Thud!

That’s the sound of the Broncos falling face-first flat again at Disempowered Field.

There’s no “o’’ in Brncs and no longer any “D’’ in enver.

In the great old days, Mile High Stadium was the preeminent citadel in the NFL, and Denver was the abominable snowtown for opposing teams.

When Mike Shanahan, a Ring of Fame honoree, and Steve Atwater, a Hall of Fame inductee, were active here, the Broncos owned a 24-0 record at home for three seasons. They won double-digit victories, divisions, conference championships and two Super Bowls.

Now, the present Broncos, who belong in the Hall of Very Mediocre, have lost 20 of their most recent 35 games from 2017-2021 at the unfriendly confines and can’t win for losing.

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The Broncos lost to the Raiders 34-24 on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

The Raiders just won their second straight at 5,200 feet with a combined total of 66 points.

To friends and neighbors who asked over the weekend, I said this would be a Sunday setup for the Raiders. In the aftermath of Jon Gruden’s abrupt and appropriate removal, the players, the interim head coach and the assistants wanted to prove with a rise from the ashes, and the Broncos are bleeding like madras.

The difference was established convincingly through three quarters as the Raiders were ahead 31-10. The Broncos made their usual run in the fourth quarter and were only good enough to get beat for the third straight week, 34-24.

The Broncos are on to Cleveland, which never has gotten over “The Drive’’ and “The Fumble,’’ and won’t be over the loss to the Cardinals.

Unsteady Teddy Bridgewater has thrown five touchdowns in the past two games, but he’s also been intercepted four times and fumbled once — equaling out the positives and the negatives. However, Bridgewater was under constant stress from the Raiders, who sacked him on five plays and rattled him on at least 15 more.

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Many Broncos greats were in the house for Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Former Broncos safety Steve Atwater was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame recently. He was honored during a pregame ceremony and afterward showed his Hall of Fame ring to the crowd on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. Atwater was a two-time Super Bowl winner and an eight time Pro Bowl choice. Unfortunately the game wasn’t as uplifting as the ceremonies. The Broncos were defeated 34-24. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Defensive end Mad Maxx Crosby generated a career game with three sacks, five hits on Bridgewater, six tackles (solo and assisted) and one pass defended. The Broncos’ offense line was a mesh mess, even before Garett Bolles limped away late.

Derek Carr burned the Broncos for 341 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing lasers and balloons while targeting 10 different receivers.

The Broncos also allowed the strongest performance in this state by a Drake since USC’s Drake London in Boulder earlier this season and the Drake football team’s unbelievable upset over Colorado in 1979. Raiders’ running back Kenyan Drake scored on a run and a reception Sunday.

From Bridgewater’s turnovers to the offensive line’s ineptness to the defense’s lack of pressure on Carr to the defensive backs' failure to communicate and dictate, the Broncos looked unsettled and flustered. And they got no assistance from the assistants and the head coach.

The only challenges the Broncos offered were by Vic Fangio, who hoped he could get calls reversed even though, in both cases, it was obvious he, and whomever was talking to him in the headset, were mistaken. Vic hasn’t shown up with acceptable defensive schemes against quarterbacks Lamar Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger and Carr.

The three passed for 910 yards with no interceptions and 84 points against the Broncos.

The Broncos countered with 50.

Which leads back to coordinator Pat Shurmur, who seemed as discombobulated with his play-deciding against Las Vegas as he did against Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

As I wrote Sunday, the Broncos were last in the NFL in third-to-first downs as the only team under a 70% failure rate. The Shurmur offense was 5 of 26 on third down in the previous two games and managed to convert only 5 of 14 Sunday — and 25% in October.

Shurmur should be ashamed of the appalling results. He can be proud that the Broncos scored a touchdown on their first drive for the first time since Fangio chose him after his firing by the Giants. But, as Shurmur said last week, he doesn’t listen to the noise outside of Dove Valley. It’s loud, Pat.

Drew Lock must have believed he would receive a nod in the fourth quarter. But Vic made his quarterback decision.

Home favorites are 19-4 in 2019-2021 on Thursday nights. The Browns are favored by 5.5 points.

The Broncos do have a winning record on the road this season.

Drum roll.

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