In an ending that was eerily reminiscent of so many losses last season, the Broncos watched the Titans drive 83 yards on 12 plays, capped off by Stephen Gostkowski’s 25-yard field goal, as Tennessee rallied to beat Denver 16-14 in the season opener on Monday Night Football at Empower Field.
When it was over, it added up to an ugly debut for the Broncos in Vic Fangio’s second season at the helm that included:
- Injuries to running back Philip Lindsay (toe) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder).
- A lost fumble by running back Melvin Gordon and two fumbled snaps by quarterback Drew Lock, though Denver did recover both of those.
- Two key drops by rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy.
- A failed fourth-and-goal play by the offense that resulted in Denver coming away with zero points despite driving down to the Tennessee 1-yard line.
- The defense’s inability to stop a late drive and surrender the lead.
- Fangio’s poor clock management which left the Broncos with just 17 seconds when they got the ball back trailing 16-14. They finished the game with two timeouts remaining … maybe Fangio thinks they carry over to next week.
Highlights: Titans 16, Broncos 14
What they had to say
Denver safety Justin Simmons had this to say of the Broncos defense failing to stop the Titans when it mattered most:
“The drives prior, we did a good job keeping them (backed up and punting), and they had the ball back down there again and as a defense, you have to be able to keep them down there. We got to be better.”
On the failed fourth-and-goal play Lock shoveled the ball to tight end Jake Butt who was then stopped short of the end zone. Did Fangio regret the decision to forgo the three points in a game Denver lost by two? He said this afterward:
“I had no second thoughts there.”
As for Fangio’s decision not to use his timeouts during the Titans’ final drive, he said part of it was due to the fact that Gostkowski had missed three field goals and an extra point so far in the game.
“It was two-fold. One, their field goal kicker obviously (had) been having his problems so I didn’t want to extend the drive where they could get closer.Fangio said.
Number two, we would have used a time out, but we got the running back out of bounds. We would have used a second time out, but they threw an incompletion which would have given us one when we got the ball back so that was part of the thinking there.”
As it turned out the game-winning field goal was a 25-yarder, so not well played in saving them to prevent Tennessee from getting closer. And Fangio’s logic that he was ready to use them, but the situation didn’t allow him to makes no sense. He literally said he didn’t want to call any, so which is it?
- TheDNVR.com’s Zac Stevens did a great job recapping and showing how poor Fangio’s clock management at the end of the game was.
- Andrew Mason at DNVR detailed all the other ways Denver blew it vs. Tennessee.
- The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla too ripped Fangio’s late-game abilities and also wondered if 75,000 fans could have helped the Broncos.
- Kyle Newman of The Post detailed Jeudy’s first night in the NFL. Jeudy finished with four catches for 56 yards, but also had two key drops.
- My final thoughts: It’s just one of 16 games, but the Broncos looked just like they did last year: Unable to score on offense and a solid defense that crumbles at the end. Then you have Gordon fumbling, which was a major concern when Denver signed him this offseason. And add in injuries to Lindsay and Bouye coupled with upcoming games against Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay and it feels like this season could be sunk before the calendar hits October.
2020 Broncos results and schedule
|Mon., Sept. 14||Titans 16, Broncos 14||Box score|
|2||Sun. S20||at Pittsburgh||11 a.m.||CBS|
|3||Sun. S27||vs. Tampa Bay||2:25 p.m.||FOX|
|4||Thu. O1||at N.Y. Jets||6:20 p.m.||NFL|
|5||Sun. O11||at New England||11 a.m.||CBS|
|6||Sun. O18||vs. Miami||2:05 p.m.||CBS|
|7||Sun. O25||vs. Kansas City||2:25 p..||CBS|
|9||Sun. N8||at Atlanta||11 a.m.||CBS|
|10||Sun. N15||at Las Vegas||2:05 p.m.||CBS|
|11||Sun. N22||vs. L.A. Chargers||2:05 p.m.||CBS|
|12||Sun. N29||vs. New Orleans||2:05 p.m.||FOX|
|13||Sun. D6||at Kansas City||6:20 p.m.||NBC|
|14||Sun. D13||at Carolina||11 a.m.||CBS|
|15||Sun. D20||vs. Buffalo||TBD||TBD|
|16||Sun. D27||at L.A. Chargers||TBD||TBD|
|17||Sun. J3||vs. Las Vegas||2:25 p.m.||CBS|
Recent Denver-sports.com posts
For the past 26 years the biggest win in Nuggets’ franchise history was when Denver knocked off the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA playoffs and Dikembe Mutombo was seen on the floor clutching the ball over his head afterward. It’s safe to say there’s a new No. 1 in town […]
The Broncos 2020 season finally begins tonight as Denver welcomes in Tennessee to Empower Field in the second game of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader with kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. Tennessee favored At DraftKings Sportsbook Denver is listed at +3, in what was a pick ’em game before news of Von Miller’s injury broke. […]
Starting pitcher Ryan Castellani struggled through 5 1/3 innings Sunday, but somehow allowed only one unearned run and left with the Rockies leading 3-1. Unfortunately Colorado wouldn’t score again, while the Angels rallied for a 5-3 victory at Coors Field. Castellani allowed just one hit, but walked six and hit a batter over the course […]
Despite trailing by 19 points in the third quarter the Nuggets rallied on Sunday afternoon in Orlando to beat the Clippers 111-98 and force Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinals. Center Nikola Jokić led Denver with 34 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. He had this to say after the win: “Maybe this is […]
With the NFL season underway, the NBA and NHL playoffs still going and the MLB season winding down the sportsbooks in Colorado have tons of great offers going this weekend. Let’s look at some of the best. FanDuel FanDuel continues to offer up great promotions and this weekend is no exception. Friday they have an […]
The Rockies-Padres series mercifully came to a close for Colorado, as San Diego finished off a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win. Colorado lost in walk-off fashion Monday (1-0) and got routed Tuesday (14-5) before dropping another close game to finish out the series Wednesday. The Rockies are off today before starting a nine-game homestand […]