The Denver Broncos had a legitimate shot of taking down the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland’s run game wasn’t as devastating because both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt did not play.
Jarvis Landry was also not 100 percent healthy, and Case Keenum started at quarterback.
Yet the Broncos still found a way to lose despite their advantages.
Perfect depiction of #Colorado sports RN #Rockies#MileHighBasketball #GoAvsGo #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/qoy84cIKwS
— Andrew K (@COSportsNut) October 22, 2021
They gave 146 yards to third-string running back D’Ernest Johnson and allowed Keenum to finish with zero interceptions.
Don’t be fooled by the low-scoring game because the Broncos played terribly on both ends.
Usually, heads roll after such disappointing performances against a depleted roster.
Therefore, Drew Lock may take over Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
Is it Drew Lock time Denver bettors? pic.twitter.com/lyM71REb91
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) October 22, 2021
But the biggest change of all might be Vic Fangio’s termination.
He might not survive until Black Monday, when NFL teams often fire head coaches.
What an unfortunate ending for a coach who started strong this season.
The Mile-High Team Is Free Falling
The Broncos were the talk of the town after winning their first three games in 2021.
While every victory is worthy of celebration, their win streak came at the expense of teams with losing records.
As of Week 6, the New York Giants, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the New York Jets have a combined 3-14 record.
Still, their defense got tons of praise by surrendering 26 points in three games.
Von Miller turned back the hands of time, and rookie Patrick Surtain II is making plays at cornerback.
Patrick Surtain II in man coverage:
🔸 79 coverage snaps
🔸 0 TDs allowed
Second-most man coverage snaps without allowing a TD among all CBs🔒 pic.twitter.com/uDQHWCyIlb
— PFF (@PFF) October 21, 2021
Meanwhile, the offense was scoring enough points thanks to Bridgewater, Courtland Sutton, and Melvin Gordon III.
But when the harder part of their schedule came, Fangio did not make significant adjustments to keep their winning ways going.
The Broncos trailed by at least 10 points after the first half in each of their four losses.
Their lack of effort against the Baltimore Ravens was appalling.
However, they could live with that as long as they could defeat their bitter AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders.
Mike Shanahan’s indoctrination to Broncos ring of honor came during a loss to the team he hated most. The #Raiders
— Phil Robinson III (@PhilRobinsonIII) October 17, 2021
Even home-field advantage and Mike Shanahan’s enshrinement to the Broncos Ring of Honor wasn’t enough motivation to win against their division foes.
Without a doubt, Denver’s losing streak makes Fangio’s seat hotter.
When everyone thought they had turned their fortunes around, the Broncos were still the same team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2016.
Worse, their once-dominating defense was more of a mirage.
The Clock Is Ticking For Fangio
The loss against Cleveland may trigger Broncos general manager George Paton to start researching Fangio’s replacement.
If they decide to fire him during the season, either offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur or defensive coordinator Ed Donatell will take over as interim head coach.
With the way things are going, both men might not survive the season either.
But someone must steer the ship somewhere, giving them more time in Denver.
Look for Vic Fangio to be let go today. Broncos then would have over a week to re-organize coaching staff before their next game a week from Sunday.
— coloradojim (@coloradojimw) October 22, 2021
For now, Fangio might be another terrible game away from getting the pink slip.
However, he has time to turn things around, though the road won’t be easy.
The Broncos will be playing three of their next four games at home.
The only road game during that stretch is against the Dallas Cowboys.
Meanwhile, they’ll get the Washington Football Team, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Los Angeles Chargers at Empower Field.
You want the cold hard truth?
Teddy Bridgewater – Not the answer
Drew Lock – Not the answer
Vic Fangio – Not the answer
Pat Shurmur – Not the answer
The #Broncos have no owner and a 1st year GM who did not address the long-term plan at QB. There is no end in sight.
— Denver Broncos 365 (@DailyBroncos) October 17, 2021
Having an even record or better after these games may change the front office’s perception of Fangio.
Otherwise, his seat will continue to heat up until the Broncos eject him.
When that happens, at least he won’t pay more attention to the other team piling up the rushing yards instead of drawing up a solid game plan.NEXT: Vic Fangio Delivers Strong Message About Teddy Bridgewater