Five things we learned from the Broncos first shutout loss since 1992

For the second week in a row, Trevor Siemian embarrassed the Denver Broncos.

In the process, the Broncos were humiliated with the most recent most embarrassing loss in team history. I didn’t think it could get worse for the Broncos after the 23-10 flogging at the hands of the New York Giants. I should have given Siemian more credit because after Sunday’s 21-0 shutout to the Los Angeles Chargers, he said “hold my beer.”

At this point, what more does the organization need to see? It was not only embarrassed two weeks in a row, it was shutout for the first time since 1992. Have the standards dropped that far for this organization?

It’s not about to get better for Denver either. Over the next three weeks, the Broncos (3-3) face the Kansas City Chiefs (on the road), Philadelphia Eagles (on the road) and New England Patriots. If Denver isn’t 3-6 after that stretch of games … there’s no conceivable way this team wins a game over the next three weeks.

As it stands now, the Broncos have lost two in a row and three of their last four. The confidence of a good season has vanished quicker than tacos when I’m around.

Here’s the five things we learned from the most recent debacle.

Siemian is done

Even if he doesn’t admit it or know, even if the organization doesn’t admit it or know, Siemian can no longer play or remain the quarterback. Denver cannot continue to put him on the field and expect to get different results. That’s the definition of insanity.

I said in the game preview that the time has come for Siemian to step up and deliver. Show in a must-win game the team can rely on the quarterback to get the job done. Show the most important position on the field has the shoulders to actually carry the team.

He failed in miserable, historical fashion, and as Adam Malnati and I said on the MHR Radio Recap, he needs to find a spot on the bench.

There are no more excuses you can make for Siemian. It’s not the offensive line’s fault, the coaches, the play calling, the receivers, the left-handed balls or his throwing glove being on the wrong hand. He’s just a bad quarterback. He could become a serviceable backup for some team in the NFL, but at this point, the odds of that don’t look good either.

Here’s a crucial point made by Benjamin Allbright on Twitter that ends the “yeah, but it’s the offensive line’s fault:” The Chargers literally have the two guys at right and left tackle whom Denver ran out of town, yet it’s not a problem for them. Gee, I wonder why?

Whether Siemian’s the “lone problem” isn’t the issue. He’s the biggest, most glaring problem. He’s not good. In fact, not only has Siemian not improved, he’s regressed. Enough. Is. Enough. Make the switch now to Brock Osweiler, see if a spark ignites the offense and get behind him.

“To have three more turnovers, six three-and-outs, not cross the 50, three times, that’s unacceptable,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph told Dave Logan after the game.

OK, prove it. Back up your words with a move that should have been made before Sunday’s game. What is not an option is to do nothing and keep your head planted in the ground. If a move isn’t made, what message does that send?

Take out “special” from special teams

Legend has it that Gary Payton, one of the NBA’s all-time best point guards, had a great line about Jason Kidd, another of the NBA’s all-time best point guards. Until Kidd proved he had a jumpshot, Payton would just call him “Ason.” I tried to find if the legend was real but didn’t have any luck. Still, it ties in with the Broncos.

Until Brock Olivo and his teams prove they can do their job, they’re just “teams.” The returners consistently put the offense in a bad spot by returning kickoffs they should down, the coverage has more holes than a fishing net and Brandon McManus. The positive out of Sundays’ game, courtesy of my wife: At least Denver didn’t get into range to see McManus miss a field goal.

We thought the special teams were bad last season, Olivo and this year’s “teams” are taking a cue from Siemian, “hold my beer.”

I’m a small man. I’m a 48-yr old man. I’m a Denver native. That goes down as one of the most pathetic Broncos performances ever put forth.

— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) October 22, 2017
Broncos defense deserves better

Every single member of that defense should be pissed. And they should all call out Siemian. Denver’s defense just battled its ass off, and that’s what it gets for its troubles?

The Broncos held Philip Rivers and the Chargers to 242 yards of total offense — 162 through the air and 80 on the ground. By the time Rivers hit Travis Benjamin for the 42-yard touchdown with a little over 5 minutes left in the game, Denver’s defense was gassed. Even then, the defense still held the Chargers to 14 points.

The Broncos also held LA to 3-of-12 on third down and 1-of-2 in the red zone. Remember they also had that remarkable stand early in the game when they shut the Chargers down from inside the 1-yard line. Siemian and the offense rewarded Denver’s defense by being even worse on third down and in the red zone — 3-of-14 and 0-of-1.

About all you can say that’s negative about Denver’s defense is it didn’t force any turnovers, but would it have mattered with how inept and incompetent Siemian is?

Whatever you do, Broncos fans, don’t you dare pin this on the defense. Not one bit.

— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) October 22, 2017
What does Joseph do exactly?

Prior to Sunday’s game, Joseph told the media he wanted to get Jamaal Charles more touches. Right on cue, Broncos Country got excited about the prospects. As we’ve seen since the start of the season, when Charles touches the ball excitement tends to follow.

If eight touches are “more,” I cringe to think what less means. Siemian finished with more yards rushing than Charles. On no planet is that acceptable. It’s time for Charles to become the No. 1 back for this team. C.J. Anderson is a nice player, but he’s a complimentary player. Charles has proven he can do it, so give him the chance. Feed him the ball. For those who say, “They’re saving him.” Saving him for what? Another season of not making the playoffs? “Well, at least Charles didn’t get injured.”

As mentioned earlier, Joseph is the one who makes the ultimate decisions for the Broncos on the field. If he says Charles gets more touches, he should get more touches. When he says it’s unacceptable how Siemian played on Sunday, back it up because your words carry no weight if you don’t.

It gets worse for Joseph: He joins Lou Saban (1967) as the only head coaches in Denver history to lose by shutout in his first season with the franchise. Two weeks in a row his team has been embarrassed, and he’s also the guy who decided to go with Siemian in the first place.

The Broncos outside linebacker finished with two sacks on Sunday, five tackles (two for loss) and two quarterback hits. That performance allowed Miller to pass Ring of Famer Karl Mecklenberg for second on Denver’s all-time sack list. Miller now trails only Simon Fletcher in Broncos history.

Those two sacks also represent the 20th time Miller has tallied a multi-sack game in his career, and he’s the second-quickest player in NFL history to reach 80 sacks, behind only Reggie White. We knew Miller was special, see his MVP showing in Super Bowl 50, but he may go down as the best Broncos defender in history by the time he’s done.

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