Go ahead and bask a little, Broncos Country. You have definitely earned it. Feel the warm glow of an Orange and Blue victory in LA. Let it wash over you, and smile. Let’s face it, the first month of the season was pretty horrendous, so this one feels good.
After the Denver Broncos beat the Los Angeles Chargers I tried to figure out what one thing stood out the most. Which aspect of the game, or which player, or which coach should I spotlight. Like I told Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), it was not an easy task to pick one thing.
It’s funny how wins have a tendency to do that. Especially after long losing streaks, a win cleanses the pallet. The ugliness, and desperation of 0-4 is a fleeting memory. And so what can I point to? Was it Courtland Sutton? He got my gameball, with 4 catches for 92 yards and a great catch and run TD. I’m not going to call it a breakout game, because he has already had those. It’s just easier to enjoy after a win.
Should we continue heaping praise on Phillip Lindsay? Averaging 7.6 yards per carry is one heckuva day. He just keeps going. 114 yards on the ground, 33 in the air, a rushing TD, and a huge part of controlling the game clock, Lindsay was the reason Denver got into position so Brandon McManus could make it a two-score game as time was growing short.
How about the run defense giving up just 35 yards to the rushing tandem of Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon? Or Alexander Johnson emerging as a potential starter at ILB? He came up with a huge interception when it looked like Philip Rivers was about to drive his team down and score a touchdown.
Vic Fangio had a game plan that allowed the defense to stymie a potent Chargers offense. After some questions about whether or not he was the right hire, it was a great win to get him his first victory.
The win was all-around. The offense and defense complimented each other, as Ian said on the show. Kareem Jackson kept momentum squarely in the Broncos corner with his big play on the goal line at the end of the first half, and the Broncos were able to ride that wave to a victory.
Were there problems? Of course. There still seems to be a lack of killer instinct on offense. After going up 17-0, the offense sputtered and stalled. It had shades of the loss to Jacksonville. Rich Scangarello still seems to be finding his footing as a play caller, and those are situations that an offense should take over a game. That didn’t happen, but Denver hung on for the win.
A punt return for a TD, and some sketchy decisions by Diontae Spencer almost spoiled the fun, but the Broncos overcame those hiccups, and it feels good.
Now the Broncos just need to bring a win home to Denver. With Tennessee up next, it won’t be easy, but they have finally show, it is possible. After finally getting that first win, it could be the pressure release valve that allows the team to relax, and keep winning.