n-season, I’m pumping out content faster than editing can keep up with. I don’t want to hold the recaps for hours waiting on perfection. We will correct errors after the fact, but for now – forgive any of my gaffes. I dictate some of my notes, and the computer software or Siri interpretation can be comical. I try to correct them all before publishing it, but I miss it sometimes…in the 50,000+ words I pen each week during the season (not including all the emails). I’m moving fast, and want to get the product out there ASAP at 98% ‘good’…vs. big delays trying to get to 99.9% craftsmanship. So here you go…
I was shocked, like many, at how this game started and the ultimate outcome. Tennessee led 13-0 at the half, and would never score again…but held on to win 13-10. An absolute must-win game for the defending Super Bowl champs and they scored all of 10 points. This was the type of game Denver should win…and that the Titans are supposed to lose. It was no fluke. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but Tennessee deserved to win.
I feel like 100 knowledgeable football fans could watch this game and have a 50-50 opinion on what happened. 50 for ‘Denver had their chances and blew it‘ and 50 for ‘Tennessee outplayed them, and what do you expect from Trevor Siemian‘? Honestly, my notes are 50-50 as well. I’m still not sure how to diagnosis this game.
With 4+ minutes left in the game, Siemian hit Bennie Fowler in the end zone for a simple TD, a catch any NFL WR makes…and Fowler hacked it. Fowler catches that pass, and Denver wins 14-13. Instead, they settle for a FG, then hold the Titans, and embark on a 2+ minute drill from their own 1-yard line. Siemian gets them out to the 30 with 1+ minutes left. He hits A.J. Derby for a 10+ and a first down…and Derby fumbles it away. Ball game. No fumble and Denver had a chance to move into position for a game-winning FG. Denver had their chances and blew it…and Tennessee played well; well enough to win.
Here’s the problem for Denver… Actually, it’s two-fold. Our own ‘Rabbitt‘ from the handicapping group, a crazed-knowledgeable Denver fan and football coach can correct me if I’m wrong…
1: The Broncos D is great, but constantly gives up a score on the first or second drive of the game. Denver is always down 7-0 or 3-0 it seems. If Denver’s 2nd-4th quarter defense showed up in the 1st quarter, Denver may have zero points allowed this season.
2: Denver has no offensive line. The reason they have no run game is not on the RBs. Hell, they’ve used four RBs so far…all to no avail. There is nowhere to run. There is nowhere to run for Denver RBs, Jerick McKinnon, and Todd Gurley. It’s the opposite of what Ezekiel Elliott gets.
Because Denver cannot run, Trevor Siemian, essentially a rookie…former failed Big Ten QB now budding NFL star…has to throw 50+ times a game. This game was the 3rd time in his last seven games where he threw the ball 50 or more times. Siemian is developing/decent, but it’s a lot to ask for a rookie…with no protection…and the other team knowing he’s throwing.
Denver cannot afford to spot the other team 3-7 points. They aren’t a machine on offense. They are playing from behind a la Jacksonville in too many games. The defense isn’t as tight as it was and the offense is as bad as it was last year. Still, when that defense is on…it’s the best.
Denver’s season comes down this week playing New England. Denver has three 10+ win teams to play to finish out 2016. The odds are against them. The either beat New England and gain momentum going into their KC and Oakland games or they lose to the Pats and fold up their tents, probably. I want to say this is where Denver rises up, but that concept has got me nowhere lately. The Broncos are 4-5 in their last 9 games.
Tennessee now looks like a division winner, but their schedule may end those dreams. They play at frigid KC this week. Assume that’s a loss and they are 7-7. If Houston wins this week (v. JAC) then they would be 8-6 and in the driver seat. I’d bet against Tennessee to win the AFC South, but only by a hair to Houston.
— I re-watched this game from a Trevor Siemian (35-51 for 334 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) perspective. The last few weeks I’ve been warming up to him as a legit NFL QB. If he becomes on, I may have to retire from scouting because nothing makes sense about this. A guy is mostly a failure at Northwestern/in the Big Ten. Not a mess, but does nothing notable. Peyton Manning likes him from the Manning Academy, the Broncos take a flyer…and now he’s a successful NFL starter after one season. Credit to Peyton Manning as a scout.
I cannot figure out if Siemian is a good+ QB or not.
The mechanics are there – he has a terrific throwing motion and rapid release. The look on the field is there – never rattled, completely under control. Dak Prescott-lite. I’ve seen many QBs with mechanics and moxie…but when under duress they collapse. They make two good/reasonable throws and then an inexplicable one. I don’t see Siemian making many ridiculous throws. I see him backpedaling for his life because of his O-Line on throws, but he generally looks ‘right’.
I’m more pro-Siemian than not for the NFL. However, I don’t have a big enough book on him to know for sure yet. What I have says, “No way” because of his college activity. My eyes say ‘maybe’.
For fantasy, I fear for him because I don’t think Gary Kubiak is good for quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective. Too conservative. Too in love with plays over the player. He may be great for the NFL, but for FF maybe not so much. We laugh at Jeff Fisher for his Case Keenum love…Kubiak was the original Keenum guy. He was also the ‘let’s change Peyton Manning’s style after 15+ years of success‘ followed by ‘Brock Osweiler is my guy over Peyton‘. Peyton Manning was terrible last year under Kubiak…Peyton’s fault or Kubiak’s?
I don’t know if Siemian struggles with Belichick this week…or throws 50+ times for numbers because he has to this week.
— I’m anti-Justin Forsett (6-17-0, 3-18-0/3 targets) because he is not better than Devontae Booker (3-1-0, 2-10-0/2 targets) today. And if Booker can’t make any hay out of this offense, then Forsett is going to struggle.
For fantasy, I get it…Forsett is a warm body working with a beloved coach. To a degree, it doesn’t matter who the Denver RB is right now…they are going to fail. But Forsett is likely to get 10+ touches a game for a while. I just don’t think much will come of them.
— Marcus Mariota (6-20 for 88 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) had quite a game. Six completions and 88 total yards. I will say two things – (1) Mariota had a few ‘drops’ on him. (2) Tennessee got up 13-0 and tried to run the ball/clock out to victory. No need to throw at the monster. Up 13-0 at the half, Tennessee had the ball to start the 3rd quarter and ran six straight times to begin play. An incompletion on the 7th play and then a punt.
— I’m dropping the Denver DST on many teams heading into their playoffs. How can you play them against Tom Brady and then at Alex Smith? Not that Smith is elite, but he does not typically throw INTs. KC plays conservative and does not give a great opportunity for DST scoring. I love this DST and it pains me to let go, but I’d rather have a mediocre defense facing Petty-Barkley-Moore et al. then trying to squeeze blood out of a Brady or Smith matchup.