DENVER, Colo. — Another week, the same story.

The Broncos blew a 10-point lead on their way to a 22-16 overtime defeat at the hands of the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders have now swept the Broncos in the season series, with head coach Josh McDaniels leading the way. The Broncos are 3-7 with seven more games to play this season. The Raiders are also 3-7, with two wins over the Broncos and one win over the last-place Texans.

Here’s what went down…

The same thing happens

Just when you thought the Broncos were on their way to a victory—and their chances of winning hit 87%, according to ESPN—they found a way to lose. Again.

The implosion started with a baffling decision to throw the ball on a third down after the two-minute warning. The Broncos held a 16-13 lead, and while a run would all but guarantee the Raiders a chance to tie the game up, it would have run 40 seconds off the clock since the Raiders had used all of their timeouts.

Instead, Russell Wilson dropped back to throw and spiked the ball at the feet of a receiver in an attempt to avoid a sack. It was a bad decision to stop the clock, even if it saved five yards.

Then the Raiders took over at their own 22, needing three points to tie with 1:43 on the clock and no timeouts. Derek Carr completed his first three passes, including a 21-yarder and then a 43-yard pass to running back Josh Jacobs to set the Raiders up at the 7-yard line with 32 seconds to go. Remember, if Wilson had taken the sack, the Broncos could have run 40 more seconds off the clock.

The Broncos defense held up, but the Raiders made a short field goal to send the game to overtime.

The Raiders won the coin toss ahead of overtime and chose to receive the kickoff. The first play of the drive was a stuffed run, but the next play was a 33-yard completion to a tight end, and the next was a walk-off touchdown to star receiver Davante Adams from 35 yards out.

No lead is safe for the Denver Broncos; in all three games they’ve led by 10 or more points, they’ve gone on to lose.

Klint Kubiak provides an early spark

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett made the bold decision to give up his offensive play-calling duties this week and hand them over to quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak. Kubiak, 35, called plays for the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Early on, the returns were awesome.

The Broncos’ first drive went for 92 yards and a touchdown. They never hit third down.

The Broncos’ second drive stalled out at the Raiders’ 30-yard line but Brandon McManus converted the 48-yard field goal.

The Broncos’ third drive was a 14-play, 79-yarder that ended with a 25-yard field goal attempt as the first half expired. The kick was blocked, but that’s no fault of Kubiak’s.

The story changed in the second half, though. The Broncos became conservative, running the ball as much as they passed it, which meant leaning on Latavius Murray and his 2.9 yards per carry average instead of Russell Wilson, who had completed 13 of 15 passes for 147 yards in the first half. They picked up six points on seven drives, which included a pair of three-and-outs.

In general, Kubiak jumpstarted the offense with some creative packages and an emphasis on the short passing game, but he took his foot off the gas in the second half and didn’t give his offense much of a chance to hit the 20-point mark.

And he also called a pass on with a three-point lead inside the two-minute warning when his opponent didn’t have a timeout.

Melvin Gordon fumbles… again

The story of Melvin Gordon’s 2022 season is a story of fumbles.

He fumbled four times in the first four games of the year, including two at key points in the game. He seemed to be cut from the rotation, and being cut from the team was a possibility.

Then Javonte Williams went down with a season-ending injury and the Broncos couldn’t afford to lose a veteran back with a half-decade of starting experience. He rewarded them with five consecutive fumble-less games… until Sunday.

Gordon got the ball on a third-and-short near the goal line just before the half. He picked up the first down, which would have left the Broncos a yard from the end zone, but then he dropped the ball. The Broncos recovered, but their shot at a touchdown before the half was shot.

Gordon’s workload diminished after that, as it should. The question now is whether he’ll get another chance, despite leading the NFL in fumbles among non-quarterbacks.

Josh Jacobs carries the Raiders… again

The Broncos’ nemesis struck again; Josh Jacobs is now 7-0 in games against the Broncos.

The Raiders running back has been a thorn in the Broncos’ side since he was drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft. He averaged more than 100 yards per game against Denver with nine touchdowns in six contests.

Jacobs didn’t get into the end zone on Sunday, but he was the engine behind the Raiders’ offense once again.

The Broncos allowed 65 yards to Jacobs on 13 carries in the first half. He slowed down a bit with 45 yards on 10 carries in the second half.

But his biggest play of the day didn’t come on the ground. He caught a 43-yard bomb past Josey Jewell in man coverage, which set the Raiders up at the 7-yard line with a chance to take the lead in the final minute of the game.

Somehow, a week after shutting down Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs struck again.

A couple of Broncos are injured

The Broncos’ injured list is one of the longest in the NFL, and it got just a little bit longer on Sunday.

Running back Chase Edmonds tweaked his ankle and didn’t return to the game.

A week after being called up from the practice squad, defensive lineman Jonathan Harris hurt his knee in the first quarter and didn’t return.

Author

Henry was born in Columbia Falls, Montana and graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 2015. He earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and economics from the University of Montana in 2019. After graduation, he joined DNVR. He spent three years covering the University of Colorado before moving to the Broncos beat ahead of the 2022 season. Henry joined DNVR as a remote staff writer in 2017, providing support to BSN's Broncos beat reporters. He interned at DNVR headquarters in the summer of 2018 and accepted a full-time position after graduating from UM. Follow Henry on Twitter - @HenryChisholm

Write A Comment

>
X