Broncos Report Card: All-or-nothing offense not enough in loss to Titans

Offense – C

It was an all-or-nothing game for the Broncos. On their two scoring drives, they ran 19 plays and gained 125 yards. On their other nine drives, they had a total of nine first downs. Drew Lock had 11 incompletions and three were drops — one by tight end Jake Butt and two by rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy. Lock was solid overall (95.0 rating) and found tight end Noah Fant early and often. When they look back, though, two drives while leading 14-13 will be maddening. On the first, the Broncos moved 24 yards, but had no gain on second-and-3 and an incompletion on third-and-3. On the second, Jeudy dropped a quick slant on first down that might have sealed the game.

Defense – C

The Broncos couldn’t make a third fourth-quarter stop, allowing Tennessee to kick the winning field goal with 17 seconds left on the clock. Derrick Henry rushed 31 times for 116 yards, gaudy numbers, but the Broncos limited him to only 3.7 yards per carry and a long of 13 yards. But the coverage was too leaky and soft. Ryan Tannehill completed 29-of-43 passes for 249 yards and the Broncos had trouble accounting for slot receiver Adam Humphries (six catches). The Titans converted seven of their 16 third-down opportunities, allowing them to run 19 more plays than the Broncos. Inside linebacker Alexander Johnson had a crucial personal foul penalty to negate rookie Michael Ojemudia’s interception. But like last year, there was no closing kick by the Broncos’ defense.

Special teams – B

Only returner Diontae Spencer’s bad decision to catch a punt at his 3-yard line kept the special teams from getting an A on Monday. Shelby Harris blocked a field goal attempt and Sam Martin was terrific in his Broncos debut, placing his punts toward the sideline to allow the coverage players to get down the field. Martin averaged 42.6 yards net.

Coaching – D
 
Two decisions should be second-guessed. In the first half, the Broncos faced a fourth-and-goal from the Titans’ 1-yard line. The previous three plays had gained a yard, but Pat Shurmur’s thought was good, using three tight ends. But on the final play, the Broncos used three receivers and one tight end (Jake Butt). The shovel pass to Butt in traffic was doomed and the Titans made a stand. And in the final two minutes, coach Vic Fangio had three timeouts to save some seconds for his offense after Tennessee moved into field goal range. But Fangio opted against using of them, questionable because it left time for only three plays at the end.