Denver Broncos: RIP on 2018 Season With 30-23 Loss to Kansas City

Denver Broncos. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Denver Broncos. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

Case Keenum needed to make a statement.

As we mentioned, Keenum needed to put a Broncos win on his back.  Denver needed him to match Mahomes’ ability to make plays out of chaos.  He needed to create and capitalize on the opportunities that Kansas City presented.

He. Did. Not.

Fairness and equity are always good ideas when opining about local sports figures so let’s start with the fact that Keenum played much better.  He uses his legs judiciously and effectively, his decisions were better, his passes also better.

There was that one play, though.  On a first-and-ten with 8 minutes left and Denver still in contention, Bill Musgrave reached into his bag of tricks and threw a flea-flicker.  Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas was behind Kendall Fuller and there was nearly 50 yards of wide open space between DT and the endzone.  Keenum threw the ball two yards behind DT and Fuller made a diving interception.

The play killed momentum and it, for all intents-and-purposes sealed the game for Kansas City.  The Broncos defense made a valiant push in the fourth, returning the ball to the Denver offense.  In fact, Kansas City scored it’s 30th point with over five minutes left in the third quarter.  The defense scrapped and clawed in the second half but Keenum and the offense would not capitalize.

We can talk about the penalty drive.  We can talk about the strip-sack that also featured a (declined) Garett Bolles holding call.  What we should talk about is Keenum’s refusal to get rid of the ball in a timely fashion or his reluctance to do the simplest of QB things:  Step up into the pocket.

This isn’t a defense of Bolles, the young man is struggling but in  a league that’s chock-full of edge rushers with speed, there’s only so much time your tackles can provide.  Patrick Mahomes gets it.  Keenum just can’t.

Again, the offense and Keenum seem out-of-sync and the common denominator is number four.

Fans are clamoring for the dismissal of Vance Joseph and that may well be the right decision but are we confident in John Elway and Joe Ellis to make right decisions at this point?  They did, after all, hire Joseph, let Wade Phillips go, let TJ Ward go, trade Aqib Talib and parade a rogue’s gallery of inadequate quarterbacks through town.

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Keenum may be a serviceable NFL starter but maybe not for the Broncos.  The feeling is that this season is blown, maybe Denver can sign Colin Kaepernick or trade for Jameis Winston, a half-season audition may not be a bad idea for some retread quarterbacks out there.  What they shouldn’t do is limp to a 7-9 or 6-10 season.  Either make the playoffs or get a pick that you can turn into a franchise QB.

Making the playoffs seems the unlikeliest of propositions so come on Oregon QB Justin Herbert.