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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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Rockies hold on late for 8-7 win

Rockies

A pitcher’s duel suddenly turned into an offensive explosion on Tuesday night as the Rockies held on to beat the Diamondbacks 8-7 at Coors Field.

Kyle Freeland started for Colorado and went seven innings allowing two runs and was matched by Arizona’s Zac Gallen who did the same. But in the bottom of the eighth inning the Rockies sent 11 men to the plate, scored six runs and took an 8-2 lead into the ninth. Game over right? Not quite.

Phillip Diehl and Jairo Díaz came on for the Rockies and combined to give up five runs on six hits and a walk, while recording just two outs. Enter Daniel Bard who finished things off for his first save since 2011 by striking out Stephen Vogt.

Charlie Blackmon continued his red-hot hitting with another three-hit performance to run his hitting streak to 15 games, two shy of his career best. He’s now hitting .500 on the season, promoting MLB.com to ponder if he could hit .400 this season.

  • Colorado looks to win its sixth straight series to start the season in the rubber match this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) as Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 2.65 ERA) takes on Arizona’s Luke Weaver (0-3, 12.19 ERA).
  • There has been a noticeable drop in the velocity of Jon Gray’s four-seam fastball this season. Last year he averaged 96.0 mph with his four-seamer, so far this year it’s been 93.8 mph. Gray’s not sure what the problem is though because he said he feels fine.

Avalanche

The waiting is finally over for the Colorado Avalanche and their fans, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs is today (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Arizona Coyotes.

And the best news is fans throughout the Denver metro area will be able to watch it, as well as the rest of the Avs first-round series thanks to a decision by Altitude to not blackout the nationally televised broadcast. The same will be true for the Nuggets first-round playoff series as well.

Avalanche-Coyotes playoff schedule

DateTime (MT)Home team
Wed., Aug. 123:30 p.m.Colorado
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Colleges

On Tuesday both the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences announced that they were postponing the football season until the spring. While the Big Ten canceled its fall sports seasons for the time being, the Pac-12 took it a step further by postponing all sports through the end 2020, affecting winter sports as well.

For CU, the decision obviously postpones the football season, but also women’s golf, women’s volleyball, cross country and the fall seasons of golf and women’s tennis. The men’s and women’s basketball seasons, which usually start in early November will be pushed back to January at the earliest.

“The decision to postpone the fall sports seasons and to delay the start of the winter ones was not made in haste – but in light of current virus trends and the long term health impacts of COVID-19 remaining unknown, this was determined to be the best course of action for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release.

As it stands right now, 53 of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams have canceled the fall season.

Nuggets

The Nuggets play their second-to-last seeding game tonight (7 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) against the Clippers.

Denver currently is the No. 3 seed in the West and could overtake the Clippers for No. 2 if Denver wins its final two games and L.A. loses its final two. The Nuggets also could fall to the fourth seed if they drop both games and Houston wins its final two.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote about what Monday’s loss to the Lakers says about the Nuggets bench going forward. Denver’s bench outscored the Lakers’ 57-28 in the game.
  • For you sports bettors out there, make sure to take advantage of FanDuel’s incredible offer for tonight Nuggets-Clippers game. As of this writing the Nuggets are +87 at -110 odds. What does that mean? If you bet $50, the max allowed for this offer, and the Nuggets don’t lose by 87 points or more you’ll win $45.45. So yeah, it’s free money.

Broncos

Running back Phillip Lindsay spoke to the media on Tuesday and among other things he talked about how he’s “going to have a hell of a season.”

I’ve written before that I think Lindsay got shortchanged by the Broncos this offseason. Free-agent Melvin Gordon signed a two-year $16 million deal, while Lindsay will be making $750,000 this season.

I’m not convinced Lindsay isn’t the better back, but no matter what he deserved to get a raise for what he did during his first two years in the league with the Broncos. Here’s hoping he has an even better 2020 season and finally cashes in with a big contract.

High school

The Denver Post’s Andy Yamashita wrote about the decision Colorado volleyball players might have to make going forward, play high school or club?

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Rockies sweep A’s, home opener up next

Rockies

The Rockies improved to 4-1 on the season after beating the A’s 5-1 on Wednesday afternoon in Oakland to sweep the two-game series. No. 1 starter Germán Márquez gave up a home run in the first inning, but cruised the rest of the way. He finished with eight strikeouts, three hits and just one walk during six innings of work.

The offensive still wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but they got the job done for the Rockies when it mattered most. Including adding a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to make it a much more comfortable win.

My thoughts: First off, I love this shortened MLB season. In a normal year Márquez wouldn’t have started yesterday because teams want to get their fifth starter work. How much better is it that teams are simply trying to win each game, instead of treating the whole season like a marathon.
As for the Rockies as a whole, it’s been a great start and we’re already through a 12th of the season and Colorado is alone in first place in the NL West. Really, what more could you ask for from them.

Avalanche

Colorado played its first game in more than four months, albeit of the exhibition variety, as the Avs beat Minnesota 3-2 on Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton.

Joonas Donskoi, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog all scored for the Avs in the win. Colorado managed to kill seven-of-eight penalties during the win.

Colorado has a bye in the best-of-five play-in round that starts Saturday. Instead, the Avs open play Sunday against the St. Louis Blues in what will determine the top four seeds in the Western Conference.

Nuggets

While the Nuggets don’t play until Saturday, the NBA season tips off tonight with Utah taking on New Orleans and the Lakers and Clippers squaring off with one another.

TheAthletic.com wrote about “Numbers to know about all 22 teams in the bubble.” The numbers to know about the Nuggets? 66.1% and 10.3%. Those were Bol Bol’s true shooting and block percentages during his eight games of G League action this year for the Windy City Bulls. It’s safe to say Bol’s play has been one of the biggest storylines of the NBA’s return so far.

My thoughts: Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be talking about Bol much until at least next season at this point. Coach Michael Malone struggled to play Michael Porter Jr. during big chunks of the season and that was when the games were much less important and when he’d seen Porter play more in practice and training camp.

I just have a hard time believing Malone is going to give Bol many minutes, if any, unless the Nuggets suffer a few injuries or are really, really struggling.

Broncos

Yesterday I wrote about PFF.com’s quarterback rankings. Well, today they’ve got their team-by-team backfield rankings up. I assumed Denver would be near the middle of the pack, and PFF.com actually had them a little higher at No. 12.

Not surprisingly, they’re high on Phillip Lindsay’s play, but are more questioning about the addition of Melvin Gordon. As they point out, Gordon was great in 2018, but during the rest of his NFL career he’s simply been average.

My thoughts: I was never a fan of the offseason signing of Gordon. I think the Broncos overpaid for him and risk alienating Lindsay in the process.

I would have much rather seen them give Lindsay a raise and either sign a cheaper free-agent back or pick one high in the NFL Draft.

CSU Rams

Colorado State’s football team temporarily suspended activities after as many as 17 people within the CSU athletics department tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are taking this step to voluntarily pause football activities to minimize the opportunity for this virus to spread any further. We will always put the health and safety of our student-athletes and community first, and while we are disappointed to see this spread occur within our program, we remain encouraged for the continued collaboration we have experienced with our University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team, local, county, and state health officials.”

CSU athletic director Joe Parker via a news release.

CU Buffs

Buffzone.com’s Brian Howell wrote about how head coach Karl Dorrell is earning the respect of his team.

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rapids Rockies

Nuggets, Rockies, Rapids all in action today

Nuggets

The Nuggets are back in action today for the first time since mid-March, albeit just a scrimmage vs. the Washington Wizards (1:30 p.m., Altitude).

Denver is only expected to have nine players available to play as both Gary Harris and Torrey Craig cleared quarantine on Tuesday, but will not be available.

  • According to The Denver Post fourteen of the Nuggets players will wear messages on their jerseys supporting racial equality. Guard Troy Daniels added the team also is considering other ways of protesting, but said nothing has been decided as of now.

Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon was named a finalist for yet another award on Tuesday, this time the Hart Trophy, the NHL’s MVP. Last week the MacKinnon also was named a finalist for the Lady Byng and Ted Lindsay trophies.

The Lady Byng is given to the player who displays the best sportsmanship, along with high standards of play. MacKinnon definitely makes sense for that since his 12 penalty minutes this season are the fewest among the NHL’s top 25 scorers.

And the Ted Lindsay trophy is for the league’s “most outstanding player.”

My thoughts: I’m guessing the Lady Byng is the only regular-season hardware MacKinnon brings home this year, but he’ll be perfectly fine with that if he adds a Stanley Cup instead.

Rockies

It was just an exhibition game, but still, it was great to see the Rockies back in action on Tuesday night. Colorado beat the Rangers 5-1 as Texas opened new Globe Life Field.

Colorado got home runs from Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado and David Dahl in the win. The team’s square off against tonight (6 p.m.), before Opening Day on Friday.

Broncos

Today in their on-going series, The Denver Post tackled the Broncos’ running backs.

My thoughts: I still don’t understand the need to sign Melvin Gordon this offseason. I think he’s clearly an upgrade over Royce Freeman, but I’m not sure he’s an upgrade over Phillip Lindsay. And the $16 million over two years just feels like a major overpay.

I would have rather seen Denver sign a less expensive free agent (Devonta Freeman perhaps) and use the extra money for some help on the offensive line or at cornerback.

And one thing the Post article does not mention is Gordon’s problems with fumbling during his career. It doesn’t matter how well he runs this ball, if he can’t hang onto it he’ll be a liability.

  • ESPN.com published its list of the most improved teams this offseason from 1-to-32. Denver checked in at No. 6, right behind Cleveland and just in front of Arizona.
    They ranked Miami the most improved and the L.A. Rams as the least improved.

Rapids

Colorado is back in action tonight against Minnesota United (8:30 p.m., ESPN, Altitude 92.5 FM) for what likely is their final game of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The Rapids dropped the first two games of the group stage against Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. Minnesota already has clinched a spot in the knockout round.

The Denver Post wrote about whether or not the Rapids have a discipline problem. And judging by the numbers, the do. Colorado led the MLS in red cards last year and in 2018 had 11 more yellow cards than the next closest team.

CSU Rams

The Mountain West Conference released its conference’s coaches poll on Tuesday and Colorado State was picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Mountain Division. Not surprisingly, Boise State is picked to finish first, followed by Wyoming and Air Force.

New Mexico was the one team ranked below the Rams.