Updated Nov. 24
You are who we thought you were.
That's you, Denver Broncos.
That 6-0 start, which had every media pundit apologizing to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels for being so wrong about the moves he made (see: Jay Cutler trade) and his coaching prowess, now seems like decades ago.
Wasn't John Elway the quarterback for that team?
The Broncos have lost four consecutive games to go from talking about home-field advantage to trying to figure out ways to avoid staying home for the playoffs.
Their 32-3 blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers puts them in second place in the AFC West, one game behind the Chargers, and miles behind them in the way they're both playing.
That loss also drops the Broncos out of the top 10 of the CBSSports.com Power Rankings for the first time in weeks.
When I saw the Broncos live in Baltimore a month ago, their first loss of the season, I thought they were flawed. The offense didn't challenge vertically. That would catch up with them.
It has. That style can keep you around in games if everything else goes exactly right. The margin for error, though, is razorblade slim.
In the first six weeks, they got away with it.
Now it's killing them.
Their inability to make plays in the passing game cost them four games, and it was really bad against the Chargers. With starting quarterback Kyle Orton hobbled by an ankle injury, Chris Simms started and reminded us why he's destined to be a career backup. Orton didn't fare much better when he entered in a desperation move.
You also had Brandon Marshall jumping Knowshon Moreno for his fumble inside the 20 when the Broncos had a chance to cut a 13-0 lead to 13-7. Brandon Marshall, of all people?
Now the Broncos must get ready for the New York Giants on a short week since they play Thursday night in Denver.
That's a tough one, and there are other tough ones coming up. They have games at Indianapolis and at Philadelphia. That trip to Kansas City in two weeks, which has won two consecutive games, won't be easy either.
The fawning over McDaniels has stopped. He isn't the Boy Genius after all.
And his Broncos are who we thought they'd be; a solid team that might squeeze into the playoffs -- if everything goes right.
Super Bowl contender? It's not happening with that style of offense.
They look more burnt than your overcooked Thanksgiving bird.