BRONCOS

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Melvin Gordon is killing the Broncos

Oct 2, 2022, 7:50 PM

Well, that wasn’t a fun Sunday afternoon.

The Broncos lost 32-23 to the Raiders, falling to 2-2 on the 2022 season. Denver hasn’t beaten the Raiders on the road since No. 18 Peyton Manning was the quarterback. Whether it be Oakland or Las Vegas, the silver and black just own the Broncos right now outside of Denver.

When everyone wants to talk about the Chiefs, maybe Denver needs to figure out a way to get by the Raiders first. Right now, they’re a puzzle that’s hard to solve. Whether it’s Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio or Nathaniel Hackett coaching the Broncos, they can’t figure out their fiercest rival.

How did it happen and what were the biggest takeaways? Let’s dive into it with our fourth edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

Russell Wilson cooked.

He played his best game as Denver’s QB on Sunday, throwing for 237 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Wilson completed 17 of 25 passes and registered a QB rating of 124.9. He added four carries for 29 yards and a touchdown. This is what the Broncos signed up for when they traded for Wilson and gave him a massive contract extension. He looked like his old self.

Wilson gave Denver a chance to win, consistently moving the football outside of a tough third quarter. He spread the ball out, with KJ Hamler, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton all registering more than 50 yards receiving. Yes, Hamler’s all came on one play, but it was nice to see him get involved. Both Jeudy and Sutton scored touchdowns.

The Broncos still miss Tim Patrick, there’s no doubt. But Wilson was great on Sunday, and the Broncos didn’t lose because of him. They actually had a chance thanks to his outstanding play.

The Bad

The Denver defense was excellent in the first three games of the year. They were not against the Raiders.

Surrendering 32 points is never good, even if six of them came on a defensive score (more on that later). What had been a strength for the Broncos through three contests was a detriment on Sunday. Josh Jacobs ran the ball 28 times for 144 yards, continuing to beat up the Denver defense. Pat Surtain II had some nice plays, but Raiders receiver Davante Adams still caught nine passes for 101 yards.

After Wilson got the Broncos close at 25-23 in the fourth quarter, the unit needed a stop. It didn’t happen, as Las Vegas marched down the field and iced the game with a touchdown. A successful extra point made it a two-score game, ending Denver’s hopes of a comeback.

It’s not time to panic about this group, as bad games happen. But they didn’t do their part in the loss, failing to contain the Raiders’ stars and not getting off the field at a key time.

The Ugly

Melvin Gordon stinks.

He can’t hold onto the football and looks totally washed. He fumbled for the fifth time in five games, with the Raiders picking it up and scoring a long touchdown in the other direction. It gave Las Vegas a 16-10 lead and swung all the momentum. Yes, the Broncos rallied for a touchdown, but it was the kind of play that just can’t happen.

There’s no other way to put it: Gordon is absolutely killing the Broncos. In his postgame press conference, Hackett didn’t have Gordon’s back. In fact, for the usually positive Hackett, he was pretty harsh on Gordon. He didn’t provided an endorsement or say he still believes in him.

If it weren’t for Javonte Williams hurting his knee, the Broncos should cut Gordon immediately. Unfortunately, the news on Williams doesn’t look good, so Denver likely has to keep Gordon. Phillip Lindsay is on the Colts’ practice squad, so a reunion could be worth exploring.

In the meantime, the Broncos have a Gordon problem. And in a game full of ugly, his fumble was by far the ugliest moment.

***

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Melvin Gordon is killing the Broncos