Let's start with some basic questions first: Who, What, Where, When and How? Answers are hard to come by after a loss as epic as Sunday’s loss was. Pointing fingers is easy but finding the right direction to point that finger is a little trickier. So I thought I’d break it down to the simplest form possible and start from there.
Who? That one is easy to answer. Everyone is to blame for this one. The head coach, the QB, the defense, the water boy (actually Adam Sandler might have kept it a game). Nobody gets an exemption when the film gets run on Tuesday. Unprepared and uninspired would be a nice way to describe the Broncos play.
McDaniels has been preaching team play from day one, dismissing every player that does not conform to this belief. I happen to strongly agree with his conviction and this is why every guy must be taken to task.
At the same time however, the Raiders came in and knocked us out quicker than Cain Velasquez dropped Lesnar the night before. Like it or not, if a guy punks you like that at home, that man deserves credit for a job well done. It’s a division game that always brings emotional play out in a team and a city.
But were any of these new Broncos really prepared for the emotion that this game brings. Looked like the Raiders were. So while it’s easy to blame just the Denver Broncos, credit was earned and must be given to a team that could do that. College, pro or hell even in Madden.
What? What caused the collapse in every facet of the game? “It’s like quicksand—the harder you fight, the faster you sink.” Keanu Reeves in the movie “The Replacements” said that when speaking about his fears on a football field. It sure was a quick start for Oakland and the climb back would have been a tough one for certain.
But does a team with character and grit give up at that point or do they play them even after that and simply get blown out? They say a team resembles their coach but does anyone think of McDaniels as a quitter? Like him or not the answer to that question is a loud no, he’s a scrapper and a fighter. Bullheaded, but a fighter none the less. What happened was a result of many contributing factors and a perfect storm in Denver.
The Colts, Titans, Ravens and Jets? That is an awful stretch of games right there, even the '27 Yankees didn’t have that kind of lineup. The media? If you live in Denver you heard it everywhere. The tough part of the season was over and the easy part was beginning Sunday with Oakland.
What? How does a team that has won two of six games consider anyone a probable win? The Broncos have been guilty in the past (last season) of believing their own press and playing as if they have already won because the press is lauding them as the greatest. Oakland?
They had just lost to the 49ers and had a serious chip on their shoulder, a chip that was missing from Denver, a team that had just lost at home a week before. Hangover,? Losing the way they did against the Jets had to be a burden that perhaps cost them is their preparation. What caused it is ultimately irrelevant, because 59-14 is a loss of legendary status.
When and where are obvious. And it’ll be a long time before any argument that takes place between a Raider and a Bronco fan; that when and where this occurred won’t be brought up. Loudly.
What? What do we do now? Do we disown the Broncos? Of course we don’t. It’s not the first nor the worst slap in the face, the Niners still own that distinction. Do we run McDaniels out of town? I’ve heard worse ideas but let’s face it; this one belongs to the team not just the coach. Clean house and start over. No that is what we’re suffering from right now.
I think the answer to what’s next is easy. First, we as fans let it be know that this is not acceptable around here. We no longer expect Super Bowls but we damn sure won’t accept our team lying down and being run over like that. Second, we pick ourselves up, dust off, get some ice to stop the swelling and we soldier on as Bronco Nation.
We are all die-hard fans of one of the best organizations in sports and we can take a shot like that on the chin and keep moving forward. And finally, if we do nothing else as a fan base, we must all remember the facts. Oakland won this one fair and square and they deserve credit.
BUT, when your “Raider fan” friends get too loud and cocky (and it will happen) just remind them that Denver has been to five, and WON two World Titles since they have hoisted the trophy in Raider Nation. It’s of small conciliation I know but so is chicken noodle soup when you’re sick. But damn if it doesn’t make you feel better.