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Broncos' Biggest Duds & Studs in 34-24 Loss to Raiders

It'd be easy to call the entire Broncos roster to account but there were a few noteworthy performances in the team's 34-24 loss to the Raiders.

Pat Bowlen might be rolling over in his grave watching his once-proud Denver Broncos become an embarrassment. The Broncos’ entire organization should be ashamed of what it displayed on Sunday. 

There is no other way to put it, Denver got thoroughly and completely beat in embarrassing fashion by a Las Vegas Raiders team that had no business beating them — 34-24. This article is to point out Broncos' studs and duds, but nearly the entire team was awful. 

I'm hard-pressed to find anything, but duds. It was that bad. But I'll stretch the bounds of credulity in the interest of posterity. 

Dud: Vic Fangio | HC

If Fangio had any honor, he would step down. He's in over his head and cannot lead a football team. He was out-coached by a brand new interim head coach who juggled special teams whilst beating the pants off Fangio. 

The Raiders out-executed, out-hustled, out-hit, and completely dominated the Broncos at home on the day Mike Shanahan was honored in the Ring of Fame. Fangio shoulders all the blame, but he will probably throw someone under the bus in Monday’s press conference. GM George Paton should put Fangio out of his misery and get prepared for 2022.

Stud: Kendal Hinton | WR

Hinton played with mental fortitude and caught the tough passes. He got open often and made a big fourth-down catch that the Broncos needed to even remotely have a chance at coming back. Hinton finished the game with five catches on five targets for 37 yards. He has really come a long way from a practice squad player last year.

Dud(s): The D-Line

I would like to point to a single player on the defensive line, but unfortunately, the entire unit was mauled by a mediocre Raiders’ offensive line. The Broncos were pushed back constantly all game when the Raiders ran the ball. It was a pathetic showing for a unit that was supposed to be one of the strengths on the team as the Raiders often churned out four, five, and six yards on the ground on first down.

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Stud: Courtland Sutton | WR

Sutton’s stats would’ve looked much better if Teddy Bridgewater was better or didn’t hold onto the ball forever. Sutton continued to play hard all game and other than Hinton, he was the only offensive player who wanted to win. Sutton continued to show the mental toughness that made him a fan favorite early in his career, finishing the game with eight catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. If Paton was smart, he would offer Sutton an extension now.

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Dud: Noah Fant | TE

Fant made some catches later in the game, but much of that was in garbage time. Even if his statistics look good in the box score, he looks to have lost all confidence. OC Pat Shurmur has destroyed what could have been a game-changing tight end. 

 Fant had a huge holding call in the two-minute drill to end the second half, all but killing the drive. He got tackled too easily when he did catch the ball and whiffed on a block that could have sprung the ball-carrier on a big gain early in the game. It could have made a difference between a close game and an embarrassing loss.

Dishonorable Mention: The O-Line

The Broncos got manhandled in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The offensive line was miserable in pass protection as Teddy Bridgewater was battered all day. The O-line gave up four sacks and many more hits on the quarterback. This offensive line, even though much emphasis has been put on improving it, is just plain bad.

Stud: Melvin Gordon | RB

Gordon could’ve been a factor in the game if Denver's defense didn’t roll over and show its belly in abject submission. He was running hard and reading the holes early in the game to gain good yardage. 

Gordon's statistics don’t tell the story because the Broncos were getting smacked around and needed to throw all second half. He averaged a solid 5.0 yards per carry even though he only got 10 opportunities to tote the rock.

Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.

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