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ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 24: Justin Simmons #31 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his interception during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on November 24, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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Broncos-Bills: The good, the bad and the ugly from Sunday

(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

The Broncos played arguably their worst game of the season – on both sides of the ball – on Sunday against the Bills. They traveled to play an early game on the road and looked flat, falling to Buffalo by a score of 20-3.

Defensively, the Broncos couldn’t stop the Bills rushing attack and offensively they couldn’t really move the ball on the ground or through the air. And Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was blunt when talking about the struggles of the offense on Sunday.

“Yeah, actually early on, it was kind of okay considering the conditions and the good defense we were going against. But at some point there, we just stopped moving it totally and they kind of smothered us. It was a problem, obviously, and one that we need to get rectified somehow,” Fangio said.

The Broncos come back home in Week 12 with a divisional matchup against the Chragers. We shall see if there is a big change coming the quarterback position, as we should get an update on Drew Lock during the week. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 12 loss.

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The Good

There is not a lot from this game that you can point at and say was good. However, safety Justin Simmons was perhaps the lone bright spot for the Broncos in Week 12. While the defense struggled, Simmons did have a big play when he intercepted Bills quarterback Josh Allen. This is the third interception of the season for Simmons and he remains one of the smartest and best players on the Broncos entire roster.

Allen noted how the coverage was disguised by Simmons which led to the pick.

“The coverage that I thought they were in quarters and their safety was committing to the run. That’s our cue to kind of to put it over the top. My eyes were on him. I didn’t see the backside safety moving post high. They disguised it well; they made a play. And obviously, it’s one that I want back because it’s one I’d probably do again,” Allen said.

With five games remaining in the 2019 season, Simmons already has the same number of interceptions as he did all of last season. It’s a contract year for the safety, as he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020 and his price tag continues to go up almost every week with his strong play. The Broncos would be wise to get Simmons a new long-term deal sooner rather than later.

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The Bad

The run defense was humiliated on Sunday against the Bills. Since Week 4, when the team was embarrassed by Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, the Broncos rush defense had been very strong. On Sunday, they faced a team with a starting rookie running back who had never had a 100-yard game in his career. Devin Singletary rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries against the Broncos and as a team the Bills rushed for 244 yards and 47 carries.

Fangio was truthful and succinct when talking about the run defense.

“Yeah, it wasn’t very good today. They blocked us good, their backs ran hard and I’m sure some of our fits were off a little bit,” Fangio said.

In addition to the big day by Singletary, the Broncos allowed veteran Frank Gore to gain 65 yards on 15 carries. With that performance, Gore went pass Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list in NFL history. Gore now has 15,289 career rushing yards and only trails Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith on that list.

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The Ugly

The play of Brandon Allen has not been good enough, as the quarterback had his worst game of the last three games (his only three starts) on Sunday. Allen was under pressure for most of the game, as the Bills defense was able to get to him early and often. He failed to once again complete 50 percent of his passes, going 10-of-25 for only 82 passing yards with zero touchdowns and one interception.

Fangio did not pull any punches when talking about Allen’s struggles.

“Well, obviously, we had a tough day on offense and as the quarterback, it’s going to look tough for you too. He was under some duress. I think the wind affected the throwing a little bit and it wasn’t good enough,” Fangio said.

The Broncos have been hesitant to activate rookie quarterback Drew Lock from Injured Reserve. They have a week left in his window that was opened to do so when he began practicing a couple of weeks ago. It only makes sense if the Broncos go ahead and make Lock their starter.

Sure, the offensive line may get him beat up, but the rookie will have a trial by fire when he’s the starter. Yes, Lock may not be ready to be the starter, but nobody is truly ready for what it takes to thrive in the NFL. With the 2020 NFL Draft – and a potential top-5 pick – coming up, the Broncos need to find out whether or not Lock has the potential to be their starter and franchise quarterback. With five games left, it’s time to get Lock into the lineup.