Mistake-prone Broncos stumble in 23-10 loss to Giants
By PAT GRAHAM
Oct. 16, 2017
DENVER (AP) — Filter out the string of salty words, and defensive end Derek Wolfe's take on what happened was pretty clear: It simply wasn't the Denver Broncos' night.
Tread carefully, though, on accusing Wolfe and the mistake-prone Broncos of overlooking the struggling New York Giants, who ended a five-game skid with a shocking 23-10 win over heavily favored Denver on Sunday.
That will only add to Wolfe's already bubbling anger.
"It wasn't like, 'Oh, they're 0-5 and we're going to overlook them,'" Wolfe said. "No, we were like, 'These guys are a good team and we have to go out and play our best.' We didn't play our best and that's why I'm (upset)."
Wolfe was far from alone in his distaste for the overall performance. The Broncos (3-2) came in off a bye and appeared to sleep-walk through most of this contest. No one was immune from the letdown, either — Trevor Siemian and the offense committed costly turnovers , the vaunted defense couldn't stop backup running back Orleans Darkwa (117 yards rushing), and Brandon McManus missed two more kicks.
All this from a Denver team that had a chance to make up ground on Kansas City — which lost to Pittsburgh — in the AFC West race.
It didn't happen.
"Everybody around the whole United States was saying, 'They have no chance, and this and that,'" Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said of the Giants (1-5). "If you feed into that, things like this happen. I think we really came out flat. We came out flat and we didn't execute well on either side of the ball."
This was a comedy of errors for the Broncos all night long. Here's a quick rehash:
— Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins looking like the intended target and jumping in front of Siemian's pass along the sideline. He returned it 43 yards for a score just before halftime. To add insult, Siemian banged up his left shoulder while trying to make a TD-saving tackle ("certainly not my specialty," he said).
— Two more missed field goals from McManus, including one that was partially blocked.
— Failing to score on fourth-and-goal at the 1 in the fourth quarter as C.J. Anderson was stuffed by a swarming New York defense.
— A porous offensive line that allowed four sacks, including three from Jason Pierre-Paul .
"I commend them," Wolfe said. "They schemed it up very well."
The Giants confounded the Broncos by juggling around their offensive line heading into the night. Eli Manning also found tight end Evan Engram isolated on linebackers and safeties quite often. Engram finished with five catches for 82 yards and a score. He's becoming Manning's favorite target almost by default given that Odell Beckham Jr. (broken ankle), Brandon Marshall (ankle stabilization) and Dwayne Harris (broken foot) are all sidelined by injuries.
"We didn't know what offensive linemen were playing, where they were playing, what receivers were playing. When you don't know how's playing, it's hard to game plan against them," said Wolfe, whose team travels to Los Angeles to play the Chargers next weekend. "You can't make excuses. We have to go out there and play better. That's (expletive). I'm disappointed."
It was an injury-filled game for the Broncos, who lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders (right ankle), returner Isaiah McKenzie (right ankle) and offensive tackle Menelik Watson (right calf). Of particular concern are Sanders and McKenzie, who were both carted to the locker room.
"They both looked like serious injuries, but the initial X-rays were negative," Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. "We'll know more (Monday)."
Even backup QB Brock Osweiler was momentarily pressed into service because of injuries. He trotted out to the field while Siemian was examined by trainers on the sideline after jamming his left shoulder into the ground. Siemian returned for the second half.
"We'll bounce back," said Siemian, who threw for 376 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. "We'll be ready to go."
It was simply a night where everything that could go wrong did.
"We're not supposed to go out there and play that way," Wolfe said. "We can't turn the ball over, can't let someone run the ball like that on us. We have to clean this (expletive) up."
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