2016 Broncos Season, Week Five
And then there was one. The Vikings stand alone as the only unbeaten left in the NFL after the Eagles and Broncos fell on Sunday.
Week Five: Atlanta Falcons 23, Denver Broncos 16
Season Record: 4-1 (2-1 Home)
Key Play: In the third quarter, buried deep at the one yard line, Paxton Lynch dropped back to pass and overthrew his target for an interception with the Broncos trailing 13-3. The Falcons responded with a touchdown, boosting the lead to 20-3 and putting things out of reach.
Recap: You can't win them all. Prior to the start of the season, there was a lot of fans that wondered if Lynch should be given more of a shot to be the starting quarterback. After all, if we're just going with Trevor Siemian anyway, perhaps Lynch is the better choice. Lynch looked solid in relief of Siemian in week four against a putrid Buccaneers defense, but in this first start we saw why Siemian is the right choice to lead the Broncos right now. Lynch looked very much like a rookie, and the offense appeared to be limited in play calling to accommodate him. That makes sense. In addition, Lynch was sacked six times. Now some of those sacks were due to poor offensive line play. But some were due to inexperience and holding the ball. Lynch has a lot of raw skills, and he'll be a good player some day, but that day isn't today. Siemian is the right choice moving forward, and the Broncos have to hope he's back behind center Thursday night. The Broncos lost a tough game to a talented team that will likely make the playoffs. There's no shame in that. But they have a short week in which to lick their wounds and get ready to win. And they might have to do it without head coach Gary Kubiak. That presents plenty of challenges.
* Chris Harris, Jr. and Aqib Talib — Last week Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 300 yards. Yesterday he caught two for 29 yards. That's a credit to the Broncos' corners.
* Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders — The receivers continue to show their skill no matter the circumstance. Thomas caught five for 49 yards and a touchdown. Sanders caught seven for 80 yards.
* Offensive Line Play — The Broncos need Donald Stephenson back, and they need better line play in general. Ty Sambraillo is still hurting, and was very ineffective yesterday. If the Broncos can't block, they can't pass or run.
* Running Game — CJ Anderson had his fourth straight game with less than 100 yards, and often struggled to get positive yards early in the game. And the Broncos trailed, which is perhaps why he only got 11 carries for 41 yards. But that won't get it done.
* Kubiak's Health — Gary Kubiak went to the hospital following yesterday's game. That's alarming. He's questionable for Thursday's game, which doesn't help. In Wade Phillips we trust, but this is a set back for this team.