Somehow, with less than 10 seconds to go in the game, the Denver Broncos found a way to put themselves in position for a dramatic game-winning field goal for the 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. In a season where the Broncos had lost four games in the final minute, it was as unexpected as it was incredible.
Drew Lock made his first start and led the team to victory. He started out red hot, but had to come out of a two quarter lull in the fourth quarter to keep the game close enough for something to happen. Something did happen and for a change it was good.
We hand out game balls after a win, so let’s get to it!
I always thought McManus was a quiet, mild mannered guy, but on Sunday he showed a fiery passion and desire that I didn’t know he had. It started near halftime when Vic Fangio decided to forego a record-breaking field goal attempt. McManus was furious and even went out during halftime to kick one to prove to Fangio he made a mistake.
“Of course it is,” McManus said of his halftime kicking was a message to Fangio. “Like I said, I know I can make the kick, and this is a storied game that I grew up watching. It was a dream of mine to play in this league and if I was able to have my name badge on the longest field goal in NFL history, I would love that. That’s why I would have loved to kick that attempt.”
McManus out here to prove the coaching staff wrong pic.twitter.com/9rLWF4qTUr— Dan Tanner (@DanTanner091) December 1, 2019
He missed out on making history, but in the second half he was needed to ensure the Broncos had a chance to win the game. First, he nailed a 52-yard field goal and then again with the game-winner. McManus gets my game ball for this week. - Tim Lynch
Welcome to Drewcember, Broncos Country. The Drew Train is still boarding, so lock in your seats now. There is bound to be some bumpy patches along the way, but it’ll remain exciting. In all seriousness, Lock looked and played like he belongs. He played with poise, confidence, went through his progressions and made good decisions. He also flashed that arm we’ve heard about with some great throws (his two touchdown passes), but also didn’t have too many of those “rookie” mistakes.
Lock’s moxy was exhibited when he changed the call on the first touchdown pass before even seeing the defense. It’s also clear his teammates want to play for/with him and he plays for them. The struggles will come. It’s inevitable. But this a great start. The aspect that excites me the most is Lock knows that. He wants to be great, and the only way to make that happen is to put in the work. All aboard the Drew Train, Broncos Country. Drew! Drew! - Ian St. Clair
This game ends very differently if Courtland Sutton wasn’t on the field. The Broncos’ rising star started the day off with one of the best touchdown catches the NFL has seen this season, and followed it up by getting wide open for an easy TD catch later in the 1st quarter. Sutton’s second 2-TD game of the season rounded out with another two catches and 74 total yards, including the deep shot Lock hurtled his way to end the 1st half of play.
But that wasn’t enough for Sutton, with the wideout playing his role perfectly on the final offensive play of the game despite not catching the ball. Going deep down the sideline and shadowed by the Bolts’ Casey Hayward, Lock’s long shot to Sutton drew Hayward into the pass interference that put the Broncos in position to kick the last second field goal for the win. If there was one consistent theme for a very inconsistent offense this Sunday, it was that Sutton was Drew Lock’s go-to guy when it was time to serve up a big play. - Taylor Kothe
Derek Wolfe was all over the field for the Denver Broncos. He harassed Philip Rivers through the game, registering two sacks. This brought his season total to seven, and set his career high. Unfortunately, he also ended the game with an apparent elbow dislocation. In what could be his last game in Denver, Wolf deserves a big time thank you, Mile High Salute, and at minimum an MHR game ball. - Adam Malnati
Alexander Johnson was one of three Broncos to earn a game ball from Vic Fangio - and those don’t come easy. Fighting through a sore knee, the “dino” came to play, registering nine total tackles, including two for critical losses. He deserves a game ball and a Pro Bowl vote. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
In-game decision making, particularly end of half and end of game management, is typically one of the harder things for first time head coaches. It was one of the things that told us early on that Vance Joseph was clearly in over his head. Fangio certainly hasn’t been perfect in this area, but showed some absolute guts yesterday making the call to go for a big play with less than 10 seconds when everyone assumed they would take a knee.
Those kind of decisions are what help teams turn close losses into close wins, and that’s what the NFL is all about. Good teams find ways to win games. Kudos to Fangio for continuing to show that he has what it takes to help get this team back to winning games. - Jeff Essary