The final result – New Orleans 31, Broncos 3 – will be a footnote next week when Drew Lock and Co. returning from NFL lockout next year when hopefully things like masks and protocols are no longer needed, and in the future when Kendall Hinton reflects from practice squad receiver to quarterback in the space of 24 hours.
Hinton will remember Sunday on the empty Mile High, even if he completed more passes to the Saints (two) than his teammates (one).
But everything else must be forgotten. Everything. Continue. Think Kansas City.
The 112 meter offense, six first downs and three turnovers? Never mind. The Defense Finally Withers After a Strong First Quarter Admitting 229 Rush Yards? Old news. And will the Broncos lose a third game this year by at least 25 points? Does not matter.
The Broncos had no chance to beat New Orleans after NFL-benched quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles for violating protocols for wearing masks and social distance. Already minus Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday, the Broncos turned to Hinton and running Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in short notice to catch / receive the snaps from center Lloyd Cushenberry.
“For me, I’m not really disappointed with the quarterbacks,” said security Kareem Jackson after the Broncos were down to 4-7. “I know the protocols have been picked up a bit and wearing that mask every day in a conference room is definitely getting annoying. But you have to do what you have to do. I just wanted to go into the game, we didn’t get a chance. ”
And for that, the Broncos should blame the league, who wanted to set an example for the quarterbacks. They certainly had to hold the quarterbacks to account, but the punishment just didn’t fit the crime.
Jackson tackled the league because he wasn’t open to moving the game. The close-contact rule is five days of isolation, but his point is good about playing on Monday or Tuesday, as it would have given the coaches and players valuable time to develop a game plan.
“To have to keep playing this game and not have a chance to sort things out with our quarterback situation, that was absolutely disappointing,” he said.
Utterly disappointing, utterly unfortunate and utterly pathetic.
The seeds of Saturday’s madness were planted last Tuesday. The Broncos had left, but the quarterbacks went to the facility on their day off to watch video.
“They got lax with their masks, I think, and got lax with their distance from each other, I think,” said coach Vic Fangio.
Just before Saturday’s practice at 1 p.m., the quarterbacks were told to hurry.
“I was the last out of the locker room and Drew came back and told me the deal and they might not be able to play,” Jackson said.
The league made their decision – it still hasn’t made a public announcement and selected their supportive media votes to carry out its words – after a conference call with a group including Broncos president / CEO Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway.
Asked if he was surprised and / or disappointed with the NFL’s decision, Fangio struck in an unexpected direction.
“I was disappointed on a number of levels because our quarterbacks put us in this position, our quarterbacks put the league in that position,” said Fangio. “We are counting on them to be the leaders of this team and the leaders of the attack and those guys made a mistake and that’s disappointing.”
Whoa. We didn’t expect Fangio to apply a flamethrower to the competition, because that would result in a fine… and he got docked $ 100,000 early this season for not wearing his mask regularly. But it was unexpected for him to put the blame entirely on the quarterbacks and then on himself.
“Obviously, I haven’t sold the protocols to them well enough if they’re on their own,” he said. Some of that may fall on me. I thought I was. ”
Fangio was diplomatic and Jackson businesslike. The Broncos have reason to feel pissed off because they lost their goodbye week in October when New England had two positive tests. That game was moved for a week. Sunday’s show went on as planned.
The Broncos faced off against the Saints knowing that Baltimore had moved its Thanksgiving Night match in Pittsburgh to Tuesday due to numerous cases of coronavirus.
What was the difference? According to a source of the league, the findings of the league and the players’ union have so far led to the idea that there was a Broncos spread. Lock, Rypien and Bortles turned out to be close contacts and were therefore placed on the COVID-19 / reserve list on Sunday morning. Baltimore had moved its game because the virus is not considered contained yet as positives have been contracted outside the building.
The NFL is investigating any team that has alleged violations of the COVID protocol. The NFLPA is working with the league to control the spread of the virus, after reviewing the facts, and then the NFL office is considering disciplinary action for violations. The Broncos should expect a fine, especially if the league believes they are repeat offenders over Fangio’s early season fine (the team was fined $ 500,000).
Ahead of the match, Lock tweeted a statement saying, “In a controlled and socially remote space, we let our masking slip for a limited time. An honest mistake, but one that I will own. … I sincerely apologize and fully understand why these security measures are so important. Most of the time, doing the right thing isn’t good enough. ”
Lock’s apology is noble and probably justified, but what about an apology for the competitive integrity of the game being compromised? Don’t expect the NFL to issue one.
Don’t expect the Saints to turn down victory either. New Orleans took advantage of the Broncos’ plight and took a dominant win after a slow start. The Saints opened the score with a 13-play drive, aided by the defense of Dre’Mont Jones’ fourth-and-1 neutral zone penalty and capped by quarterback Taysom Hill’s one-yard touchdown.
The Broncos’ chances of an unlikely win – or to make things interesting in the second half – vanished in the last three minutes of the first half when the Saints made a Lindsay fumble (bad snap from Cushenberry) and a Hinton interception in 10 points and a 17-0 lead.
The Broncos’ 112 yards were their fifth least, their six first downs third least, 12 on seventh shortest, and one completion the least in team history.
Fangio, hopeful that he will have his regular quarterbacks back at the facility early this week, greeted the commitment of his available players.
“I have a lot of love and respect for our players,” he said. “I know the score is what it is, but they played hard, they played physically and I love and respect them even more.
“In the end it was just too big a question.”
Three-headed monster (OR) Quick decision
The Broncos had three players (Royce Freeman, Kendall Hinton and Phillip Lindsay) snaps in Sunday’s bizarre 31-3 defeat to the Saints. A look at how the offense fared with each:
|Kendall Hinton||24||15||9 (1-9)||36||2 interceptions|
|Phillip Lindsay||9||9||0||29||1 clumsy snap|
The Broncos set a franchise record for the fewest completions in a game Sunday, with Kendall Hinton connecting at just 1-of-9 passes for 13 yards. Denver completed two passes three different times in a game, including a 17-10 win over Kansas City on November 13, 2011, when Tim Tebow completed 2-of-8 for 68 yards. Still, Sunday’s loss wasn’t the worst day Broncos fans have seen in terms of passing yardage thanks to a few games where Denver QBs couldn’t stop getting fired:
|September 10, 1967||at Oakland||2-16-1||-53||13.5||Loss, 51-0|
|September 3, 1966||at Houston||2-20-0||-7||39.6||Loss, 45-7|
|September 4, 1983||at Pittsburgh||5-16-1||1||35.7||Wins, 14-10|
|November 15, 1964||NY Jets||7-21-2||6||18.7||Win, 20-16|
|September 3, 1978||Oakland||5-13-1||8||40.2||Victory, 6-14|
|November 30, 1975||San Diego||8-20-6||8||25.0||Wins, 13-10 (OT)|
|November 29, 2020||New Orleans||1-9-2||13||0.0||Loss, 31-3|
Top five worst yardage totals
It lasted until the final stage of the game, but the Broncos were able to black out 100 meters against New Orleans on Sunday. As bad as things have been, Denver has had even worse offensive performances.
|September 10, 1967||at Oakland||-5||Loss, 51-0|
|September 3, 1966||at Houston||26||Loss, 45-7|
|September 20, 1992||in Philadelphia||82||Loss, 30-0|
|November 20, 1966||Oakland||102||Loss, 17-3|
|November 29, 2020||New Orleans||112||Loss, 31-3|