Los Angeles Chargers Joey Bosa sacks Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian in the second half at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on October 22, 2017. File photo by Lori Shepler/UPI
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — No one involved with the Denver Broncos is happy with their offensive performance — not the coaches, not their fans, not the players and certainly not the man in charge of their football operations.
"This slide’s been coming," Broncos general manager John Elway told KDSP-AM 760 in Denver on Tuesday. "Hopefully we’ve hit bottom."
The Broncos would like to think they can’t go any lower than their first shutout in 25 years. But their offense has been in free-fall since its outburst in the first two games. The rushing attack has stalled as teams have stacked the box, and Trevor Siemian and the passing game have not been able to capitalize, with zone coverage in particular causing problems.
Six turnovers in the last two games — three interceptions, two lost fumbles after receptions and a Siemian fumble after being sacked — exacerbated matters, and the Broncos’ only touchdown in their last 11 quarters came in the fourth quarter against the Giants with a three-score deficit.
Against the high-powered Chiefs, the Broncos’ offense needs to find enough to keep pace; even Denver’s top-ranked defense can only do so much to hold Kansas City’s array of weapons in check. At some point, Siemian and the offense will have to put together some touchdown drives.
Whether they can do so or not will depend on whether they can take their anger over their recent poor form and turn it into results.
"I was (ticked) off," wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders told KDSP-AM 760 in Denver on Wednesday.
Sanders couldn’t do anything about the struggles in Los Angeles; he stayed back in Denver to recover from a sprained ankle. Injuries to Sanders and rookie receiver Isaiah McKenzie sapped quickness from the Broncos’ attack, and without their breakaway threat, Denver’s offense plodded and looked stuck in neutral for much of the day.
"What I saw was an offense that couldn’t move the ball, that kept hurting themselves, that kept turning it over," Sanders said. "It was just making me madder and madder and madder, and obviously that’s been going on, and it’s something that we’ve got to stop doing. We’ve got to stop turning the football over and we’ve got to get better as an offense."
Sanders said that he counseled Siemian that he needed to get rid of the ball more quickly.
"Sometimes we’re in a meeting, and I told him, ‘You’ve got to be able to get the ball out,’" Sanders told KDSP. "And this is just being honest. You’ve got to throw the ball away or get rid of the ball, get the ball out of your hands. Sometimes you’ve got to be a hot potato with that thing and not hold the ball. You’ve got to get rid of it.
"And at the same time, speaking to the offensive line, I told them, man, that’s (bull—-) that he has to deal with that, you know? You’ve got to take pride in what you do. You’ve got to go out and know your responsibilities.
"I mean, we see every look, every single week. Nobody’s throwing any big-time, major surprises at us. We’ve just got to handle business from a studying standpoint and from a physical standpoint. We’re a lot better than what we’re putting on film, and hopefully it shows this Monday."
Given that Monday’s game could mean the difference between matching the Chiefs in the loss column or being 2 1/2 games back in the AFC West race, the Broncos need it to show as soon as possible.