2016 Broncos Season, Week Six
The Broncos played their second game in five days and took their second loss in five days...
Week Six: San Diego Chargers 21, Denver Broncos 13
Season Record: 4-2 (2-1 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter, trailing 21-10, CJ Anderson took a short dump off pass and ran for nearly 30 yards and a touchdown that would have cut the lead to five points. But the play was called back due to a holding penalty. The Broncos saw Demaryius Thomas fumble a few plays later, ending the drive with no points.
Recap: I tried to find a picture of the Broncos' offensive line holding for the post, but the one above is the closest I've gotten. Thursday night football games are often rough affairs, and last night's game was no different. The Broncos came into the game without coach Gary Kubiak, and it's clear there was an impact. The team was flat on Sunday, and in a short week without their coach they seemed flat again on Thursday night. And it was the second straight poor game for the offensive line, which caused a number of big plays to be called back due to penalty, failed to open lanes for the running backs, and even got a penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety. The Broncos' offense has been sluggish for two games, despite the return of Trevor Siemian from injury on Thursday night. The team now has 11 days to prepare for its next game, a home show down with the Houston Texans and Brock Osweiler. Hopefully they'll be able to shake off the last five days and get back on track. The question becomes whether we need to re-evaluate the Broncos' 4-0 start in the wake of what we've now seen. The Broncos were atop the power rankings after four weeks, but that was largely based on "quality wins" against the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals, teams assumed to be playoff contenders. The Panthers are 1-4 on the season, the Bengals are 2-3, and both look like flawed teams. As do the Colts (2-3), who clearly have no offensive line or defense. The last two losses should give the team, and fans, pause as we consider how strong the Broncos might really be this season.
* Devontae Booker. The rookie made the most of his opportunities on Thursday night, carrying five times for 46 yards and sparking the offense for a bit late in the second half.
* Special Teams. The Broncos' special teams unit had a strong night, pinning the Chargers deep on some punts and recovering an onside kick. That was one of the few bright spots.
* Sluggish Defense. The defense has struggled this season, giving up scores on the opponents opening drive in a majority of the games. Now the defense is still good, and is still a strength of the team, but it's possible attrition and injuries are taking a bigger toll than expected.
* Offensive Line woes. The Broncos' line is poor. They looked decent week one against the Panthers, but that defensive front has struggled in subsequent games. Last night was particularly grim, as penalties and poor play in the second half killed all the Broncos' drives.