The Denver Broncos surprisingly upset the heavily favored New England Patriots on the road in Week 6. The game was a lot closer than it needed to be as every single one of the Broncos offensive scoring drives ended in a field goal. Six of them.
With two wins in a row under their belt, the Broncos have turned the corner a bit after that 0-3 start to the season. They have a critical AFC West opponent coming up in Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. If they can pull out an upset win there, then we can start to talk about a real turnaround here.
For this week, we had a lot of game balls to hand out. Here is who got the nod from our Mile High Report staff.
The Broncos kicker was, once again, McMoney on Sunday. Not only was McManus 6-for-6 on his field goals, he’s now tied with Justin Tucker (six) for the most games in NFL history with multiple 50-plus yard field goals. As others have noted, if McManus keeps this up, he’s headed for the Broncos Ring of Fame. - Ian St. Clair
Vic Fangio & Ed Donatell
This defense came to play today forcing 3 turnovers and notching 3 sacks. Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell have typically been one of the least blitzing teams in the league over the last few years, but they’ve had to adapt with Von Miller out and have done so by sending additional LBs to generate a pass rush.
Fangio sent the house at Cam Newton all day and the backend held up well in coverage. I’m super impressed with the coaching pivot we’ve seen from the Broncos over the last two weeks to adjust the scheme to the talent they have. - Jeff Essary
Phillip Lindsay’s return to the field came at the perfect time. With Melvin Gordon sidelined by strep throat, Lindsay was the lead back for the Broncos. The offense may have sputtered in the red zone, but between the 20s they moved the ball very well. Lindsay was a huge part of that, rushing 23 times for 101 yards. He was consistent, and effective throughout the game. It was a solid return that helped Denver to a big win in Foxboro. - Adam Malnati
With back-to-back 100 yard games, Tim Patrick has begun to show he is a bonafide NFL starter and capable of filling the void left by Courtland Sutton in 2020. I’m already thinking ahead to 2021 with the idea of Sutton, Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy on the field along with Noah Fant. That is going to be quite the dynamic aerial unit. Drew Lock made all of the throws on Sunday, but hopefully we can see them start coming down with a few in the end zone next week. - Tim Lynch
Drew Lock is back baby. pic.twitter.com/bs38bJ0Eb9— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
Sometimes the right play at the right time makes all the difference. When a bad playcall and a bad decision turned a pass into what was more or less an arm-powered punt, the Patriots were gifted a wonderful last shot at completing their comeback and winning the game. They rolled down the field, building momentum until they threatened the Broncos’ red zone... and then Malik Reed had his say. His 6 yard sack of Cam Newton to set up 3rd & 16 at the Broncos 30 staggered New England’s momentum, and Newton & company couldn’t recover. It’ll be Reed’s signature play from the game, but in a contest that included another sack, three other QB hits, and two tackles for a loss, it was far from the only play he made. With Von Miller still out for weeks to come, having guys like Reed step up and do the difference-maker thing is crucial to this Broncos season. - Taylor Kothe
Shelby Harris was our best defensive lineman this game like he has been for most of the season. He had three tackles (two solo), but his biggest contribution came in the form of his two PBU, one of which ended up in the mitts of DeShawn Williams. His two passes defended tied him for the team lead with Bryce Callahan. He was also an integral part of the rush defense which held the Patriot RBs to 41 yards on 15 carries. - Joe Mahoney
Shelby Harris bats a pass back to the #Broncos! pic.twitter.com/7T9EaujdDl— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
Drew Lock was the only QB who could give them a shot to beat the Patriots. On first glance it sure looked like the gameplan called for Lock to stand in the pocket and hit deep shots in order to flip the field. Albert O and DaeSean Hamilton’s drops didn’t help him and that second interception was simply baffling, but Lock found ways to move the ball enough to get the Broncos in scoring range time and again. - Joe Rowles
Michael Ojemudia held it down again on the outside as a starting cornerback for the Denver Broncos. He forced two fumbles in the game and had a pass defense. While the cornerbacks for the Broncos all had a great day, him doing it as a rookie shows what a great young player he is who is week by week getting better. - Sadaraine
O.J. with a nice punch to force the fumble. pic.twitter.com/hQXap2Fltn— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 18, 2020
Surprised no claimed Justin Simmons. Let’s talk about that. He played what was probably his best game of the season. He recovered a fumble. He caused an interception. He had 8 tackles. He was everywhere. He was the guy everyone in Broncos Country thought he was going to be all year. It’s been a long time coming, but it was nice to see him be the defensive leader that he needs to be for this team to succeed. - Adam Malnati