Posted Sat Dec 24th by Monty
Quarterback Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos have thrived on big deficits in the fourth quarter in 2011. Down 14-26 with 12 minutes left in the game, it seemed time for the Mile High Miracle Man to go back to work.
There would be no Tebow/Christmas/Festivus Miracle for the Broncos this time. In fact, things only got worse.
Within minutes, Tebow threw two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns. Later in the fourth quarter he threw another interception in the end zone, and the Buffalo Bills went on to thump the playoffs-chasing Broncos 40-14 in Week 16 NFL action.
The Broncos’ only impressive offensive drives took place at the beginning of both halves. Tebow and company executed a pair of beautiful touchdown drives in the first and third quarters. Other than that, they were negatively beset by poor blocking, horrendous playcalling, and costly turnovers.
Defensively, the Broncos played perhaps their worst game of the season. C.J. Spiller had a career day against Denver’s supposedly vaunted defense, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was hardly touched by Denver’s pass rushing specialists. Special teams also had more than its share of struggles — when Bills returner Leodis McKelvin wasn’t running a punt back 80 yards for a touchdown, the Broncos were continually getting called for penalties on their coverage and return units.
For all the team wins the Broncos have enjoyed this season, this was truly a total team loss.
For Broncos fans, this late-season “collapse” feels all too familiar. It was only three years ago, in 2008, that the division-leading 8-6 Broncos played the lowly Bills in the second-to-last week of the season. Those Broncos lost then, too. They also lost the next week — and missed the playoffs. Those were the Broncos last games coached by Mike Shanahan and quarterbacked by Jay Cutler.
The good news is that the Broncos still control their own destiny — win, at home, against the Kansas City Chiefs next week, and they will win the AFC West. B
But after two mistake-filled losses, there are a lot of nervous fans in Broncos country.