DENVER – At least this one was close.
The Broncos found a way Sunday to lose to the Bengals. The Broncos defense was violently stingy. The Bengals almost always resembled a team that crawled into Mile High with a 3-6 record.
The Broncos still lost. It wasn't as gruesome as losses to the Patriots and Eagles. It was still enormously frustrating.
In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, with the game very much still in contention, Mile High was about half full. Fans have turned on the team they loved with such devotion only two years ago.
Get used to adversity. It looks like it will be a long time before those fans are again cheering for a winner.
The Bengals gained a mere 190 yards, and only 95 in the first three quarters. The Bengals offense was barely visible for long stretches.
The Bengals still won.
Two reasons why the Broncos lost:
One – Brock Osweiler
The Broncos looked in control. They were set up at the Bengals 4-yard-line with a third down in the first quarter. The worst that looked possible was a field goal and a quick 3-0 lead.
Osweiler, for mysterious reasons, placed the ball directly in the hands of Dre Kirkpatrick, who looked on his way to a 102-yard touchdown return before he fumbled and recovered the ball at the Broncos 1-yard line.
Osweiler never recovered. The Broncos never recovered.
Osweiler was given a three-game trial for the starting job. He failed. It’s time to give Paxton Lynch his chance.
Two – The offensive line
Osweiler and Trevor Siemian have struggled and much of that struggle is on them.
But both quarterbacks seldom had time to look around in the pocket. The Broncos offensive line was a drain last season and a drain early this season and a drain right now.