2014 Broncos Season, Week 16
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals 37, Denver Broncos 28
Season Record: 11-4 (7-0 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter, trailing 30-28, Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning dropped back to pass looking for Demaryius Thomas. Instead, he found Dre Kirkpatrick, who returned the interception for a touchdown, sealing the game.
Recap: Last night I had an early Christmas celebration with my family. I opened a lot of presents relating to the Broncos, and our quest to create a Bronco dome in our downstairs area. Meanwhile, in the background, the actual Broncos looked like a dumpster fire on the field, particularly in the first half. Early in the game Aqib Talib picked off Andy Dalton and returned it for a touchdown. The Broncos led 7-0 and it was exciting. It was all downhill from there… The Broncos offense looks like a hot mess. The Broncos special teams aren't special. And the Broncos defense was woeful last night. In a game they needed to win, the Broncos looked apathetic at times, and just pathetic at other times. The Bengals, meanwhile, earned a playoff berth with the win. The Broncos now must beat the Raiders to get a first round bye, and the road to the Super Bowl will certainly go through New England. Worse yet, the Broncos will likely get the Steelers in the second round, a tough matchup. Last night was a disaster, and what's worse is the Broncos look like they've regressed. The pass blocking is poor, the offense is clunky, and Peyton appears to have something wrong with him. This is NOT how you want to go into the playoffs. Let's just hope the Broncos can pound the Raiders, return to form, and gain some momentum before the playoffs begin. Otherwise it might be another lost season.
* C.J. Anderson. Anderson continues to pace the Broncos' offense. He ran for 83 hard yards and a touchdown, and he caught eight passes underneath for the Broncos.
* Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Both receivers were gutty. Sanders made a bunch of big plays and caught two touchdowns. Thomas, meanwhile, had yet another 100 yard game and was robbed on another big pass by a junk call.
* Aqib Talib. Talib had the biggest defensive play of the game and took away A.J. Green all night long. He and Chris Harris still look great, even when the rest of the defense doesn't.
* Peyton Manning. Is he injured? Is he in a funk? Is it the offense? Who knows. All we know is he isn't the same guy, and it shows.
* Offensive Line. That line wasn't opening a lot of holes for Anderson and didn't hold up well in pass blocking. That's a problem. The Broncos don't look great on offense, hard to know what to think of that.
* Special teams. Big returns, a missed field goal, the woes continue. The Broncos special teams has been a weak spot this year.
* Julius Thomas. Speaking of not healthy, Thomas has all but disappeared the last half of the season. That's a concern.
* Pass Rush. The Broncos' had a strong pass rush early in the season, but the past few weeks it's dried up. The Broncos defense needs that pass rush.