As the Denver Broncos continued their unhappy knack of losing tight games vs. the Indianapolis Colts, the fine margins cost them, ultimately, in the dying moments. It’s hard to blame a defense that held the Colts to just 15 points at home, but if only Von Miller completes the tackle that would have resulted in a sack of Jacoby Brissett for a safety, the game would have been over, preserving a Broncos' win.
Instead, the Broncos fell to the Colts 15-13 in the wake of a trio of defensive lapses on Indy's final drive, which set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning drive. Which Broncos were most complicit in what was the sixth loss of the season?
Allow me to break it down.
Alexander Johnson, LB: His aggression since entering the lineup has been a net positive but drawing the flag on the horse-collar tackle on Indy's final drive allowed vital yards to facilitate the Colts' game-winning field goal. Johnson has to show much better football smarts in such high-pressure situations.
Chris Harris, Jr., CB: With this defeat, could we have witnessed Harris' last appearance in a Bronco uniform? His brief failure to stick with T.Y. Hilton on a broken play cost Harris two steps' worth of separation and shows how close the winning margins can be in the NFL. The hammer blow of Jacoby Brissett escaping a dead-to-rights safety was further compounded by Harris just not being close enough in coverage.
Garett Bolles, LT: While Bolles wasn’t the flag magnet he frequently has been, his inability to stand up in pass protection all but doomed the Broncos on third-down situations. If the coaches only had another option, he would be yanked from starting duties.
Joe Flacco, QB: As the starting QB, Flacco just can’t muster enough point production, it’s as simple as that. He is not helping his offensive line any by holding onto the ball for far too long and taking costly sacks in crucial moments.
Rich Scangarello, OC: Consistently the Broncos offense has lacked the required aggression to put teams away. Again this Sunday, Denver left points on the field and failed to close out an opponent late in the game. Procedural penalties amongst the young receiver group also point to a basic lack of coaching that is not meeting up to the demanding NFL standards. Following the collapse, Flacco criticized Scangarello publicly.