Broncos coach Vic Fangio criticized his quarterbacks after the team faced the Saints without a QB because of a breach of coronavirus protocols.
The Broncos were humbled 31-3 by the Saints in the absence of starting quarterback Drew Lock and backups Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles on Sunday after the trio were deemed closed contacts of signal-caller Jeff Driskel, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Makeshift quarterback Kendall Hinton completed just one of nine passes for 13 yards and two interceptions.
Denver became the first team with one or fewer completions and fewer than 20 passing yards in a game since the San Diego Chargers in 1998. Ryan Leaf completed one of 15 passes for 4 yards in that game.
“I was disappointed on several levels, that our QBs put us in that position, that our QBs put the league in that position,” Fangio said. “We count on them to be the leaders of our team, the leaders of our offense, and those guys made a mistake.”
Fangio added: “They got lax with their masks, I guess, and they got lax with their distancing, I guess.
“I haven’t done a good enough job of selling the protocols to them when they’re on their own. That’s on me.”
Hinton, an undrafted rookie wide receiver who played quarterback at Wake Forest, came off the practice squad, had zero practice reps and competed in his first NFL game as the Broncos’ quarterback in an unprecedented situation.
“When I got the call, it was pure excitement. Of course, there was nerves and disbelief,” Hinton said. “Coming in, I knew I had no idea of what the speed of the game was like. . . . We knew it would be a tough situation, for sure.”
Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said: “I feel like maybe [the game] could have been moved, but at the same time, maybe the league was making an example of us as far as maybe not doing the things we needed to do in that particular room, that quarterback room.
“Obviously, the guys didn’t follow their protocols, and for [the NFL] to see that, I guess they felt like they had to make an example, so at the end of [the] day, it is what it is.
“Obviously, it’s our guys’ fault for not wearing their masks, but at least maybe move the game to the next day or whenever so we’re given a fighting chance,” Jackson added. “[It’s] obviously disappointing. I’m not sure why it wasn’t moved. I have no clue . . . as a competitor, [it is] definitely frustrating.”