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A Signature Loss with London Calling

By Dave Bruning

The Denver Broncos have lost three games in a row, culminated by perhaps the worst loss in franchise history. Denver lost 59-14 at home to their arch rivals, the Oakland Raiders. Let’s not kid ourselves; the game wasn’t even that close.

Throughout the history of professional sports teams can point to a signature victory. Perhaps it is finally beating your hated rival or it is a comeback of miraculous proportions to win a playoff game. These victories define the history of a team. The pathetic loss to the Raiders is the Broncos signature defeat in the almost 30 years I have been following them as a fan.

There are many disturbing things about the loss. In no particular order they are as follows:

• The Broncos showed little if any fight/heart.
• The loss occurred at home. It would still be brutal on the road, but Denver would not be first team to be blown out on the road (see Tennesse @ New England last year).
• Denver is 0-4 under head coach Josh McDaniels at home against their AFC West rivals and has also lost 13 of their last 17 games.
• The childish touchdown celebration by Knowshon Moreno when trailing 38-7 should never occur. Moreno’s only focus for the foreseeable future should be to try and stay healthy.
• With injuries mounting and a non-existent running game, future blowouts are not out of the question.

As I mentioned I have been a fan for almost 30 years. I have been spoiled by John Elway, Terrell Davis, Dan Reeves and Mike Shanahan. Save the last five years, Denver has always been a playoff and Super Bowl contender. Mediocrity was not an option. I’m sure Shanahan does not wish ill will on Denver, but you have to believe that wry smile of his appears on his face when he enjoys a private moment.

This all leads back to McDaniels. When he was hired from New England he was considered a hot shot, up and coming head coach molded by Bill Belichik. I think he clearly understands offensive football. As far as an overall head coach, he appears to be in over his head. I did like the acceptance of accountability he displayed in the following quote:

"We get one chance a week to put our name on something for the three hours we play and coach on Sunday and our name is going to be forever put on this game," McDaniels said. "None of us are proud of it, but we're a part of it and those of us who are a part of the problem are also going to have to be a part of the solution."

McDaniels and the Broncos take their 2-5 record to London to face the equally downtrodden 1-6 San Francisco 49ers. A trip out of the country and an early escape from Denver media and fans probably comes at a good time. It’s an opportunity for Denver to show its loyal fan base what they’re made of after the signature loss in franchise history. I anxiously await their response.

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