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Broncos-Bears: The good, the bad and the ugly from Sunday afternoon

(Photo by Dustin Bradford / Getty Images)

The Broncos have started the 2019 season with two losses after dropping Sunday’s game to the Bears by a score of 16-14. Sitting with an 0-2 record, they are at the bottom of the standings in the AFC West. With a record of 0-2, their chances of making the postseason in 2019 fall to around 11 percent (compiled over the last 17 seasons).

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio didn’t think it was all bad on Sunday.

“I think we proved that we are capable of playing good football. That was a good team we played. We were toe-to-toe with them the whole game. We had our chances to win there,” Fangio said.

The team now has to turn things around with a fan base that is quickly becoming frustrated. It was supposed to be different under Fangio and this team is off to their worst start over the last three post-Peyton Manning seasons.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 2 loss.

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The Good

I really liked seeing Emmanuel Sanders used early and often in the game against the Bears. It was something I was begging offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello to do after largely ignoring the veteran star until the fourth quarter of the Week 1 game against the Raiders. The Broncos came out throwing to Sanders on the first drive, and they moved the ball down the field rather easily and ended up getting a field goal to start out.

On the day, Sanders was targeted a team-high 13 times, catching 11 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown grab was against tough coverage from star cornerback Kyle Fuller, but Sanders was able to come down with the improbable score. That play catapulted the team into the lead but unfortunately, they weren’t able to hold on for the victory.

Joe Flacco loves what he saw from Sanders all game long.

“You guys know who Emmanuel is. His personality shines out there on the field. He’s a fighter until the very end. He just wants to go out there and play football, do his thing, (and) rely on everybody else to do their thing. You play as hard as you can and you do what you do best and he does it in every single moment of the football game,” Flacco said.

Sanders looks as good as ever this season. I liked seeing him involved early and I hope the team keeps it up. After the game, Sanders slammed his helmet onto the concrete in the tunnel as the team was coming off the field. This game means a lot to him and he wants to win. That fiery competitiveness is infectious for the rest of team and this Broncos squad needs more players like Sanders who hate to lose.

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The Bad

When you throw 50 passes in a game, a quarterback should have over 300 yards passing. That’s not the case with Joe Flacco on Sunday. With the team down, they had to move to more of a pass-happy mode on offense and it didn’t lead to a victory and Flacco only threw for 292 yards, good for a paltry 5.8 yards per completion.

Flacco knows that as a leader on the team, he has to carry himself a certain way after a loss.

“Show up to work, work hard, just like always, have a positive attitude and keep my head up. When I walk in the building tomorrow, I’m going to have my head up just as high as I’ve always had it. Guys see that and guys respond to that. That’s what I’m going to do and that’s what I expect everybody else to do,” Flacco said.

The Broncos did not have a lead against the Raiders in Week 1. They held the lead for around 11 minutes in the game against the Bears, and they’ve lost the time of possession battle in both contests. There is no wonder why this team is winless, and this ineptitude on the offense also prevents the defense from playing at their best. After two games, this once-thought-to-be ferocious pass rush has exactly zero sacks. Some of the blame belongs on Flacco and the offense for not setting their defense up better.

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The Ugly

There is no doubt that Garett Bolles and his play belongs in this section. He had four holding penalties against the Bears and seemed lost on the field at times. This is merely unacceptable play for a first-round pick playing in the second game of his third season as a pro. Bolles has not been developing on the bench, he’s started every game of his pro career and just doesn’t seem to be improving.

He has a reputation as one of the tackles in the NFL who holds the most. Bolles is aware of this reputation – which makes his below-average play worse in my opinion.

“I’ve built a reputation for myself in this league of holding. I disagree with it, to be honest. There are some calls I disagree with, and there are some things that I understand. That was just unfortunate that they keep coming after me, but it is what it is. Like I said, I disagree with some of them. I’ve got to move forward and get back to work on Monday,” Bolles said.

If this season is going to turn around there needs to be better play from Bolles or the team needs to replace him in the starting lineup. At this time, it seems like the latter is the most likely outcome for Bolles.