If you ever wanted to know what offensive futility in football looks like, I hope you watched the Broncos “O” against the Chargers on Thursday night.
San Diego did what it could to keep the Broncos in the game — kicking field goals when it should’ve been putting up sevens, playing too conservative with a big lead, even failing to cover up a last-gasp onside kick — but the Broncos offense couldn’t take advantage.
The Chargers (2-4) pulled out a 21-13 win over the Broncos (4-2) in what was a truly awful football game.
Where did the Broncos’ issues start on offense? With quarterback Trevor Siemian, who made his return from a sprained left shoulder, which is his non-throwing one.
Siemian was inaccurate and played it far too safe in the early going. You probably needed both hands to count the number of times he threw the ball short of the sticks on third-and-long. That, coupled with some accuracy issues early, helped the Chargers climb out to a 21-3 lead.
He ended up throwing the ball 50 times because Denver got in such a big hole. Far, far too many attempts. He came on a little bit in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late. Siemian had one final chance to tie it with a Hail Mary in the closing seconds, after the Chargers completely muffed an onside kick. Fittingly, his throw was about five yards short of the end zone.
To be fair, Siemian didn’t get a ton of help from his offensive line or wide receivers either.
Denver committed 12 penalties for 103 yards, and oh my God, were so many of those holding calls. Left guard Max Garcia’s fourth-quarter holding penalty in Denver’s end zone gave San Diego two points plus the ball back. San Diego’s pass rush, led by Joey Bosa, also recorded eight QB hits.
The Broncos receivers had fumbling issues as well. Jordan Taylor coughed one up in the third quarter. Demaryius Thomas lost the other fumble in the fourth quarter, in what was part of a particularly ugly sequence.
It started with this.
Good, right? Except it was called back because of holding. Then Siemian was sacked on first-and-20. Thomas fumbled on the next play, all but sealing Denver’s fate.
In all, the Broncos managed just one touchdown and a pair of field goals in 14 drives. They averaged 4.5 yards per play. And this came against a Chargers defense that was 29th in points allowed entering the game.
The Broncos have some serious issues to work out on offense. They’ll have 11 days until Monday Night Football against the Houston Texans. They’re no longer first in the AFC West. That would be the 4-1 Oakland Raiders. This also came to an end:
Maybe they can sort a few thing out with the time off. Siemian’s four-touchdown game against Cincinnati felt like it happened 100 years ago.