O≠ense needs major changes Broncos have been able to score only two touchdowns in their last 14 quarters
kansas city, mo.» The playoffs were still within reach for Denver heading into Sunday night’s game against Kansas City, but the Broncos’ last stand proved to be little more than the final note of the same sad song.
Denver’s season-long offensive problems — lack of a running game, offensive line ineptitude, inexperience at the quarterback position and a complete disaster on short-yardage plays — all showed up again in a 33-10 drubbing by the Chiefs.
“We shot ourselves in the foot in critical situations. Our game is throwing and catching and staying on schedule with the run,” left offensive tackle Russell Okung said. “We weren’t able to do that today against a really consistent team. Because of that, we took a loss.”
The Broncos, now officially out of the playoffs, will be forced to look toward the offseason with their window slowly closing on a defense they rode to a Super Bowl championship last season, and their offensive issues more profound than ever.
It’s an indictment of offensiveminded coach Gary Kubiak and his staff that the Broncos have scored just two touchdowns in their last 14 quarters and 23 points in their last three games.
“We just got to look toward to the future. That’s all we can do,” The Broncos’ offense and Chiefs’ defense collide while chasing a fumble by Denver running back Devontae Booker in the fourth quarter Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. Joe Amon, The Denver Post rookie running back Devontae Booker said. “We’ve got to come back, work our butt off and be better than we were this season.”
First-year starting quarterback Trevor Siemian played his worst game of the season. He finished 17-of-43 for 183 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and a 43.1 quarterback rating. He consistently missed open receivers, forced the ball into double coverage and failed to get his team out of bad play calls.
It’s fair to wonder whether he’s the answer at the position, but the problems around him are so significant, it’s hard to make a true assessment.
Rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in his two starts this season, filling in for an injured Siemian.
Denver’s offense gained just 246 yards. The Broncos finished with 63 yards rushing, only 17 more than Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had by himself.
The Broncos’ only offensive touchdown was gift-wrapped by a Justin Simmons interception, which allowed them to start on the Chiefs’ 6-yard line.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said running back Justin Forsett, who scored that lone touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter.
A combination of personnel and scheme problems may make it necessary for Kubiak to look at changes in both areas.
Donald Stephenson had another tough game at right offensive tackle. He was beaten throughout the game by Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford and his speed rushes. Stephenson allowed three quarterback hits and many more pressures. He was called for five penalties, four of which were accepted.
“It was just the penalties. Other than that, it was fine. It was the false starts,” Stephenson said. “It was trying to get a jump on the snap. Obviously, the noise played a factor. I just have to be more poised in those situations.”
The Broncos need upgrades throughout their entire offensive line, but the issues probably can’t be fixed in one offseason.
Denver’s top two offensive players, receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, combined for four catches for 46 yards — and no touchdowns.
Unlike in the past season, a Super Bowl victory won’t be able to hide the issues on offense. It’s time for serious reflection on what went wrong.