick Crayton burning Brian Dawkins, it was the Chargers' floundering special teams unit making a game changing third down conversion. If it wasn't Shaun Phillips harassing Orton in the backfield, it was the Chargers' defense stuffing Knowshon Moreno for a minimal gain.
I've seen this same movie for five years now, and for every embarrassing loss they suffer to the Chargers, it seems like the Broncos drift farther and farther away from contention. The only difference this time is that the Broncos were already going nowhere before the Chargers even touched them.
Josh McDaniels' should be commended for his development of Kyle Orton, but many of his personnel decisions are killing the team. While Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas have the potential to be good players, they are doing little to help the Broncos win games now. Many of the picks from last year's draft or some of Shanahan's drafts are either marginally productive or are helping other teams.
While there won't be a new head coach in 2011, If the Broncos' continue down the path they are headed it will only end up with McDaniels on the unemployment line, so changes need to be made sooner rather than later.
Quarterback play isn't the issue and Orton is one of the only players preventing the Broncos from entirely imploding, but if Tebow really is the messiah he's hyped up to be, perhaps he really is McDaniels' only salvation. Or maybe this entire team was doomed from the start.
I don't have the answers. If Josh McDaniels doesn't either, he better find them fast.