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Broncos

Broncos surrender late lead in 16-14 loss to Titans

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.”

Apparently not.

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.
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.”

Fangio said.

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?

Extra points

  • 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

DateResult
Mon., Sept. 14Titans 16, Broncos 14Box score
Broncos overall record: 0-1
WKDateOpponentTime (MT)Ch.
2Sun. S20at Pittsburgh11 a.m.CBS
3Sun. S27vs. Tampa Bay2:25 p.m.FOX
4Thu. O1at N.Y. Jets6:20 p.m.NFL
5Sun. O11at New England11 a.m.CBS
6Sun. O18vs. Miami2:05 p.m.CBS
7Sun. O25vs. Kansas City2:25 p..CBS
8BYE
9Sun. N8at Atlanta11 a.m.CBS
10Sun. N15at Las Vegas2:05 p.m.CBS
11Sun. N22vs. L.A. Chargers2:05 p.m.CBS
12Sun. N29vs. New Orleans2:05 p.m.FOX
13Sun. D6at Kansas City6:20 p.m.NBC
14Sun. D13at Carolina11 a.m.CBS
15Sun. D20vs. BuffaloTBDTBD
16Sun. D27at L.A. ChargersTBDTBD
17Sun. J3vs. Las Vegas2:25 p.m.CBS

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Fangio changes Broncos’ practice plan due to injuries

With 11 players unable to practice on Monday, Denver head coach Vic Fangio decided to change the team’s practice schedule as the Broncos ended up being on the field for less than two hours, didn’t wear pads and the periods they did have were run at less than full speed.

Denver was without linebackers Justin Strnad (out for season, wrist surgery), Todd Davis (calf) and Malik Carney (illness, not COVID-related), tight end Austin Fort (knee), nose tackle Mike Purcell (calf), safety Alijah Holder (soft tissue), cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia (quad) and De’Vante Bausby (soft tissue), and receivers KJ Hamler (hamstring), Juwann Winfree (groin) and Tim Patrick (soft tissue).

“I was not expecting (this many soft-tissue injuries). There were some faults in how we set up the acclimation period along with other stuff. It doesn’t do anybody any good to whine about it now. We just have to adjust and improvise and react to it and we did (Monday).”

Fangio said after the revised practice.

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Broncos

Broncos’ season opener will be sans fans

On Friday morning the Broncos announced that the team’s season opener on Monday, Sept. 14 against the Tennessee Titans will take place without fans in the stands of Empower Field.

“Working in collaboration with the state and with safety as the top priority, we have made the decision that our home opener against Tennessee at Empower Field at Mile High will be played without fans. We are grateful for the loyalty and enthusiasm that Broncos fans have shown this year — despite such challenging circumstances — but this is the responsible thing to do right now for our community. 

The Broncos said in a statement that was released.

The team said that depending on the progress made during the ensuing weeks there is a chance that Denver’s Week 3 game Tampa Bay could allow some fans to attend.

  • In on-the-field news, Thursday wasn’t the best for Denver. Rookie K.J. Hamler will miss a couple weeks with a hamstring injury, while linebacker Todd Davis had to be helped off the field with a calf injury.
    Based on the timeline head coach Vic Fangio laid out, Hamler’s status for Week 1 could be in jeopardy.
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  • The Post’s Mark Kiszla also wrote about Bolles, writing that offensive line coach Mike Munchak needs to get his brain into Bolles’ body.
  • TheDNVR’s Zac Stevens wrote about why the praise being heaped on rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy is different that what you normally hear.
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Avalanche Broncos CU Buffs Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Friday, July 17 roundup

News on the Broncos, Rockies, Avs, Nuggets, Rapids and a few national stories as well.

Rockies

  • The Athletic has a story about what might have with relievers Brian Shaw and Jake McGee this season. Both pitchers have contract options built into their contracts that would activate if they pitch a certain number of games this season.
    If Shaw pitches in 15 games this season his contract for next year will become a player option at $9 million. McGee needs to pitch in 24 games this season for the same thing to happen.
    If neither pitcher reaches their respective number the Rockies could buy them out for $2 million each.
    My thoughts: Here’s hoping the Rockies don’t compound previous mistakes by allowing either pitcher to reach those marks this season.
  • Meanwhile The Denver Post wrote about left-hander Ryan Rolison and the fact that he’s had an impressive summer camp so far.
    Rolison was Colorado’s first-round pick back in 2018 and is now 23-years-old. Despite how he’s looked so far it’s not expected that he’ll be with the Rockies this year, partly due to the fact that he hasn’t pitched above Class-A. Manager Bud Black did leave the door open though that you never know what might happen, especially in such an unusual season as this one likely will be.
    My thoughts: I think this might be the perfect season to give a younger guy a shot. With expanded rosters and so many games in such a small window see what Rolison can do.
    I’ve never been a believer in going super slow with players. If they struggle then by all means send them down and allow them to work on what the need to. But a lot of the time I think allowing them to see what it’s like at the highest level gives them that experience and knowledge that they can’t get any other way.

Broncos

  • TheDNVR.com wrote about initial expectations for first-round pick Jerry Jeudy.
    My thoughts: As I was reading the article I came to the part where they gave a prediction for his stat line for a full 16-game season. They predicted 63 catches, 950 yards and 8 touchdowns.
    My initial reaction was, that would be great and I really like Jeudy, but that might be asking for a lot from him as a rookie. Then it was pointed out that those are the numbers that Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley — all first-round picks out of Alabama under Nick Saban have averaged as rookies.
    So, suddenly that feels much more doable. Personally, my biggest question has more to do with quarterback Drew Lock this season than it does Jeudy. Receivers oftentimes have a tough time their first year or two in the league, but that’s been going away more and more as the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league. Combine that with Jeudy’s superior route-running ability and really, the only issue is how good is Lock going to be this season.
  • The Denver Post had a fun story that if kicker Brandon McManus breaks the record for the longest field goal in NFL history this season the city of Denver gets a free beer.
    The deal is part of a partnership with Bud Light.
  • The Athletic also had an in-depth breakdown of the Broncos as a whole heading into the 2020 season.

Avalanche

  • Colorado got a taste of what it’s going to be like playing in an empty arena as they scrimmaged at the Pepsi Center.
    My thoughts: Obviously all sports at the professional level are going to be different without fans, but I think it’s being overblown how big of an impact it will have, at least when it comes to the NHL and NBA.
    The main reason is because those sports are entering the postseason. There’s no doubt that playing without fans during the doldrums of a season could be problematic, and we’ll probably see some of that late in the MLB season when you have two teams out of the playoff chase in September. But when it comes to team battling for a title I simply don’t believe a lack of fans will be that big of a deal.
    Having said that it will definitely negate whatever advantage the team with home ice, or court, would have had. But look no further than the Avs and Nuggets records last year at home and on the road in the playoffs. The Nuggets lost three home playoff games, including a Game 7, last year. While the Avs lost just one, but won on the road three times.
  • The Athletic broke down who has the inside track of being the Avs 12th forward, Tyson Jost or Matt Nieto.

Nuggets

  • TheDNVR.com wrote about how Denver is dealing with the strange conditions inside the NBA bubble.
  • The Denver Post focused on what rookie Bol Bol could bring to the table if he’s forced into action.
    My thoughts: Bol is super exciting because he’s 7-foot-2 and has such a unique skillset. Having said that it’s just tough thinking he can come in and contribute anything meaningful with so little experience.
    There’s no question though it’s hard to not get excited about the prospect of what the Nuggets could do over the course of the next few seasons if they were able to add Bol and Michael Porter, Jr. into the mix.
  • The Post also wrote about what Altitude’s TV coverage will look like.

Rapids

The Rapids take on Sporting Kansas City tonight coming off a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake in the opening game of the MLS is Back Tournament. Colorado is looking to get three points against one of the better teams year-in, year-out in the MLS.

The game starts at 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

Buffaloes

Despite what can only be described as a tumultuous offseason, the Buffs are doing their best to stay focused and get ready for the 2020 football season.

Nationally