The Denver Broncos looked like a team who's been sitting on their behinds for the better part of three weeks. Oh, wait. They have been.
The relative rest the Broncos' first-team units got to end the preseason was no excuse for how flat this team came out and played in the Black Hole. Denver dropped their season opener for the first time since 2011, 24-16.
The Broncos were shut out in the first half in Oakland yet again, while the defense couldn't stop a runny nose early in the game and late in the game. If football is indeed a game of inches, giving up a country mile is no recipe for success.
After the game, head coach Vic Fangio shared his message to the locker room.
“That I was extremely disappointed in the loss, but not discouraged," Fangio said from the podium. "I think once we see some of the mistakes we made, or plays we didn’t make, that we can see that we can be better than we played tonight.”
The schemes were lackluster on both sides of the ball, but the bottom line was, the Broncos failed to match the intensity of their opponent and the big-time players didn't play big, especially on defense like Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
“Well they were throwing it quick, and I think that was a big part of it," Fangio said. "They also got into too many third-and-shorts, which was a big part of it. And you know they never had to, very often, you know drop back and let routes develop. The one time they did, we got beat outside.”
Indeed, Jon Gruden's gameplan was masterful and Derek Carr's performance was excellent. The Broncos closed out the Raiders' tenure in Oakland with four consecutive losses in the Black Hole.
This is a team who already needs a gut-check it would seem because outside of the third quarter of play, there was no intensity or apparent fight in the Broncos. The 'fearsome' duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb not only failed to sack Carr but the Raiders' QB never even got hit, finishing 22-of-26 for 259 yards and one touchdown, with a passer rating of 121.0.
For his part, Miller echoed his head coach.
“Disappointed, but we’re not discouraged. First game of the season. Hats off to the Raiders, they outplayed us today and killed us on third down. There’s probably some other areas they got to us as well but I can’t point them out until I watch the film.”