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9 winners, 3 losers from the Broncos last-second win over the Chargers

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Drew Lock-to-Courtland Sutton: That’s something Broncos Country could get used to hearing in the years to come.

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It’s about time.

The Denver Broncos finally won a close game, and it’s damn nice for a change. Given how the rest of the season has unfolded in similar situations, you almost expected it to go a different direction. Call it PTSD. Thankfully, the Broncos reversed the tide and came away with the 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Anything that makes Philip Rivers cry and whine is a great occasion.

Per the usual, I’m bound to forget someone, so please mention them in the comments.

Winners

Drew Lock

When you get a win in your first-career NFL start, you make the list. The rookie quarterback played with poise, consistently went through his reads and made some great throws. Lock also had his “rookie” moments, but there weren’t many, and that’s what’s promising. The struggles will come, but this was a good first start. The coaches didn’t do him or the offense any favors with the conservative playcalling from the second quarter until the final pass, but that’s out of his control. It’s only one game, but Lock looks like he belongs. I loved the aggressive play call to get the pass interference to get into field goal range, so kudos to Vic Fangio (Rich Scangarello apparently wanted to take a knee). Lock was 18-of-28 passing for 134 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Needless to say, the passes he connected on is, hopefully, something we see for the next several years. Speaking of which ...

Courtland Sutton

Lock-to-Sutton ... yes, please. Sutton is a special player, and he’s only going to get better. He finished with four catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. And don’t forget the pass interference he drew on Casey Hayward. Here’s where it gets even more exciting. Sutton told the media that the first touchdown wasn’t called in the huddle. Lock told his receiver to run a fade. A rookie quarterback changing the play in his first start? Yes, please.

“I was like ‘OK (big smile), bet,” Sutton told the media. “I knew Drew had some swag in him. It was great to go out there and see him play with confidence. The guy works his butt off and is deserving of whatever comes to him in the future.”

Phillip Lindsay

Anytime he gets the ball in his hands, he’s capable of breaking one loose. There were a couple of times that happened on Sunday. As I’ve said before, I love the way he plays. Lindsay finished with 17 carries for 58 yards.

Denver’s offensive line

Tip of the cap to the big guys up front, they didn’t give up one sack. Against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, that’s a remarkable accomplishment. Some of the credit goes to Lock for not holding the ball too long or getting out of the pocket, but the line did a great job.

Alexander Johnson

The “Dino” is a beast. The Broncos middle linebacker was all over the field for the defense on Sunday. Johnson had nine tackles (three solo) and two tackles for loss. I’ll add Todd Davis in here as an honorable mention. He led Denver with 10 tackles (four solo) and one pass defended.

Derek Wolfe

With his two sacks, the veteran defensive lineman has seven for the season and a new career-high. Before his elbow injury, Wolfe was having an incredible game. On top of his two sacks, he had five tackles (two solo), two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits.

Dre’Mont Jones

The play the rookie defensive lineman made on his first-career interception was pretty good. I could go on and on with the defensive players for the “winners” list, like Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson (to name a few), but I don’t want this to get carried away.

Brandon McManus

McMoney delivered the game-winning field goal for Denver. Here’s hoping that eased his pissed-offness at the end of the first half. McManus was 3-for-3 with a long of 53 yards.

The Broncos

Denver is no longer in the basement of the AFC West. Hey, you take good news when you get it.

Losers

Rich Scangarello

The play calling from the second half on was beyond conservative and it didn’t do his rookie quarterback any favors. If that wasn’t enough, he wanted to take a knee at the end of the game, and, thankfully, Fangio overruled him.

DaeSean Hamilton

What a brutal drop that fortunately didn’t cost his team. But for a guy who wants more action, that’s not the way to earn it.

Devontae Booker

I was starting to wonder if he was still on the roster, and then he gave everyone a painful reminder that, yes, he is. After Booker’s roughing the punter penalty, he won’t get the benefit of the doubt much longer.

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