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Why it happened: Giants 23, Broncos 10

Posted Oct 15, 2017

The Broncos' loss to the Giants was a result of some old problems and a new one, as the top-ranked run defense struggled to contain Orleans Darkwa.

DENVER -- On a wild weekend of upsets, surprises and success by visiting teams, the Broncos became another victim, falling 23-10 to the previously winless Giants.

"Just bad execution, bad football," running back C.J. Anderson said. "It's on us. The good thing we know is that it's on us, and it can be corrected."

Why did the Broncos fall Sunday night?

Because they couldn't protect the football

After playing turnover-free football against the Raiders, the Broncos committed three turnovers Sunday night, including two interceptions -- one of which was returned 43 yards for a touchdown by Janoris Jenkins 48 seconds before halftime.

Siemian's first interception came with 9:21 left in the second quarter and ended a Broncos scoring threat. Denver had marched 40 yards to the New York 35-yard line before Siemian's pass into zone coverage found Landon Collins, who returned it 21 yards.

Denver's final turnover came on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Demaryius Thomas was fighting for yardage on fourth-and-5. Thomas managed to reach the line to gain, but as he did, Jenkins stripped him of the football. New York's Eli Apple recovered, ending another scoring opportunity.

A minus-3 turnover margin is typically a prescription for disaster; according to pro-football-reference.com, the Broncos are now 11-88-1 all-time with a turnover margin of minus-3 or worse, including a 1-19 mark in the last 15 seasons.

"When you have three turnovers, it’s hard to say you played well," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "Watching the film, I’ll know more tomorrow. Turnovers are always tied to the quarterback and that’s the key to success on offense -- not turning the ball over. I would say with three turnovers, probably not good.”

Because they struggled inside the 20-yard line

For a third consecutive game, the Broncos frittered away their chances in the red zone. A first-quarter sprint to the New York 16-yard line that was powered by a 33-yard Siemian-to-Emmanuel Sanders connection proved fruitless after Brandon McManus missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt wide right. A second-quarter drive that pushed the Broncos into goal-to-go ended with three consecutive incompletions, forcing the Broncos to settle for a 28-yard McManus field goal.

Another scoring opportunity that did not reach the red zone came up empty when a 53-yard McManus attempt late in the third quarter was blocked by Giants defensive end Kerry Wynn.

In the fourth quarter, the Broncos reached the red zone twice, scoring once on a 13-yard pass from Siemian to Jeff Heuerman. However, an 84-yard drive earlier in the quarter ended in frustration when Anderson was stuffed at the goal line on fourth-and-goal.

"I definitely saw myself put the ball over the plane," Anderson said. "I reached and I saw it, but I'e got to make it clear, so that's on me."

That left the Broncos with just 10 of a possible 28 points on four drives in the red zone, just one point better than their tally on four red-zone drives in Week 4 against Oakland.

"It's pathetic right now. There's nothing else [to say]," Anderson said. "We're just not executing. Myself, us playmakers, we're not making plays. It's on us. We've got to find a way to put the ball in the [end zone]. We can't go too many series and not put the ball in the [end zone]. We're relying on the defense to make a play, and that's just terrible.

"It's terrible football. We're not helping our team that way."

Because the Broncos struggled to contain the Giants on the ground

Denver came into the game with the league's No. 1 rushing defense on a per-game and per-carry basis, but the Giants' reshuffled offensive line was able to punch holes in the Broncos' front, and Orleans Darkwa sprinted through them for 117 yards on 21 carries.

Wayne Gallman and Shane Vereen pitched in another 31 yards on 10 carries as the Broncos allowed more rushing yards Sunday than they gave up in the previous three games combined.

"We didn't fit up right," inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "I could have been more physical. It was a multitude of things."

Because the Broncos "came out flat"

The Broncos prepared well for the game, with what Joseph said was their best Wednesday practice of the season to date. However, it didn't translate to the field of play, as the Giants seized control of the game on their first possession, driving to a field goal and a lead they never relinquished.

"Coming off a bye week, being rested, having almost all our players back and we came out flat as a whole team," Thomas said.

“It was terrible," Marshall said. They came out to play. We started off real flat and we just couldn’t overcome the turnovers."