Another week brought another excruciating loss for the Denver Broncos, in which the defense shut down an opponent and the offense came up short as they fell 19-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime on Monday night.
The Broncos fell to 2-4 to open the season for the fourth time in five campaigns and became the first club to lose consecutive games in overtime since the San Francisco 49ers in Weeks 4-5, 2017.
"It starts with leadership, from a defensive standpoint, offensive standpoint, special teams," safety Justin Simmons said, via the team's official website. "Something's obviously not going right and we need to find a way to fix it. Everyone knows the definition of insanity, and we can't keep doing the same things week in and week out and think things are going to change."
The things that need changing are primarily on offense.
Russell Wilson started hot Monday night, completing his first 10 passes for 116 yards and a TD for a 148.3 passer rating in the first quarter. Then the offense sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Wilson generated just 15 yards in the second half and overtime on 3-of-11 passing.
The Broncos have scored just 15.2 points per game in 2022, last in the NFL. It's the fewest points per game through six games by a Denver team since 2006 (13.2), when Jake Plummer was under center.
The defense has shut down opponents, allowing fewer than 20 points in a game for the fifth time this season (tied with San Francisco and Dallas for most in NFL). The unit's 16.5 points per game allowed is fourth in the NFL.
The Broncos are the first team to allow fewer than 17 points per game and have a losing record through Week 6 of a season since the 2019 Tennessee Titans (2-4, 15.3 PPG allowed).
The defense making plays while the offense spins its wheels in mud could sow discord in the locker room, but Wilson, who suffered a hamstring injury Monday, insists everything is copacetic.
"We don't have division in our locker room," the quarterback said. "You guys saw how hard we played for each other. It didn't go our way, but everyone is fighting their butts off every day. The line, the receivers, the running backs, the defense, the defensive line, the linebackers and our safeties and corners, everybody was playing for each other and we felt like we could have won the game. We had that fluke play at the end, but right before that play, we still felt like we could have won the game. It didn't work out, but everyone is still together, and we still believe in everything we can do. We must find ways to continue making plays and score touchdowns and do that. The end of the first quarter and the second quarter to get all the way down there. That's us. We have to bring that every time, and it can't be anything less."
The heat will continue to ratchet up on first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett for the team's offensive struggles and questionable game management that plague the Broncos each week.
"This is very disappointing," Hackett said. "We need to have a lot more urgency across the board. It starts with me as a coach, going to all the other coaches and then the players. Players need to be just more urgent. We had some opportunities there, and we've got to execute at a higher level. We've got to come up with some better plays."