The Broncos offense did enough to put a two score lead up and the defense kept it a two score lead even as the Titans desperately made quarterback changes and tried everything they could to get back into the game. With such an impressive defensive performance mixed in with an offense that took care of the football for the most part, there were plenty of game balls to go around this week.
Let’s start with the head coach...
The Vic Fangio era was on life support just two weeks ago after the team lost another heartbreaker in the final minutes. People were questioning his ability to be a head coach, radio stations began offering rumors of a split between him and Von Miller, and many Broncos fans began refreshing the website tankathon.com like the season was already over.
Now, two straight wins after wholesale change in the defense has completely flipped the script for the 2019 Broncos. The new defensive lineup has yet to give up a touchdown (Chargers only touchdown came on a punt return) and have completely shut opposing offenses down for two straight weeks.
The real test comes in three short days when Denver hosts the Kansas City Chiefs. If they contain Patrick Mahomes and come out with a win at home there, we can legitimately talk about how much Fangio has turned things around. Even then, if they lose and its a hard fought game we can start to feel good about the long-term future of this team. This fan is very happy with the progress Fangio has made in such a short time. - Tim Lynch
Chiefs defense allowed 472 yesterday. No sacks for the second straight game.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 14, 2019
Kareem Jackson is honestly the glue for this Denver Bronco defense and it showed against the Tennessee Titans. He had a TFL, a superb pass defense, and the game sealing interception that was text book execution. He’s really embraced the safety role here in Denver and is looking like one of the league’s best with how he’s playing. - Sadaraine
When John Elway asked Vic Fangio this past offseason about signing Mike Purcell, the head coach who had had Purcell as a practice squad player in San Francisco, told him, “Be careful. You might want to keep him.” Thank goodness Elway listened, and thank goodness Fangio had the cojones to use him. Benching Adam Gotsis in favor of the 328-pound nose tackle last week and again against Tennessee, Purcell has made a huge difference in the run defense - this week contributing five tackles, including two for a loss. But mostly, by shoring up that middle and getting inside pressure, Purcell has made it easier for Shelby Harris and Derek Wolfe to do their jobs - both of whom got sacks on the Titans’ QB. “Like I’ve always said, Mike’s a good run defender. That’s his specialty. He’s strong, he’s instinctive and he’s a fighter,” Fangio said after the game. “He’s helped the last two weeks, no doubt about it.” - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Week in and week out Phillip Lindsay continues to show why he is the Broncos lead running back. His 11 rushes for 70 yards and one score were solid stats, but it’s more than that. With Lindsay, you know he is going to find the holes, and exploit defensive players who just can’t keep up with him. On the goal line he is the clear choice because of his vision, patience, and determination. On an offense that has young talent that is starting to gel, Lindsay is the best of the bunch. Against the Titans, he continued showing his ability to be the every down back. Was it an offensive shootout? Nope. With all the punting going on, it may seem difficult to find an offensive player who made an impact. With Lindsay on the field, the task is simple. - Adam Malnati
The player nicknamed “Dino” has been a huge reason the Broncos defense has been so dominant the last two games. In the shut out of the Titans, he led Denver with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. It certainly looks as if Johnson is Denver’s answer at middle linebacker. - Ian St. Clair
Chris Harris Jr.
Chris Harris has been talking about wanting to make impact plays for this defense all year and the opportunities just hadn’t yet presented themselves for a big turnover. Today, he stepped up and made them happen. Early in the game he stripped a Titans receiver forcing a fumble that Denver nearly recovered, later he had a chance a pick while trapping an out route, but the receiver muscled away. Finally, Harris got his interception and ended up breaking the floodgates open for what would be a 3 INT day for the Denver defense. Not only can he more than carry Keenan Allen’s jock strap, he straight up stole Marcus Mariota’s. - Jeff Essary
One of the brightest stars on offense week in and week out has been Courtland Sutton, who is blossoming into a true number one receiver before our eyes. I’ve gone at length about that for GIF Horse a couple of weeks ago, but it continued against the Titans.
Going into the game the Titans secondary presented a difficult matchup. Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are two of the better “big” coverage artists in the league and Kevin Byard is quietly one of, if not the best safety. Sutton still snagged a 19 and 41 yard passes and kept the passing offense afloat. - Joe Rowles
My game ball goes to DeMarcus Walker. I have been waiting for him to have a game like this since we drafted him the 51st pick in 2017. He finished yesterday’s game with 4 combined tackles (3 solo), two TFLs, 2 QB hits and 2 sacks. He was flying around the field both chasing down screen plays from behind as well as chasing down both of the Titan’s very mobile QBs. After only playing 19% of the snaps in the win over the Chargers, Walker was in on almost double (34%) of the snaps against the Titans. I’m hoping that the coaching staff has found the formula to make use of Demarcus’ skills will hiding his flaws and that we will see good things from Walker as a situational pass rusher moving forward. - Joe Mahoney
DeMarcus Walker— T. Kothe (@tkothe_nfl) October 14, 2019
In 32 games under Vance Joseph/Joe Woods: 2 sacks, 11 comb tackles (9 solo), 2 TFL.
In 6 games under Vic Fangio/Ed Donatell: 3 sacks, 12 comb tackles (8 solo), 1 TFL.
As has been the case for years, Derek Wolfe played a big role against the Titans as part of a defensive line unit that harassed and stymied the Tennessee offense in general, and their quarterbacks in particular, all afternoon. No. 95’s two sacks and other plays were a big part of the shutout. Keep on howling, Wolfe! - Taylor Kothe