Here's the #1 culprit of why the Broncos started the season 1-2 IMO. Yes the offense has been less than stellar, what with giving up 4 turnovers against the Falcons, and dropping lots of balls against the Texans.
But, despite all the problems they are averaging 258 yards passing per game, 15th in the league and are 12th in scoring at 25.7 ppg. Slightly above average on both counts.
But, defense is a different story. Here are the grim statistics:
Points allowed/gm: 21st 25.7 (106 total)
Passing Yards allowed/gm: 15th (233.7)
Passing TDs allowed: 28th (9)
20+ yard plays: 11th (9)
40+ yard plays: 28th (3)
Opponents Completion %: 10th 59.4%
Opponents passer rating allowed: 23rd 98.5
Opponents 1st down %: 27th (40.6% success)
As for positive statistics:
Sacks: tied for 9th (7)
Ints: tied for 15th (2)
Rushing yards allowed: 13th (77 yards) (Nobody is rushing the ball much any more. Tampa is only giving up 13.6 ypg rushing, which is a lot better than the 2000 Ravens defense, and yet it doesn't matter. They are still 1-2 because they are giving up 442 ypg passing.)
Everyone in the secondary had a bad game! Porter was beat like a gong for two long TDs, but he certainly wasn't the only culprit. Mike Adams was caught looking into the backfield and failed to cover on one. He also gave up some big completions. Nickel back Chris Harris gave up a big first down. Champ Bailey had a key holding penalty on 3rd down to give them a fresh set of downs and was the defender beaten on their last 3rd down when they get a first down to run out the clock.
Rahim Moore was invisible. None of them played at all well.
The LBs weren't any better. Von Miller is going to be fined about $20,000 for that takedown of Schaub and Joe Mays is very probably going to be suspended for 1 or 2 games PLUS a big fine for his helmet-to-jaw blow the play after that.
As for the DL, aside from Dumervil's 1st play safety, they failed to get consistent pressure on Schaub all day. He was able to step up and make throw after throw.
Accordingly, once again the defense couldn't get off the field on 3rd down, a story that has been going on all season long, a stat that is reflected in their allowing opponents 40% first downs (27th in the league at that).
You can blame Peyton Manning for not playing great, or the WRs for dropping the ball all too often (you'd be right). But, unless you think this team can win every game in a shoot-out 34-31, then the defense is going to have to stop somebody once in a while.
They did get the safety and the forced fumble which ignited the last ditch Denver recovery effort. But, too little, too late.
If this team only goes as far as their defense will permit, then they aren't going anywhere until and unless the defense starts playing a LOT better, especially against the pass. The run defense has been generally OK, but in today's NFL that hardly matters. Teams are throwing the ball more than ever before in league history. You'd better have a sound pass-defense that can get more than a couple 3rd down stops per game.
I've had that same sinking feeling the last couple of games I used to get years ago when Denver had them in 3rd and long and yet you just KNEW that the defense was GOING To give up a big first down pass. It was just inevitable. They couldn't get pressure on the passer, and they couldn't cover anybody downfield. I'd sit there going "1-one-thousand, 2-one-thousand, 3-one-thousand, 4-one-thousand, throws. First down! Of course."