© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
The fine folks at ESPN summed up the Denver Broncos’ Christmas Eve perfectly.
“That thing was a mess from the start.”
Of course, The Mothership was referring to the Tim Patrick reverse that went for a loss of seven yards in the first quarter, but it would have fit the entire game to a tee as well.
The Monday Night Football crew — consisting of Jason Witten, Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland — didn’t hold back on the 6-9 Broncos on the eve of Christmas — and rightfully so after getting beat by the Oakland Raiders, who entered Week 16 tied for the worst record in the NFL.
But it was a comment, or more so a point, made by Jason Witten in the waning seconds of the game that resonated deeper than all of the other harsh, yet applicable, comments made throughout the three-hour contest.
The play before the two-minute warning, faced with a 3rd-and-9, Raiders’ running back Doug Martin marched down the throat of the Broncos’ defense for 12 yards, picking up the first down and essentially ending the game.
Instead of pointing to the poor gap control or missed tackles, Witten, the former 11-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer, pointed to the Bronco the furthest away from the play, Bradley Roby.
From the ESPN booth, Witten tore into Roby, exclaiming the former first-round pick had flat-out quit.
Witten rewound the tape and showed how Roby, who was 15 yards away from the play, never attempted to get in the vicinity of the play, highlighting how the fifth-year cornerback simply elected to stand by a receiver who was giving little-to-no resistance instead.
“Keep an eye on Roby, here. The young corner, it’s a running play, watch this effort. The ball hits inside, he just stops. The play’s still going,” Witten described while the video showed an idle Roby. “It cannot happen.”
If that wasn’t enough of a callout, during the Raiders’ final kneel downs to end the game, Witten continued.
With the justification that Roby had quit, the 15-year NFL veteran stated he would have yanked Roby out of the game if he were in charge due to his lack of effort.
“Vance Joseph — I would pull the guy out,” Witten stated without hesitation. “I would pull him out because you never quit in the NFL.”
Although not specifically asked about Roby himself, Joseph, the man in charge, didn’t question his team’s effort on Monday night.
“I thought that we maxed out every game,” the head coach said after the 13-point loss. “Probably the Jets game we didn’t max out. It didn’t feel good today. We didn’t play good enough football to win offensively. Defensively, we had our moments, but we still gave up two big drives when we had to get stops. We didn’t play winning football today.”
With Joseph’s future with the Broncos certainly in doubt after suffering back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972, Denver’s two leaders had their coach’s back, specifically in regards to their effort level.
“We all want to win for Coach Joseph. We all love him. He’s an incredible human,” Case Keenum stated. “We’re giving it everything we’ve got.”
On the other side of the ball, Von Miller put the loss simply on “coming up short.”
“We play every game for our brothers and for our coaches,” Von said.
Roby indirectly responded to Witten on Twitter Monday night following the game, calling him “this announcer.”
“That’s crazy this announcer went out his way to speak negativity on me like that. Who was that ? From my angle, it looked like the RB was tackled. I thought the play was over. I work too hard for someone to judge me on one play like that. Smh. I’ll NEVER quit on my brothers.”