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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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Broncos Sports betting

Broncos-Titans betting guide and offers

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. For whatever it’s worth the Broncos are 18-2 in their past 20 home openers, but all those games had fans in the stands and came after a full-slate of preseason games.

The odds makers also are expecting a low-scoring game with the over/under listed at 41. Looking at the first 14 games of the NFL season the overs have hit nine times, it’s obviously a small sample size, but it just feels like 41 is a little too low, even in what could be a defensive contest.

Props worth considering

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook you’re able to place single-game parlays on the Broncos-Titans game, while some sportsbooks don’t allow similar wagers to be combined. Here’s a look at a couple options I think are worth the gamble tonight.

A $10 parlay on Titans running back Derrick Henry and Broncos running back Philip Lindsay along with receiver Jerry Jeudy to all score touchdowns in the game will win you $304. Lindsay and Jeudy are longer shots to get in the end zone, but at odds of +3045 it’s a risk worth taking.

The other bet I really like at FanDuel simply because of the odds is picking Tennessee to win, the Broncos to cover and the over to hit. At odds of +4228 a $10 bet will win you $422. For what it’s worth all it would take is a final score in the low 20s for both teams with the Titans winning by one or two points.

Special offers

There’s a slew of special offers out there on tonight’s game. We’ve already mentioned FanDuel’s single-game parlays bets that are available, here’s a couple more that are worth a look.

DraftKings is offering First TD Insurance, meaning if you bet on who will score the game’s first touchdown you’ll get your money back as long as your pick scores a TD at any point in the game. Your money will be refunded in the form of a free bet up to $20.

If you want to take a Bronco here I would suggest Lindsay, Jeudy or tight end Noah Fant. All three are +1200, so it’s a great payoff if they score first, but you also have a decent chance to get your money back with a TD later in the game.

The final two offers are for new customers at BetMGM and William Hill sportsbooks.

At BetMGM all you need to do is signup, make a deposit and place a moneyline bet on the Broncos-Titans game, if either team scores a TD you’ll receive $100 in free bets.

At William Hill just sign up, make a deposit and place at least a $5 moneyline or point spread bet on the game. If the team you picked wins or loses by less than 50 points you’ll win a $101 free bet.

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