Preseason football is a time when you really have to search for things to get excited about. Most of the time fans are just hoping starters don’t get injured in the limited time they are actually playing int he game. Every once in a while something pops out, and makes everyone smile. When the Broncos played the 49ers in their second preseason game, it happened. In fact, it happened twice.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio post game recap (ApplePodcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher), two players wrecked the game on defense for the Broncos. Bradley Chubb and Shelby Harris destroyed everything that Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo wanted to do on offense. The stamp they put on the game was shaped a lot boot mark.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their impact was how it seemed to be happening in tandem. On Garoppolo’s first throw Harris batted it down. Watching the replay shows Chubb bearing down on him up the middle. On his next throw Chubb pressured him into a bad throw resulting in a Isaac Yiadom interception. Who was following close behind? Shelby Harris.
Harris batted Garoppolo’s 3rd pass at the line (Chubb was in coverage). I can just imagine the nightmares Jimmy will have. On his 4th throw, Chubb bull rushed and got to the backside, forcing a throw from Garoppolo that was almost picked off and taken back for a touchdown.
Garoppolo’s sixth throw saw Chubb make a move to the inside. He looked like he had a shot at a sack, but the ball was dumped off to Matt Breida who looked like he had space to run. Space that was quickly eliminated by a shoestring tackle by ... Shelby Harris.
In 6 throws, Harris and Chubb were menacing on 5 of them (Chris Harris Jr. forced a bad throw on the 5th throw). Talk about making an impact on defense. And for good measure, Bradley Chubb added a strip sack of CJ Beathard on a 3rd and 8 in the first minute of the second quarter.
The game was far from over at that point, but if there was one big takeaway from the Broncos preseason game against the 49ers it was this; Bradley Chubb and Shelby Harris are for real. Denver’s defense is going to be good in 2019. Sneaky good, and scary good.