“Unacceptable” loss to Raiders the latest in the Broncos’ ugly season

broncos vs. panthers opening line
Nov 15, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) prior to a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos’ 2020 season has turned ugly.

After an embarrassing 37-12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium, Denver’s storied football team stands 3-6 after the “easy” part of the schedule. The final seven-game stretch is difficult, beginning next week with the 6-3 Miami Dolphins.

“Unacceptable,” Broncos guard Dalton Risner said. “Unacceptable. That was an unacceptable performance today and we need to know that.”

Denver awaits the Dolphins, who are riding a five-game winning streak, before hosting the high-powered offense of New Orleans Saints and then visiting the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions.

All three of those teams are top-10 offensive producers. And the Broncos? Their offense now sits 31st in the NFL in total points and point-differential. Denver hasn’t scored a touchdown in the first half in the last four games.

“I don’t care what the reasoning is,” Risner said. “But that was unacceptable from an offensive standpoint. And we need to be better. Plain and simple. We have to got to be better. We weren’t good enough today to help our team win.”

The Broncos were unable to mount any kind of comeback in the fourth quarter. Unlike in weeks past, quarterback Drew Lock did not give his team a reason to feel confident going into the following game.

The running game struggled. Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay combined for just 59 yards on 17 carries. Lock threw four interceptions, connecting on just 23-of-47 throws for 257 yards. The young quarterback, who has regressed statistically on a weekly basis, has thrown more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (six) in his first season as Denver’s full-time starting quarterback.

“You can’t win turning the ball over that much,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “We’ve got to do a good job of evaluating why we’ve thrown these interceptions and what we can do to help him. Everybody’s fingerprints are on that performance and we all have to take a good hard look at it, which we have been on a weekly basis, but we haven’t found the right formula yet to be consistent on offense.”

And among the turnovers, lack of offense, and a run defense that surrendered 203 yards — which surprisingly isn’t even the most against the Broncos this year, Denver found a way to embarrassingly get flagged for having 12 men and 10 men on the field on separate occasions.

It’s getting ugly.