DENVER -- Just minutes after a crushing 30-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio looked at what his team's offense had done in the previous 60 football minutes and narrowed down the issues to one rather significant area.
"It was all levels of our passing game [that] were problems," Fangio said. "Protection sometimes, receivers not getting open sometimes, [the Chiefs] using good coverages for us that maybe we weren't ready for; it's certainly a problem we have to get rectified moving forward. ... It's disappointing not to be ultimately competitive out there."
The Chiefs went into Thursday night's game 30th in the league in run defense, 27th in the league in total defense and 24th in sacks. And the Broncos were still unable to find any room for their offense to work against Kansas City.
Against a defense that allowed at least 180 yards rushing in each of the previous four games, the Broncos ran for 71 yards. Against a defense that allowed three of its previous four opponents to score at least 28 points, the Broncos had six.
And, most damning of all, perhaps, against a defense that had all of 11 sacks for the season coming into the game, the Broncos allowed nine. Not since John Elway's rookie year as a player -- 1983 -- had the Broncos surrendered nine sacks in a game.
"You all watched the same game we watched,'' wide receiver Courtland Sutton said. "We just didn't execute.''
It all left wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders shaking his head. "I don't even have an answer," he said.
From start to finish, the Chiefs battered Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco -- Kansas City had six sacks in the first half -- as a Broncos offense that scored a touchdown on the first possession of the game advanced into Chiefs territory on only two of its next 12 possession. On one of those next 12 possessions, the Chiefs returned a Flacco fumble, after a sack, for a touchdown. On another, Broncos kicker Brandon McManus missed a 45-yard field goal attempt.
"[The Chiefs] pressured us early on in both the run and pass, and we didn't do a good job of handling it," Fangio said.
"We're just not playing good football," Flacco said. "They came after us, and we kind of let them come after us. ... They played real physical, they came hard, they played downhill and we were in a lot of bad situations."
In addition to the Chiefs' defensive score to go with McManus' missed field, the Broncos failed to convert a two-point conversion from the Chiefs' 1-yard line after a Kansas City penalty, surrendered one of the nine sacks on an ill-fated fake punt and finished a dismal 1-of-13 on third down.
It was all so bad nobody was exempt, as Broncos linebacker Von Miller, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, finished without a tackle, an assisted tackle, a sack, a quarterback hit or a pass defensed. His sack Thursday night was negated by a holding penalty on cornerback Duke Dawson Jr.
"We didn't play well in any of the three phases,'' Miller said. "Just a tough one.''
Asked Thursday night whether his team, now 2-5, had reentered the "world of suck'' -- Fangio told his players after the Broncos dropped to 0-4 to open the season that they were going to have to tune out "everybody telling them they suck'' -- Fangio said: "Boy, that was a statement I regret making. I still believe in these guys. We had a poor performance [Thursday] really in all three levels, we had a poor first drive defensively. ... Kicking game let us down, we missed a kick, we don't get a fake punt off and obviously our problems on offense.''