Well, umm, what can you say? There is one word I can use to explain Week 1 for the Broncos: Embarrassing. Flat out, downright embarrassing. Certainly, the team should be ashamed of themselves. Still, we will dig into the Week 1 debacle and discuss five takeaways from the loss. Buckle up because this may get rough. You have been warned!
New Season, Same Offensive Line
In Week 1, the Broncos could not block anyone. On the other hand, the three sacks weren’t awful. However, when you couple that with the five hits on Flacco, it starts to add up. He just didn’t look comfortable back there. The team avoided committing a turnover, but Flacco did almost lose a fumble. Furthermore, because of playing from behind, Joe had 31 pass attempts. That’s just too many. As important as the defense is, the offensive line has to figure it out. In conclusion, this team will not win if they continue to play this way.
Paging the Pass Rush
In our preview of the game, we discussed the importance of Bradley Chubb. Not only for this game but for the season as well. Overall, how did the pass rush fare against Oakland in Week 1? Zero. Yes, that’s zero sacks and zero QB hits (per ESPN). Again, that’s zero. None. If you haven’t caught my drift, I mean absolutely not a single sack or QB hit. The defense is the backbone of the team. If Week 1 is any indicator, it’s going to be a long season for the defense.
Sutton is Ready
There was one positive note in Week 1. That was wide receiver, Courtland Sutton. Sutton is ready to be that solid WR2. On eight targets, Sutton caught seven passes for 120 yards. That’s good for an average of 17.1 yards per reception. Emmanuel Sanders did not have a bad game. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. If Courtland can continue to have games like last night, that will open up things for Sanders as well. So, Sutton’s performance was pleasing and encouraging.
Phillip Lindsay is, without question, the most talented player for the Broncos. He didn’t really look like it in Week 1. On 15 total touches, Lindsay had 66 total yards. That’s an average of 4.4 yards per touch. Furthermore, Phillip averaged an abysmal 3.9 yards per carry. In short, it was not a good night for Lindsay. Now, this might be reading too much into things. Yet, this has a feeling of Sophomore slump written all over it. Let’s hope that we’re wrong. If we’re not, Royce Freeman, it’s your time to shine.
Red Zone Efficiency
A better thing to say might be “lack of red zone efficiency”. Yes, that is more accurate. In Week 1, the Broncos made 4 trips to the red zone. Four trips. One touchdown. For you math nerds, that’s a 25% success rate. If you remember how grading works in grade school, that’s failing…failing by a lot. Even with one more successful red-zone trip, it’s potential a tie game (assuming they go for 2 once). 25% red-zone efficiency is not only unacceptable, but it’s also unsustainable. With the two talented backs they have, and the size of Sutton, the Broncos have to do better.
Next week, the Broncos face the Bears at home. Be on the lookout for the preview of that one…and much lower expectations.