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The Broncos use returning players to grab the win

But the defense stole the show.

The return of Drew Lock. It brought a little bit of Joy to Broncos Country. And, as I told Ian on the MHR Radio Podcast, it brought a great final score, 18-12.

It also brought some joy to Tim Patrick, who hauled in 4 of his 8 targets for 101 yards. Albert Okwuegbunam enjoyed the return of his former college teammate, as he saw 6 targets in his first game in the NFL.

Sunday marked the return of Phillip Lindsay, who was back from his turf toe injury. He contributed 23 rushes for 101 yards.

Here’s the thing, the offense was solid, but couldn’t finish. The New England Patriots allowed Lock and the offense to march up and down the field, but never gave up a touchdown. If it hadn’t been for Brandon McManus, the outcome would have been much different.

But don’t let that bother you. Lock was horribly inefficient. He ended up throwing 2 bad picks. Tim Patrick let him down on one, and Lock just made a bad throw on the other. Albert O. dropped two potential TD passes. The play calling was probably a little too aggressive.

I’m fine with that. We also saw the defense step up and secure the win for Denver. Bradley Chubb had a sack and forced fumble. Michael Ojemudia had two forced fumbles. Shelby Harris had 2 passes tipped at the line, resulting in a DeShawn Williams interception early on. Anthony Chickillo had a big sack, and Malik Reed added two more. Bryce Callahan’s pick stopped a Patriot drive before it ever started.

That interception was caused by Justin Simmons tipping the pass. It kind of felt like a return for Simmons, too. He has not been as good in 2020 as many had hoped he would be. The talent is there, but the results weren’t.

That changed in Foxboro. Simmons had 8 tackles, and recovered one of the OJ forced fumbles to go along with his big tipped pass that fluttered into Callahan’s hands. He looked every bit the defensive leader that has been missing to this point.

Cam Newton never looked comfortable. The Patriots offense just couldn’t get into a rhythm. The defense showed up in force. It was fun to watch.

Are there kinks to work out? Obviously. Will they struggle in Week 7, and beyond? Yup. Should we still be excited? Absolutely.

The playoffs aren’t out of the question. For a franchise that was thinking about the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes just a couple weeks ago, things move pretty fast around here, and changes can occur in the amount of time it takes McManus to his another 50 yard field goal.