The Denver Broncos got back into the win column in Week 9 with a 24-19 victory over the Cleveland Browns. For once, it was the offense that made the big plays. The play calling was solid and the quarterback play, for a change, was a big reason why the big plays were made.
It won’t get any easier from here as four of the next five games are on the road against playoff contenders, but for now we can savor this one. They played well as a team and came out with the win.
Given how many good things happened on offense, we predictably selected a lot of offensive players to give these game balls out to. However, there were a few defensive players who got one as well.
Last week, saw a lot of criticism directed towards Rich Scangarello, not the least of which was by Denver’s very own QB. Scangarello responded by putting together an excellent game in which he helped a young QB making his first start stay in rhythm and be comfortable, while also throwing several curve balls at the opposing defense, and utilizing all of Denver’s weapons.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen pieces of this from Scangarello, but this is the first time we’ve seen it all come together, and seen it at this level. This may have been the young OC’s breakout game we’ve been looking for, as much as it was Noah Fant’s. - Jeff Essary
A lot of the focus (rightly so) will be on Brandon Allens' first NFL win, but this was an absolute statement game by Rich Scangarello.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) November 4, 2019
Called a great game, kept the young QB comfortable, involved key playmakers, and kept the defense on their heels with misdirection/play action.
Allen showed what capable quarterback play does for the Broncos. What makes it even more impressive is it was his first NFL start. As I told Adam on the MHR Radio Podcast, the young quarterback played with massive poise, was smart with his decisions, didn’t do too much, and was exactly what Denver needed. In other words, the anti-Joe Flacco. Allen was 12-for-20 passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He also had five rushes for 13 yards. I have no qualms calling this showing by Allen “elite.” - Ian St. Clair
There are some who were already calling Noah Fant a bust halfway through his first season. He came into the game with five drops on 33 targets only one big play through 8 games. That all changed on Sunday when he had when he was targeted four times and had three big catches. The biggest was the 75-yard catch and run where he showed the world why the Broncos drafted him in the first round. He showed his size/strength by breaking two tackles and his speed by outracing the entire Browns defense down the sidelines for the TD. - Joe Mahoney
Something tells me Noah Fant isn't a bust #Broncos Country. Just a hunch. pic.twitter.com/3gbsYEabnq— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 3, 2019
With six solo tackles, including two for a loss and a safety blitz on 3rd-and-1, Justin Simmons came up big for the secondary once again. VIc Fangio’s defense certainly separates mediocre players from great players, and so far, Simmons is hanging out in the “great players” column under Fangio’s system. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Right before Justin Simmons’ blitz in the fourth quarter, it looked like Vic Fangio was yelling for Simmons to get down to the line of scrimmage.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) November 4, 2019
Was the first time they’ve called that play this year. Fangio went up to Simmons in the locker room after, still pumped about it. pic.twitter.com/RtSQaUGG21
Looking at Phillip Lindsay’s stats might be a bit surprising. He had zero catches, and only rushed the ball nine times. He certainly made the most of those nine carries, rushing for 92 yards and a score. His touchdown came on a lightning quick burst behind Andy Janovich as he broke through a hole and was gone in a flash. His speed and quickness are essential to the Broncos game plane each week, but more than that, he is their most trusted offensive asset right now. At the end of the game, when a first down was needed to ice the game, it was Lindsay in the wildcat formation who took the snap and sealed the victory. - Adam Malnati
Phillip Lindsay with a huge run for the #Broncos touchdown!!!! pic.twitter.com/c3oWxRo5Lq— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 3, 2019
Simply put, Davontae Harris came up with the two biggest pass deflections of the game. Denver doesn’t win without him. It’s hard to believe the Bengals let him go, but more and more he’s looking like a real gem for Vic Fangio. - Joe Rowles
Sutton had his second lowest output of the year at just five catches for 56 yards, but he took one of those receptions and show us all why he is absolutely a top tier wide receiver in this league in just his second season. That catch below was crazy good at every level.
He has nearly surpassed his rookie season output with 44 catches for 692 yards and four touchdowns with seven games still yet to play. He currently ranks eighth in yards despite the offensive woes the Broncos have had. That’s a Pro Bowl year already if you ask me. - Tim Lynch
Touchdown #Broncos!!!!! pic.twitter.com/mc66e6YjEe— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 3, 2019
Broncos fans have been clamoring for a 1st round inside linebacker for years. And then with rookie 1st round TE Noah Fant enduring some (highly predictable and utterly routine) early season struggles, the angst over the missed opportunity to draft Devin Bush was getting a bit obnoxious. But it’s quieted down in recent weeks, and the reason why is a guy whose rise is already one of the great success stories of the Broncos’ 2019 season.
Alexander Johnson needed a year to really make it back to football shape, mentally and physically. But he put in the work and, when opportunity knocked, Johnson smashed the door down. Nick Chubb represented the toughest test of the Broncos’ excellent run defense in weeks, and Johnson was the guy who stepped up and shined brightest against one of the league’s toughest backs. With 13 combined tackles (6 solo, 7 assists), he was the team leader in tackles and was in on nearly 20% of the Broncos’ stops. - Taylor Kothe