DENVER** – They say you only get one day to be upset about a loss in the NFL. Game weeks fly past, new game plans are installed in preparation for the next opponent. It all requires a player to have a short-term memory.
Week 14 for the Denver Broncos won't be any different, but with a heartbreaking 15-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders still fresh on his mind postgame, all quarterback Brock Osweiler could do was reiterate three things to the media:
1.) A quarterback's job is to lead his team to a victory.
2.) That was something he didn't do.
3.) Fixing the team's problems starts Monday with the tape review.
"[Monday] you go and you evaluate the tape and you really look at the red [zone] hard and you say, 'OK. How could we have scored touchdowns? Is it me missing a read? Was it me missing a throw?'" Osweiler said. "That's what we'll do.
"We'll look at the tape extremely hard tomorrow, we'll see what we did wrong in the red area, but like I told you guys before, I believe it's the quarterback's job, no matter how the day's going -- good or bad -- to get his team in the end zone. I didn't do that today. I'll figure out a way to fix it and we'll move forward."
Cover up the final score at the top of the stats sheet, and you might expect a different outcome. The Broncos outgained the Raiders in total offense (310-126), first downs (20-8) and net yards passing (276-99), but at the end of the day, the only stat that matters comes in the win column.
What proved to be the difference was at the line of scrimmage and in turnovers. The Raiders' front seven wreaked havoc in the Broncos' backfield nearly every down of the second half. Oakland's Khalil Mack led the attack, racking up five sacks in the last two quarters alone, consistently beating down the Broncos' offensive line.
What the photographers saw in the Broncos' first loss to the Raiders since 2011.
Oakland's defense also successfully held Denver to just 34 yards rushing, and its defense and special teams combined to generate four fumbles, recovering two.
The Broncos came out strong in the first half, tallying 17 first downs to Oakland's one, and outgaining the Raiders in total offensive yards 224 to minus-12, the lowest first-half output by an NFL team this season.
But what came back to haunt the Broncos was the lack of efficiency in the red zone. On all three chances in the first half, Denver failed to score a touchdown, leading to field goals on each try. Denver held a commanding lead in almost every category heading into the locker room at the half, but its lead was just 12-0.
"The biggest thing is, as an offense, it all starts and it stops with me," Osweiler said. "I have to find a way to [guide] our offense into the end zone scoring touchdowns. Any time a defense holds a team to 15 points, I believe you should win the football game. It's your job as an offense and as a quarterback, and I'll take full responsibility for it, but it's your job, [you] cannot kick field goals and score touchdowns in the red area."
A safety and touchdown in the third quarter put the Raiders just within reach, with the Broncos leading 12-9, but Oakland's fourth-quarter score sealed the win.
Denver had four chances to tie the game up with just a field goal, but the offense continued to stall, kicker Brandon McManus hit the left upright on one field goal attempt and dropped passes doused any hopes of a tie to send the game into overtime.
"I'm not discouraged by the drops at all," Osweiler said. "At the end of the day we're a team. You can never point the finger at anybody. I'm sure everybody on this team – offense, defense, special teams – would look at themself on the tape and they'll watch it tomorrow and probably say, 'You know what, I could have made that play and that could have made the difference.' No reason to point any fingers. Everybody fought hard. Unfortunately, Oakland played very well. Coach [Jack] Del Rio had a great game plan and we just came up short."
- McDonald's is offering fans in Colorado one-dollar Big Mac sandwiches or one-dollar sausage egg McMuffins on Monday and 30 percent off any jersey in the Broncos team store.