It’s been a nightmare season for the Denver Broncos, but after two straight months of embarrassing losses, they finally showed up in grand fashion and put an end to their eight-game losing streak. The boys in orange and blue finally got back in the win column after defeating the New York Jets at home by a score of 23-0. Today’s performance left many wondering, “Where the Hell has this type of Broncos football been the past eight weeks?”
One of the biggest reasons the Broncos were able to secure a victory on the gridiron was the top-flight play of their defense. It has been a season of ups-and-downs for the unit, who at times have looked like a shell of their former Super Bowl clinching selves, but they were outstanding this afternoon. Their efforts limited the Jets to only 98 total yards of offense, zero points and their dominance helped force two turnovers. Keep in mind that this is the same Jets team that nearly put up 500 yards of total offense against the Kansas City Chiefs last week.
In the words of John Fox, “Not too shabby.”
But it isn’t just the defense who deserves praise, so let’s shed some positive light on the other side of the ball. A balanced attack on offense led to 23 points and arguably their best performance since defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 of the season. Perhaps most importantly, the offense didn’t have any turnovers and played disciplined football with only a few penalties. When you can win the turnover battle and limit self-inflicted mistakes, that’s often enough to win in the NFL — and after weeks of issues in that respect, the Broncos found that out.
Kudos to the Broncos for having a complete game.
That being said, it is uncertain whether or not today’s victory will be enough to save Vance Joseph’s job or preclude the Broncos from undergoing significant coaching and player changes this offseason. However, the win should prove to be a major morale booster that will give the team some much needed fire to finish out the rest of the year on a high note. Even though the Broncos season has been a major disappointment, it sure does feel good to see them win in a dominating effort and having fun while doing so.
Hart’s Quick Hits
- There has been a lot of talk on social media and various other outlets about the Broncos moving on from Demaryius Thomas this coming offseason. Reasons cited range from “money to acquire Kirk Cousins” or “they don’t feel he is the same caliber of player with his revamped diet.” I don’t have any “inside” information on the situation, but these claims seem highly dubious. Why would the Broncos decline to pick up his option when he is easily their best wide receiver and one of their only legitimate weapons on offense?
The #Broncos would be straight tripping to get rid of Demaryius Thomas. Still a top 10 WR in football. Not his fault pass blocking and quarterback play has been atrocious.— Nick Kendell (@NickKendellMHH) December 10, 2017
Whether the Broncos decide to pursue a top-tier free agent quarterback or draft one, it would be beyond stupid to get rid of Thomas, who is on pace to revamp the franchise’s record books at the position. He had a great game for the Broncos today, reeling in eight receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Sending him packing seems like a terrible idea, no matter how you slice it.
- One player who has consistently shined in the opportunities he has been given is defensive lineman Shelby Harris. After a tremendous preseason that propelled him to the final roster, Harris has been a playmaker in Denver’s defensive trenches all season long. That trend continued today with Harris registering a sack, several quarterback hits and a batted down pass. Harris is a restricted free agent this offseason, but don’t be surprised if the Broncos try and extend him after giving him a tender.
- When you play with a lead, the pass rush is going to improve — today’s game was proof positive of that statement. It wasn’t just Harris who was getting after the quarterback, as Von Miller’s sack of Josh McCown in the third quarter brought his total to ten on the season. With that sack, Miller became the first defender in franchise history to have six seasons with ten or more sacks. Congratulations to Von!
- Miscellaneous tidbits: Despite the Broncos win this afternoon, they have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Additionally, with their win they have moved from selecting fourth in the 2018 NFL Draft to picking fifth overall. For those of you hoping that the tank has fully been embraced, don’t be surprised when Denver plays themselves out of a top five selection in the following weeks.