Denver Bronco Fans Gazing Into the Unknown After Another Phillip Rivers Romp

Daniel BogaardCorrespondent INovember 23, 2010

Pretty much sums it up...
Pretty much sums it up...Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Time to Be Real

Denver Bronco Fans, it’s time to face the facts…we are not very good and we are not going to make the playoffs!  I know this may come as a surprise to most of us, and I know that I will be tried and burned at the proverbial stake for heresy by those in the Bronco Blogosphere, but it is time to face the music. 

The 2010 Denver Broncos are a below average football team.

Don’t get me wrong, it angers me as much to write this as it does for you to read it, but I am through walking with the shepherd and my eyes are wide open.  Monday night, after we were outplayed, out-hustled  and once again the victim of a Phillip Rivers onslaught, it dawned on me.

I will admit that I, too, almost succumb to the façade of hope that flashed before our eyes last weekend as Denver dismantled the Chiefs. Yet I was still a little leery. I haven’t taken much stock in the Chiefs this season and last week proved my intuition correct than anything else. 

Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs are 6-4 (1-4 on the road) but the combined record of the teams they have defeated is 22-39. Those teams will not be in the playoffs and neither will the Chiefs.

With this in mind, I wanted to see if Denver could actually repeat the performance against their newly “most hated” rival. A rival who in the last three years had humiliated the Broncos 123-27 in three prior contests.

Unfortunately, we all got the answer with a resounding “NO!” That makes four blowouts in four years.

The Dreaded White Flag

Through the familiar look of dejection and defeat on Kyle Orton’s face, I also saw an entirely new look: surrender.

This look could have appeared when Orton continually folded like a card table when faced with the Charger rush, or it may have been during one of the 11 failed third down conversions, but it was definitely there. 

I think the first appearance of it occurred after Patrick Crayton’s 50 yard saunter through the Bronco secondary and the ensuing customary three and out. Bottom line, Orton finished with 24 completions, an average completion of 5.7 yards, a TD and a pick. It was not just the look of surrender, it was the body language of surrender as well, coupled with an overall lack of emotion that added insult to injury.

In a game where Orton and the Broncos were in the limelight, he had an opportunity to stake his claim and prove he was every bit as good as the passing yards he has put up.  Instead he was treated like steerage by the superior Rivers. Those who know me understand how much it pains me to say that, for I like Phillips Rivers about as much as I enjoy a punch in the face. 

I am certain that I am not the only one who became nauseated at the way Jaws and Gruden turned the football game into a Rivers biopic (the footage of him as a child was a little much). But the Broncos left them without another option. They began with a flurry of punches (seven play, 69 yard TD drive), and they initially staggered the Chargers. 

After that initial flurry however, we were left with a mere flutter and a face resembling Antonio Margarito’s after the Pacquiao fight. So is it possible that our beloved Broncos have hit a wall? Did they give up on Monday Night?  In press conferences this week we will hear about penalties, and lack of execution, but at what point does heart come into the discussion? 

Gazing into the Unknown

So the Broncos are 3-7, including 5-15 in the last 20 games. This may not seem like an astounding statistic until you consider the fact that Denver has not seen this type of losing in almost 40 years (’71-’72 season)! Needless to say this is unfamiliar territory for Broncos fans.

In the wake of this loss the Broncos are now faced with a multitude of decisions. We hear cries for Josh McDaniels'  head, cries for the quarterbacks benching, and cries for Tim Tebow. Realistically speaking, are any of these things really going to happen this season? Probably not.

We can say that we want all of these things to happen—and believe me, I have been critical of McD—but what is it really going to solve? Are we going to win more games? Maybe.  

Yet if McD were to start Tebow in lieu of Orton and he does not produce, then where are we at?  The same people that hate Orton would want Tebow’s head on a plate.  Do you know why? Because as fans, all we want to do is win. With whatever personnel, coaching and play calling necessary. If it leads to winning, we’ll take it.

We’re Simply Not Used to it Taking This Long

It has been over 30 years, before the Orange Crush, that Denver endured a playoff drought this long.  With the way things are going, we may not see the playoffs for a few more years.  Unfortunately we have never grown accustom to rebuilding. 

But as we look into the unknown future one thing is for certain: something has to change. If not Orton or McDaniels, at least get a general manager who actually has experience building a franchise. Appropriate blame is placed on McDaniels and criticism applied to Orton, but where is Brian Xanders in all of this? How can he be absolved of the blame?

If we want to keep the coach, and keep the QB, then put someone in charge that understands the game and is a veteran at making substantial personnel decisions; not just decisions related to salary cap space as Xanders' previous jobs dictated.

On the bright side, for all of those who think Kyle Orton is still infallible, he did manage to eclipse 3,000 yards passing tonight so at least we can all take solace in that.  Although I had to chuckle when Jon Gruden, in speaking of Orton’s stats, stated to the effect that stats don’t mean anything if you’re not winning. Sometimes stats are meaningless.