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By: Nick Burch
The Denver Broncos suffered their second straight loss, this time to the Washington Commanders. Let’s recap the contest using only GIFs to describe it.
Welp, it’s deja vu all over again.
After a strong start that sizzled with promise, the Denver Broncos blew an 18-point lead and had no second half answer for the energy and determination of the Washington Commanders.
A late Hail Mary attempt gave the Broncos one more breath of life, but following a controversial two-point conversion attempt to tie that fell short. the home team would lose 35-33 and begin the season 0-2.
Enough words have been written and spoken about the loss, so let’s take a look at the game using just GIFs.
The excitement of last week was watered down by a loss, so the energy entering the week two contest with the Commanders felt a tad different. The team desperately needed to get the home win, but based on the performance vs. the Raiders, butts were on the edges of seats early.
The Broncos take the lead!
In what could be described as the most efficient looking offensive drive in several seasons, the Broncos capitalized off of a missed Commanders field goal to march 61 yards on seven plays capped off by the first career touchdown for rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin. The team looks ready to play.
Marvin Mims, Jr. introduces himself to the NFL
And now we have fireworks. In what seemed like the most exciting Broncos play since Peyton Manning was in uniform, Russell Wilson found rookie WR Marvin Mims, Jr. deep for a 60-yard bomb and completion. Mims completely dusted the Washington secondary and certainly made the rest of the league aware of his arrival. It was just one play, but it was huge. The Broncos may have something special in Mims.
ANOTHER touchdown and the Broncos lead 21-3!!!
What is happening?? Is a blowout in the making? Do we have a contender? Are we this good, or are the Commanders just bad? Those were the questions we were asking ourselves when the Broncos got the ball back after a quick three-and-out by the Commanders. Highlighted by another 50-yard completion to the rookie Mims, QB Russell Wilson marched his team down the field 90 yards where he’d ultimately find Brandon Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown. It was the first time the Broncos scored three touchdowns on their first three possessions since 2010, and it felt at least momentarily like the franchise was back in winning form.
A fumble leads to a Washington touchdown and a Denver ejection
Another quick three-and-out by the Commanders felt like another opportunity for Denver to put up seven more points before the half. Instead, QB Russell Wilson fumbled after a sack from Jamin Davis, giving the Commanders the ball inside the 50-yard line. The previously stout Broncos defense was a tad too giving on the drive, as QB Sam Howell would connect with tight end Logan Thomas on 4th and goal to give the Commanders six points. Safety Kareem Jackson, in a dumb turn of events dove shoulder first into Thomas’ head and was ejected. The Commanders would convert a two-point conversion to make it 21-11.
A field goal before half makes it a one-score game
Oh look. It’s another three-and-out for the Broncos, and the Commanders once again marched downfield on the defense. Thankfully, there was only enough time for a field goal, but with the score now 21-14, the momentum seemed to be fading eerily fast.
Despite the Broncos having the ball first out of halftime, one would have to forgive anyone who felt less than confident about the upcoming half. The wind was out of the Broncos’ sails, and Washington was feeding.
So of course, those concerns were justified when the half opened up with a combination sack + holding penalty and then a punt after yet another three-and-out. The Commanders would answer with little resistance from the Broncos’ defense for a five-play, 57-yard touchdown drive. The score is now tied, and most of us have seen how the movie ends.
The wheels are off
From that point on, it was pretty clear the Broncos had completely lost momentum. The combined body language coming from the team felt like a group of players prepared to lose. The tie game made as well have been a two-touchdown deficit. And the team played like it.
A Russell Wilson interception would lead to a missed Washington field goal, giving the Broncos a bit of a mulligan, but they could only answer with a field goal of their own. The defense after that appeared completely broken. The next three possessions would be Washington touchdown, Denver three-and-out, Washington touchdown.
What happened to Marvin Mims and Jaleel McLaughlin?
The two speedster rookies made huge plays in the first half and then all of a sudden disappeared the rest of the way. Mims never got another target after his 50+ yard gain, while McLaughlin’s only touch was on his touchdown run. I’m no wizard, but it seems to me getting those guys more involved will help this team more than hurt it.
Miracle Hail Mary and a shot at redemption?
The Broncos offense would grind out a 15-play drive and a field goal to answer the Commanders’ TD, and a last effort defensive series had the Commanders go conservative and a three-and-out to give the Broncos one last opportunity. With not enough time on the clock, the offense was forced to go Hail Mary from midfield, and somehow, some way converted. The team now has a chance to tie and go to overtime.
Aaaaaaand game over
Even with a miraculous Hail Mary to set up a potential overtime, the way the game had played out to that point didn’t produce a ton of confidence that (a) the Broncos would convert the two-point conversion, and (b) if they did, the momentum would still be on the side of Washington in OT. So of course, the attempt falls short, and despite what clearly should have been pass interference, the story of the game will be that the Broncos coughed up an 18-point lead and sits 0-2 on the season. The team now faces a very dangerous Miami Dolphins team on the road next week and unfortunately, while there have been glimmers of hope in each contest, the team doesn’t look to fare much better than they did last season.
Originally posted on Mile High Report