By Marc Mandell

@mandell_w on twitter

294 days, 9 consecutive games, and 42 weeks worth of winning came to a very humbling close on Sunday afternoon. If you were watching the same game I was, than I’m sure you were considering banging your head against the wall as well. Boy was that hard to watch.

The Defense of the Denver Broncos was a cluster. Linebackers struggled against the running backs and the defensive front couldn’t get any pressure on Matt Ryan. In regards to the linebackers, ouch. This was the first game where it was obvious that Denver is missing Danny Trevathan. Tevin Coleman of the Falcons has that same sickle cell trait that Ryan Clark did, and he went for 31 yards on the ground and, brace yourselves, 132 yards and a touchdown through the air. On only 4 receptions. 4. His partner in crime Mr. Davonte Freeman had a good day on the ground with 88 yards and a touchdown as well. The massively confusing part is that, aside from their killer ground game, that’s basically all they had for offense. Julio had just 29 yards worth of receiving and Sanu went for only 43. Oh and he was the victim of strong armed robbery by TJ Ward.

Miller had a good game too, as he always does. So Ryan didn’t go ballistic like he did last week, they just smacked the Denver Defense around like the kicking net did to Odell Beckham last week in the ground game. So the no fly zone did its job, it was the soft pie zone in the middle that gave up the yards and points. Kyle Shanahan decided that he would take what ever the defense would give him, turns out it was the dignity of the Broncos front 5.

Now, can we put this whole QB thing to rest? Can we now agree that Paxton isn’t ready yet. He may be the future but the future isn’t here. He had a decent day, 23/35 for 223 yards 1 TD and 1 pick. But the numbers are a little misleading. He really struggled to read the defense of Atlanta, which is one of the bottom 3 in the NFL, he held on to the ball for way way too long as well as letting the opposition into his head. To be perfectly honest I have never really been a huge Lynch fan. I know that John Elway and Gary Kubiak, who was admitted to the hospital shortly after the game with flu like symptoms, know far more about the game and QB’s than I do. And let me be clear I do trust the organization, I just worry that Paxton will never develop into the Quarterback that Denver will need to get where they want to go. But lets talk about that later. For now it’s about what we witnessed on Sunday afternoon in the Mile High City. The offensive line looked decent on the left side and absolutely awful on the right. Ty Sambrailo and Micheal Schofield were pushed around, driven through and dropped on their rumps. Start to finish. It wasn’t a great day for them at all. The missing part of the hull that is Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson is causing this offense to take on water, or in this case, defenders. Shockingly Vic Beasley had a career game. Who was he against you ask? Well he split time between Sambriailo and Schofield. Like last year when Kalil Mack had a career day against Schofield.

While I will agree that Sambrailo needs to sit for a while, the issue who to replace him with? We are all hoping that Stephenson returns for our Thursday night bout with San Diego. If Stephenson isn’t ready to go, we will get another healthy dose of Sambrailo. The offense was putrid because of the offensive line and a young inexperienced quarterback. A rough day through and through. The good news here is that this week is over and we can move on. Besides, of all the games to lose this is one of them. It was an out of conference game and Denver still is tied with the other AFC power teams as far as win loss. So all is not lost. Silver lining folks.

And the last catastrophe? Special teams. Denver lost in all three phases. Couldn’t flip the field. Atlanta started most of their drives in + territory or very close to it. The Falcons didn’t have to travel very far to get some points and the Broncos had to go the legnth of the field all day long. It was a complete break down start to finish. I’m sure that the coaching staff will get it figured out this week and that we will see a much more focused team when kick off comes on Thursday night.

D: All of the Above. Total stinker today folks.

Thanks again for reading and I will have my San Diego Matchup outlook later on this week.