Broncos-Eagles: Super Bowl LII – live coverage from Fox

Denver endured a near-demolition derby against the Eagles. We grade the Broncos’ performance The Denver Broncos had an off-day and let the Philadelphia Eagles have way too much success against them. Not good when…

Broncos-Eagles: Super Bowl LII – live coverage from Fox

Denver endured a near-demolition derby against the Eagles. We grade the Broncos’ performance

The Denver Broncos had an off-day and let the Philadelphia Eagles have way too much success against them. Not good when you are playing at home and vying for first place in the AFC West. Here is what went wrong.

Denver Broncos vs Philadelphia Eagles: Super Bowl LII – live! Read more

1. Pass rush: If Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe didn’t make a great athletic play to strip the ball from the Eagles’ Marcus Smith in the third quarter, Denver’s defense would have come out of the game completely deflated. The Eagles used a fake handoff to pick up a 19-yard pass play, setting up a great field goal, and by the time the Broncos had responded with an unlikely pick-six of their own, Philly had a 22-6 lead. Until they got a whiff of a takeaway, the Broncos weren’t getting home anytime soon.

2. Add run game: The fact the Broncos didn’t run the ball with any consistency was disheartening. Tim Tebow used to ride the pine because he could move the Broncos to the next level. Now C.J Anderson, Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles are seeing much of the same playing time and not much positive results. The running backs have been ineffective, forced to drop back and block in the backfield. In Denver’s most recent three-game stretch, Anderson had only 87 yards on 27 carries.

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3. Secondary: No team can feel good about any of their passing game trends after a 29-point loss to Philadelphia. Quarterback Case Keenum had little time to set up in the pocket as pass rushers rushed him into making hurried throws. The Birds’ wide receivers played like they planned to be out there, too. A Philly touchdown was set up by one of Keenum’s three interceptions. The quarterback’s second interception of the game set up the other one, taking the momentum off the shoulders of an offense which at least came within striking distance in the second half.

4. Wide receiver: Julius Thomas’ fumble in the fourth quarter set up Philly’s fourth touchdown. He missed a wide-open Rob Gronkowski a minute before that touchdown and had an uncharacteristic drop as well, straining an already-thin Broncos’ secondary. What was the Broncos’ biggest possession of the game? It was just three plays and ended with a punt. For any QB who has to contend with them, this is a task too difficult.

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5. Offensive line: Quarterback Carson Wentz just had too much time and got to throw the ball on a lot of short passes to wide receivers. The play was broken up by defensive linemen Von Miller and Shelby Harris but there were a lot of unsuccessful runs on plays where any just-accurate throw would have resulted in yards. The normally reliable Brandon Marshall is out for the season after suffering a high ankle sprain. He is the one who might have been able to limit Wentz’s mobility.

The Broncos lose 10 points for a Broncos linebacker who left on crutches in the second half, the offense gave up 13 points in the fourth quarter when they did have a chance to change the momentum, and the defense has slipped. Oh, and remember the three botched holdouts of Keenum and the other replacement QBs? But those were just logistics. The Broncos have enough issues that not fumbling the ball away to set up a Philadelphia touchdown does not rise to the top of the list. All in all, an ugly week for Denver.

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