There was some good.
There was some bad.
So it goes for the 2020 Denver Broncos. Sunday’s 34-27 loss to the host Atlanta Falcons followed that same script. As Joe Rowles said in his things we learned piece, Broncos fans will find evidence that supports their beliefs — positive or negative. If you want to feel encouraged, you will. If you want to feel the doom and gloom, you will.
As Adam Malnati and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, one thing is clear: Denver has to figure out what it’s doing in the fourth quarter on offense and do that at the start of its games. On Sunday, the Broncos (3-5) outscored Atlanta (3-6) 21-7 in the fourth quarter.
Per the usual, I’m bound to forget someone, leave them off or put them in the wrong category, so please mention them in the comments.
Regardless of how you feel about the outcome, the rookie receiver should elicit excitement. Jeudy is going to be a helluva player in the NFL. And when Denver gets Courtland Sutton back? Oh, boy. Jeudy finished with a game-high 125 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown.
The rookie receiver makes the list for the second week in a row. I really liked how Hamler played and what he brought to the Broncos offense. He also did a good job as a returner. Hamler finished with six catches for 75 yards.
You get a touchdown, you make the list. Patrick had four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown.
The same rule applies for turnovers, and Simmons created the lone turnover for Denver’s defense. He also finished with five tackles (four solo).
Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson
Both of the Broncos middle linebackers did their job on Sunday, keeping the Falcons running game in check. Jewell led Denver with 10 tackles (nine solo) and one tackle for loss. Johnson finished with eight tackles (five solo).
Speaking of doing your job, the Broncos punter did his. Martin had five punts for an average of 45 yards. Of those five punts, four were inside the 20-yard line. Martin also had a long of 64 yards. Denver finally found a punter.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. McMoney makes the winners list.
This is probably the most fair scenario after Sunday. I loved the way he played and responded in the fourth quarter to give his team a chance. Lock and the Broncos didn’t give up. Aside from his touchdown passes (two), his 10-yard touchdown run proves that. He sacrificed himself for the team, and his teammates will remember that. As noted at the top, the goal now is for Pat Shurmur and his offensive coaches to figure out how to put the offense in a position to have the fourth quarter success at the start of games. We knew there would be ups and downs with Lock and this young offense. We knew that Lock would struggle and have his moments where he looks bad (some of the overthrows and his pick). The way he played and responded in the fourth quarter is what l like and it could pay off in the future. Lock was 25-of-48 passing for 313 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Lock also led Denver with 47 yards rushing on seven carries.
Whoever decided to not keep De’Vante Bausby
After what we saw out of the secondary on Sunday, that pretty much says it all.
The slow starts aren’t entirely his fault, but he’s the offensive coordinator. In the words of the hilarious show on Hulu called “Letterkenny:” “Figure it out.”
Yes, the Broncos secondary was in an uphill battle before the game even started, but as good as the rush defense was, the pass defense was just as horrible. So in a sense, the Falcons didn’t need to bother running the football. Matt Ryan was 25-for-35 passing and was only sacked twice.
Denver’s leading edge rusher was invisible on Sunday. It’s never good when Chubb disappears.