In true post Super Bowl 50 fashion, the Broncos have concluded another mid season win to help keep the fans hopes up. It was a game that I thought they would win at the start of the season as did most Broncos analysts.
The most encouraging thing to me in this game was that we saw our pass rush come to life. Our offense also finally got some semblance of competency and it made all the difference to how the team performed overall.
Isn’t it amazing what a decently coached defense can do if you don’t make them play ⅔ of the snaps in the game? Honestly, the most frustrating part of this season to me has been not getting a real insight into the defense due to the vast amounts of injuries and the lopsided time of possession they have been forced to play.
Malik Reed showed a great pass rush to get a sack in the first half. He got leverage on his guy and worked through him to get to the quarterback. Later in the 2nd quarter he looped underneath the blockers and made a big time TFL. On the next play he rushed the QB’s throw to end the drive. He did his best Von Miller impression with 1 ½ sacks, 2 TFL, and 3 QHs on the day. His game was absolutely phenomenal.
Bradley Chubb was all over the place in the 1st half. He disrupted several plays that won’t show up on the stat sheet. In the 2nd half he waits to set up a stunt and makes a big sack on 3rd down. He ended the day with a TFL and a QH.
We also have to praised the work of DeShawn Williams in this game. He really shined in the normal Shelby Harris role with 2 sacks, 2 TFL, and 2 QHs. Having inside pressure is a huge benefit for our defense and it was a big reason that many of the stunts were working as the game wore on.
Justin Simmons had another monster game showing he’s a big time star for this defense. He iced the game with an interception and showed exceptional pass coverage skill from the free safety position the whole day.
What surprised me in this game was how much A.J. Bouye got picked on by a rookie QB. It worked, but what I’ll say for Bouye’s benefit is that most of the catches thrown on him were absolutely perfect passes by the QB. Bouye was constantly on the hip of his receiver and in position to defend.
The key to this offense looking competent was the use of the run game. As cliche as it sounds, the Broncos had a very balanced attack with two 80 yard rushers averaging over 5 yards per carry. This has to be the formula for this team moving forward if they want to have some semblance of a winning season. Pat Shurmur dialing up pass after pass with a QB who looks to be 2 solid years of work from being a decent NFL QB is not a formula for winning.
Drew Lock comes out in this game and promptly continues to show everyone with two connected brain cells that he is absolutely horrible at actual NFL football. Thankfully, his first INT was the last of the day with the rest of his bad throws just being overthrows against one-on-ones.
At the end of the day, the Denver Broncos football team won a game in spite of the quarterback play, not because of it. Dude even sucked at throwing the ball out of bounds on the last play for crying out loud.
Man, I loved what I saw from the offensive line in this game. The biggest thing that stuck out for me was seeing the line playing power concepts instead of zone. They pulled the center, they pulled the guard, they pulled the tackle. Everything they did worked well pretty consistently.
Both Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon had solid days running the ball in the balanced attack the Broncos brought on Sunday. This tandem needs this kind of balance moving forward with even numbers of carries for each. Each of them getting around 15 carries seems darn near perfect to me.
It is always good to see the Broncos have success. But they need a heck of a lot more to wash the taste of terrible away from what has been most of the season playing terrible football. Draftnik fans are going to lament the loss in draft position this win represents (and they probably aren’t wrong). Fanatic fans are going to think Drew Lock is starting his climb and we’re headed for a wild card birth.
The No Bull truth is that this game didn’t tell us much of anything useful about this Broncos team. They played a mediocre team with a rookie QB who couldn’t deal with a well coached defense. Our QB got out of his own way was the best thing I can say about the win. Will it continue next week? Can he keep from tossing the ball into triple coverage? Will he stop staring down his first read for greater than 80% of his pass attempts? I’m looking forward to finding out next week.