Three measly points.
Hope you had that one DVR’d. Skipped through the commercials. Fast forwarded through all the 3-and-outs and punts. That field goal in the third quarter was the sole offensive highlight for the Broncos during their 20-3 loss in Buffalo on Sunday. You could have watched Brandon McManus’ 45-yard kick in 10 seconds and skipped the rest and enjoyed that Denver sunshine and 60-degree November day instead.
In modern day NFL football, the pigskin has wings. It’s flying all over. On any given Sunday, the scoreboard man and the stats guy are busy fellows, but for them, a game that features the Broncos offense must feel like a bye week.
There’s just no O in Br_nc_s.
Amidst Buffalo’s stiff breeze, Denver could do absolutely nothing on offense. If you thought three points was bad, consider that the Broncos only tallied 134 yards of total offense. They averaged just 2.9 yards per play.
The NFL’s league average for total yards per game currently sits right at about 350 yards per game. Denver has mustered just 302.8 and ranks as the sixth worst offense in the league. When it comes to points, only the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins have scored fewer points this season.
Here in Denver, just four seasons removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, we puff out our chests and site Super Bowls, sellouts and a rich tradition. Well, newsflash, the Broncos just lost to the Bills and are regularly mentioned in the same sentence as the Dolphins, Redskins, Jets and Bengals. My, oh my, how the mighty have fallen.
Serious question though: When was the last time you really felt great about the Broncos offense?
Was it 2013? Sure, the Broncos disappointed in 2014, but they still had the fourth best offense in football. It couldn’t have been 2015 – we griped and argued all season over Peyton Manning having a tired arm and being forced to play under center – because the offense was ranked 16th (thankfully the defense was good enough to win a Super Bowl).
Since Manning retired, the Broncos have ranked 27th (2016), 17th (2017), 19th (2018) and now 27th. And without Adam Gase, the former Broncos offensive coordinator, the team has yet to crack into the league’s top-15 offensively. It’s probably fair and accurate to assign the lion’s share of the Broncos offensive prowess to Manning, though, as it should be noted that Gase’s Jets currently are the lowest producing offense in the NFL. Perhaps it all comes down to the quarterback no matter how you slice it.
They say, too, that defense wins championships. But in Denver, that’s not entirely true. In years the Broncos have been to the Super Bowl, the Broncos offense has ranked 16th, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 15th, 2nd, 15th and 17th. Six out of eight of Denver’s Super Bowl teams boasted a top-10 defense, too. The truth is that winning typically requires both.
Right now, the Broncos have a top-5 defense, but the offense is so far behind, it essentially doesn’t matter. Sunday’s game was unwatchable. Scratch that – the Broncos offense this season has been unwatchable.
In the nine seasons under John Elway’s watch, since he’s returned to the Broncos as an executive in 2011, Denver has impressively fielded six top-5 defenses. The Broncos have three top-5 offenses, but in years they’re not, the best they’ve been is 16th. Oddly, one of the greatest offensive players in NFL history can’t seem to find the O in Denver while wearing a suit (or without Peyton Manning).
Unless Drew Lock is something special – something we’re unsure when or if we’ll ever find out – it looks as if the O will be missing from Br_nc_s for at least the foreseeable future. It’s getting harder to watch with each passing (pun intended) week.
This is Denver, Colorado, where the Broncos are supposed to score. So where’d the O go?