The Broncos returned home to face the Browns on Sunday. After losing the last two games, things seemed dire for Denver – especially since they had a starting quarterback who had never taken an NFL snap. Instead of losing three games in a row, however, the Broncos now have a winning streak of one after beating the Browns by a score of 24-19 on Sunday.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio had some positive words for the team as they prepare to take a break with a bye in Week 10.
“My message is, ‘Hey, we’re enjoying the win. We just celebrated the win. It’s good to see them be rewarded. This is our fourth game like this. You guys know how the other three turned out and to get one hopefully that starts to believe we can get the next one when we’re in like this,’” Fangio said.
The Broncos have a bye in Week 10. During that time, there is a lot for this team to consider as they have seven games remaining this season. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 9 win.
We rarely saw Joe Flacco throw a 50/50 pass in eight games with the Broncos. On Sunday, it didn’t take long for Allen to show that wouldn’t be a problem for him.
With 6:09 left in the first quarter, Allen tossed a ball down the right sideline because he saw Sutton with one-on-one coverage with cornerback Denzel Ward. Sutton has great “my ball” mentality and can win those type of throws where there’s a 50/50 chance of him coming down with the reception.
Sutton ripped away the 21-yard touchdown pass from Ward, even though the Browns player had better position on the ball. That type of throw by Allen showed that he wasn’t afraid to take chances with the ball.
Fangio wasn’t surprised by Sutton’s performance on Sunday.
“I expect that out of Courtland. When a big guy, a big receiver like that, you have to put it up there and give him a chance to win those 50-50 balls and Courtland did. That’s a guy making a play,” Fangio said.
The Diontae Spencer package on offense just isn’t working. The Broncos sent Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers via trade and they have now played two games without the star veteran receiver. While Sanders is thriving with his new team, the Broncos are having trouble finding a replacement for him.
He’s a good return man, but Spencer should not be part of the answer to replace Sanders on offense.
During the last two games, Spencer has been targeted five times and he has three catches for just 18 yards during that time. Against the Browns on Sunday, Spencer was targeted three times but only caught one of those passes thrown his way. The catch went for zero yards and to make things worse, Spencer had the ball ripped away from him and was credited with a lost fumble.
The Broncos offense isn’t good enough to overcome a bunch of turnovers – or really even one turnover. They are lucky that mistake by Spencer did not cost them the game.
Tim Patrick is going to return from the injured reserve list after the team’s Week 10 bye. He’s the most likely player to fill the shoes of Sanders in the offense. I appreciate the Broncos for trying to get Spencer’s speed on the field for their offense, but it’s not the answer they need so it’s time to move on to something else. Spencer should be limited to special teams only going forward.
The people I talk to around the Browns organization say that head coach Freddie Kitchens is on the hot seat. That’s not any sort of secret due to the expectations that some had for the Browns before the season (remember all that Super Bowl talk?). The Browns have fallen well short of those expectations and with their current record there is no chance they will make the postseason in 2019.
After the game, quarterback Baker Mayfield was asked about his first-year head coach’s job security.
“It’s a topic for you guys. Within our building, we know exactly what’s wrong. We haven’t executed. I think, like I said earlier, we had a good plan we just haven’t executed it. We’ll see how the guys handle it this week, but it’s got to be a singular focus. The preparation the last few games has been unbelievable, so we need to continue that. The type of men that we have, I said it weeks ago, whenever it was, months ago, that we’re going to stick together. We’re going to keep pushing forward, so this is obviously very frustrating but we got to move forward,” Mayfield said.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kitchens one-and-done as the head coach of the Browns. With a guy like former Packers coach Mike McCarthy out there, the Browns might be tempted to go in a different direction ASAP.