DENVER – Wow. That was ugly.
The Broncos could have crept right behind the Chiefs. The Broncos could have marked themselves as a strong candidate for the playoffs.
Instead, the Broncos turned in one of their worst performances of the past 10 seasons in a 23-10 loss to the New York Giants, who stumbled into Mile High winless and riddled with injury and bereft of any serious hope for the playoffs.
The loss leaves the Broncos riddled with questions. The running game was virtually non-existent. The passing game was erratic. A winless team dominated the Broncos at home.
Here are three reasons the Broncos suffered through a humiliating night:
One – Trevor Siemian
The Broncos couldn’t recover from Siemian’s atrocious first half, which ended when he placed the ball directly in the hands of cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who sprinted to a 43-yard touchdown. The Giants led, 17-3, and the Broncos never seriously threatened.
Siemian has, at times, shown promise this season, but he was atrocious at Buffalo and again Sunday night.
The question is:
Can Siemian recover from his struggles against the Giants? A loud and wild quarterback controversy will erupt if Siemian is again inept against the Chargers.
Brock Osweiler made a cameo appearance in the final minute of the first half. He became a controversial figure after he abandoned the Broncos.
He drew applause when he trotted on the field. Fans were offering a message to Siemian.
We’ll soon see how he responds.
Two – Brandon McManus
Used to be, McManus was as reliable as it gets in the NFL. He was a strong-footed, highly accurate placekicker. He made over 85 percent of his field goals in the past two seasons.
That’s how it used to be. McManus has been erratic all season, and he reached new lows against the Giants, missing two kicks.
Three – The Giants defense
The Giants offense has been ransacked by injury, but New York defenders were magnificent at Mile High. Eli Manning and company were merely competent. The Giants were rescued by their snarling, violent defense.