The Broncos came into Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night poised to take back their season. Instead, their nightmares continued as Denver turned the ball over five times in a 29-19 loss to the division leading Chiefs. It’s the Broncos third straight loss and the first time the team has been below .500 since the 2012 season.
Turnovers were the story and they started from the get-go. On Jamaal Charles’ third carry of the game, the running back saw his homecoming back to Kansas City fall to the ground. Chiefs’ cornerback Marcus Peters stripped Charles of the ball and took the fumble back 45 yards for the game’s first points. Charles finished with eight carries for 39 yards.
The Broncos’ defense was locked and loaded and ready for the challenge to go against the number one rated Chiefs’ offense and they delivered. The defense managed to give up only one touchdown in the first quarter to Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce. The Denver defense also held Kansas City running back Kareem hunt to a season low 46 yards.
However, it was mistakes made by Broncos’ quarterback Trevor Siemian that would once again prove to be the defining difference. Time and time again, the Broncos’ young starter made head scratching throws that left Broncos head coach Vance Joseph in disbelief.
“Tonight our defense played winning football in my opinion,” noted Joseph. “Our offensive line blocked. We ran the ball for 177 and the pass protection was better, but it all falls back to turning the football over five times. That’s insane. You can’t win turning the ball over five times you know, and guys work too hard along with coaches and players to have a big game and give it away five times. It’s mind-boggling.”
The final nail in the coffin came on a second and ten with the Broncos trailing by 13 with 6:35 left in the game. Siemian rolled right out of the pocket then went on to throw across his body and right into the arms of Chiefs’ cornerback Kenneth Acker.
The Broncos have now turned the football over more than every team except the Cleveland Browns this season. In the last five games, Trevor Siemian has thrown only three touchdowns while adding eight interceptions.
“It’s frustrating anytime you don’t win,” said Siemian. “You know especially when you’re right there and you know this week the defense played well enough to win. The offensive line played well enough to win and just the mistakes you hate beating yourself so for me that’s the most frustrating part.”
When asked if Siemian was pressing, he responded, “Yes, at times.” Siemian finished with 198 yards and a touchdown to go along with three interceptions.
The biggest frustrations continue to come from seeing the Broncos’ Super Bowl caliber defense go to waste. “There’s high tension man,” said Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris. We’re not winning. We’re giving the ball away. We’re tired of losing the same way. We have to score some points. You can’t win if you can’t score. We’ve been fighting uphill for the last two years.”
The Broncos now sit at a crossroads. The answer for quarterback is not Trevor Siemian. However, the answer may very well not be on this roster. The team may wait until former first round pick Paxton Lynch is completely healthy to make a change. For now though, the Broncos remain in a nightmare that they can’t seem to wake up from.