Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos pulled the improbable.
We don’t need to recount how and why they did it. That’s now in the past, and we’ve gone through it a lot since Sunday.
The focus now turns to the Atlanta Falcons (2-6). Can the Broncos (3-4) build off this win and take the next step in their development? It would certainly help if Denver can send some of that rediscovered Mile High Magic to the south on Sunday.
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I discussed our keys to the game and players to watch.
Denver: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (326.9 yards per game), 17th in rushing (112.9), 25th in passing (214.0), 27th in scoring offense (21.0 points per game).
Atlanta: Sixth in overall offense (401.0 yards per game), 19th in rushing (108.6), second in passing (292.4), tied for 13th in scoring offense (26.1 points per game).
Denver: Seventeenth in overall in defense (360.0 yards per game), 18th in rushing defense (123.4), 16th in passing defense (236.6), 17th in scoring defense (26.1 points per game).
Atlanta Twenty-eighth in overall defense (410.6 yards per game), sixth in rushing defense (99.3), 31st in passing defense (331.4), 22nd in scoring defense (25.7 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Fast start for the Broncos
Whether on offense or defense, Denver needs to start its game with the Falcons the way it ended the win over the Los Angeles Chargers. We may not get any credible evidence this isn’t a mirage, but that’s beside the point. Lock and the Broncos are a young team learning how to win. They had a remarkable win last Sunday. Now build off of it. Take the next step by playing a full game. A fast start is the best way to do that. — Ian St. Clair
Return of Graham Glasgow?
Is Glasgow back for this game? If so, that should help. Austin Schlottmann was a dumpster fire last game. — Joe Mahoney
Get Phillip Lindsay involved more. We know that Lindsay’s wrist injury hampered his pass catching last year, and we’ve heard about Lindsay working to improve his receiving skills in the offseason. Let’s see Pat Shurmur trust him more, and get the ball in his hands more often — both by the run and the pass. No. 30 is arguably the best offensive player on Denver’s roster, and he’s a big play waiting to happen. The dude has four plays of 20+ yards on the season vs just two for Melvin Gordon, and Gordon has played 173 more snaps. Injury has played a role so far, but with both guys now healthy there’s little justification for Gordon getting the bulk of the touches when his YPC is pedestrian while Lindsay’s leads the league. — Taylor Kothe
Better offensive game plan
Shurmur needs to do things that will allow for the offense to find success early in the game. Lock needs to be put in a position to make good throws and lead the offense effectively and efficiently. Play action. Two tight end sets. Running the ball well. All big parts of making Lock a better QB. — Adam Malnati