The Swinging Scangarello might have worked at Division III colleges Carleton and Millsaps and in “The Longest Yard’’ remake.
But the only person fooled by the preposterous trick play in the Broncos-Raiders opener was Rich Scangarello his own self.
The Broncos’ offensive coordinator, who was calling plays for the first time since he was coaching in a 3,000-seat stadium at Wagner three years ago, certainly was out of his league Monday night.
Scangarello can’t be excused as some young prodigy (like Josh McDaniels when he was in Denver). At 47, Rich is at his 10th stop.
But Scangarello coached as if he just fell off a turnip truck.
On the Broncos’ first play in their final game at the Oakland goat farm, Scangarello dialed up the unusual tight end biplane sweep for his introduction. Noah Fant was dropped for a 5-yard loss. After two more feeble attempts, the Broncos punted.
Who’s coordinating the coordinator? Vic Fangio is a defensive coach. Mike Munchak is an offensive line coach. T.C. McCartney is in his first year as quarterbacks coach.
So, Scangarello has been entrusted with managing the Broncos’ “new’’ offense, which seemed a lot like the “old’’ offense. For the 18th time in the past 37 games — 49 percent — the Broncos scored fewer than 20 points.
Rich “has the wherewithal to call the plays,’’ Fangio said the day after.
We assumed in the exhibitions Scangarello wasn’t revealing the real offensive orange-and-blueprint. Perhaps we were wrong.
However, with the Broncos on the move on first down at the Raiders’ 6 4:48 into the third quarter, the opportunity to cut the lead to 14-7 was genuine.
R.S., the O.C., brought out a prank play — the “Swinging Gate’’, conceived in the 1930s. Quarterback Joe Flacco hurried up and lined up in the shotgun behind three offensive linemen, with Emmanuel Sanders isolated far right and the other linemen, wide receivers and running back Royce Freeman spread way left.
The Raiders obviously were surprised and confused, but they immediately adjusted and covered the three areas. As a wall of Broncos blocked Raiders, Flacco tossed to Freeman, who ran inside instead of outside and was confronted by three Raiders, including Vontaze Burfict. No gain. Flacco followed with an incompletion, then, on third down, was smothered for a sack. His face mask was jerked, and he fumbled (after his knee was down) onto the grass/dirt field. Officials were correct on the non-fumble following a Jon Gruden challenge, but missed the face mask violation. They did discover a Broncos holding penalty, which was declined.
Fangio, with pursed lips, was rather unruffled Tuesday regarding the Rich Ruse and said he supported the decision: “It didn’t work out. Sometimes it just goes that way.’’
After the chaotic mess, the ball was placed at the 8, and the Broncos kicked a field goal.
They added two more field goals, but the Raiders had pushed the lead to 24-9.
The Broncos scored their first touchdown of the season with only 2:23 left. Eschewing an onside kick, the Broncos, instead, kicked into the end zone. They couldn’t get the ball back, and the clock terminated.
The Broncos reached the red zone four times — resulting in three field goals and the sole touchdown. The Broncos’ results at and inside the Raiders’ 20-yard line: 5 yards, 7, 0, incomplete pass, -2-yard sack, 5 , 6, incomplete pass (DaeSean Hamilton gagged on a sure touchdown catch), 4, -7-yard sack, 3, incomplete pass, 5, 15, 1, 1.
No difference from Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave.
The Broncos lost the game, the league’s highest-paid right tackle (Ja’Wuan James) to a knee injury and backup receiver Tim Patrick to a broken hand. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb got lost all night — finishing with zero sacks. And the Broncos special teams seemed lost, giving up a 72-yard kickoff return by Dwayne Harris while not returning a kickoff or a punt.
In his inaugural game as a head coach, Fangio didn’t seem quite comfortable on the sideline after spending most of his career upstairs. He emphasized that the Broncos’ failure to score touchdowns on three drives that ended with field goals was the primary “issue’’ in the defeat.
To avoid starting 0-2 for the only season since 1999, the Broncos must beware of the Bears.
Fangio is aware.