The Broncos don’t fire in their belly, flame in their eyes and a spark at quarterback.
And the month ahead is too big a burden to bear.
Consider this gauntlet:
- At Los Angeles.
- At Kansas City.
- At Philadelphia.
- At home vs. New England.
This is full-mettle jacket time.
The next four games will dare, defy, challenge rookie coach Vance Joseph.
The Broncos were exposed by the loss to the Giants and to the light. No matter how experienced, forceful and mighty the team’s defense is, it can’t win games alone. And the weak, ineffective, leaderless offense can’t take control.
In three consecutive games the Broncos have scored 16, 16 and 10 points.
The 42 points scored against the Cowboys’ feeble defense is a fading memory. Siemian’s six touchdown passes in the first two games was an aberration.
Trevor Siemian is Brian Griese Redux and Kyle Orton Lite.
And he’s hurt again.
In three games the Broncos have managed just three touchdowns.
They’ve been relying on field goals, and the kicker’s not so sharp, either.
That was The Debacle in Denver Sunday night. The Broncos were playing the worst team in the NFL. They were coming off a bye rested and healthy, and they’d had more than a week to study and plan against the 0-5 beat-up and fallen-down Giants. They were playing in the national spotlight. They had a chance to tie for first place in the AFC West after both the Raiders and the Chiefs had lost at home in the afternoon.
Siemian was dreadful. The running game was non-existent. The offensive was fumbling and dropping passes and committing penalties, and, on at least six plays, couldn’t get the right package on the field or didn’t seem to know what the play call was.
On one specific play, the right side of the offensive line wasn’t just a sieve. It looked like the dam collapsed. Three Giants rushed through unblocked, untouched, and unimpeded. Siemian ran like the frightened cub in "Lion King" overrun by a thundering herd of wildebeest.
We think Menelik Watson is a terrible right tackle, and the Broncos would be better off with Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson would be an improvement at the position. Well, when Watson suffered a leg injury, in came Billy Turner, who had been a healthy inactive in the early season, and he was worse. Tina Turner would have been an improvement.
In the meantime, Siemian finished with the hollowest 376 yards passing in the history of passing. It seemed more like creative accounting.
The total certainly was garbage yardage.
He threw up – yes, threw up, as in puked – two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown on a play when Siemian tried vainly to make a tackle – ‘’not my specialty,’’ he joked lamely afterward to us in the media conference – and injured his left should again.
Both Joseph and Siemian brushed off the injury. "Feels fine."
But we heard this same dismissal last year when Siemian was hurt in the exhibition season and again in the regular season and mostly played through the shoulder strain, but also had to be removed from the game in Tampa, then missed a start, and another in Jacksonville later.
And, of course, when the season was over, The Siemian Shoulder required surgery, and he missed some off-season training.
"Oft-injured" is a commonly-used adjective for Siemian.
Yet, even healthy, he’s not special. Pro Football Focus and other established websites and sports experts had rated him in the 20s among quarterbacks in the league even before that humiliating defeat to the Giants.
Even though the Broncos still were figuratively in the game in the fourth quarter, the crowd got up en masse and departed. Ye, of little faith. But the Broncos "loyalists," who had been quiet all night, knew what they were doing. There was no chance at a comeback.
The only real cheer of the evening was when Brock Osweiler entered the game late in the first half. Same guy they booed when he played here for the Texans last year. He was like a wrestler turned "heel," turned back "baby face."
Is Osweiler the answer? The Broncos don’t even seem to know the question.
They stunk up the joint again. The Broncos could be 1-4 and are fortunate to be 3-2.
But, in a month, they just might be 3-6. The past six times they’ve played three in a row on the road they only won one every time.
Then, the light at the end of the tunnel is a raging locomotive – the Patriots.
The Broncos need this fire-and-brimstone sermon because the omen is they are a path to Dante’s Inferno.