At the beginning of the season, Week 15 didn’t seem as daunting as it does today when the 10-3 red hot Buffalo Bills roll into Denver to take on our mildly trending upward Broncos.
And even though our ultimate fan today is not predicting the win, he’s not ruling it out either. So I’ll give him a pass. Plus, I met KingBronco58 a few years ago during the Raiders game at Mile High and can attest to his solid belief in the Orange and Blue!
No matter the W-L outcome of today’s game, the important thing for Broncos Country will be watching if the offense can build on the momentum it started last week against a weaker - but not insignificant - defense. And with the Broncos relying on a couple cornerbacks pretty far down on the depth chart (and no room for another injury), the onus will fall on the offense to keep the Broncos competitive.
But hey, that’s why we love to watch this game - the potential for some Mile High Magic to happen!
Week 15: Bills at Broncos
MHR - The Panthers game brought two league-wide awards for Denver - Air Player of the Week for Drew Lock and AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Diontae Spencer. Not a bad game, and it came with a win. What were your thoughts about that victory, knowing that the Panthers weren’t at full strength.
KingBronco58: It was the most complete game we’ve seen this team put together this season. The offense was clicking on all cylinders, and the defense played solid football even down three cornerbacks. It was nice to see special teams contribute something positive to the game, though seeing McManus miss extra points was rough. The Panthers aren’t a great team, but hopefully we are able to carry the momentum over to the Bills.
MHR - The Broncos still have a chance to finish with an 8-8 record, the first time to not have a losing season in a while. Although the odds are against Denver in this feat, what would it mean if this team, this season in particular, could finish at .500? And what does it mean if it doesn’t?
KingBronco58: Closing the season on a four-game win streak would be huge. It would indicate the offense was finally in sync. Most importantly finishing 8-8 guarantees the coaching staff and Lock another year to build chemistry and see if the team does better. The impacts of not finishing 8-8 are really tied to how the team plays the final three weeks. If it looks like the team is crawling to the finish line, it may spell the end of Lock, Elway and Fangio.
MHR - Broncos Country just loves to hate on its QBs. What are your thoughts on Drew Lock’s game last week? How much of that should be praised as improvement and how much should be chalked up as “don’t get excited, it’s just one game”?
KingBronco58: I was really optimistic about Drew Lock during the offseason. After the way this season has gone, I was among the group that had written Lock off as a lost cause. Last week was among the few times Drew looked like an NFL QB and put together a great performance. I’m still in wait-and-see mode on Lock. Last week he did not lock onto his first read and stood tall in the pocket. If he is able to show that development for the remaining three weeks, I don’t see how you don’t roll with him in 2021, especially since we won’t be in position to draft Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. Fingers crossed he develops like Josh Allen, and figures out how to play QB in the league.
MHR - Last week Calvin Anderson had to come in for Garett Bolles on the fly and he earned some strong kudos from Pat Shurmur. And Shurmur said although he’s “not supposed to have favorites,” he really likes Netane Muti and how he played subbing in for Graham Glasgow. Even though Bolles is back and Glasgow likely plays, what does this say about the future of the offensive line’s strength?
KingBronco58: I think it’s about time our O-Line could be considered a strength. Lloyd Cushenberry should only get better with more playing time. The glaring weakness is at RT. I’m not sold that Ju’Wuan James is passionate about football and our solution at RT. I hope we can find a permanent solution there in the 2021 draft.
MHR - Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler are getting a lot of deserved attention, particularly after last week. Noah Fant has major talent and Tim Patrick is quietly (or not so quietly) putting together an incredible season. And we haven’t even had Courtland Sutton available to add in this mix. How strong is this receiving corps and what could it be like next year at full strength?
KingBronco58: I think this receiving corps is gonna be a difference-maker next year once everyone is healthy. A defense can’t double team everybody, and talent wise at the skill positions I think we are able to compete with the best of the best. However, if Lock doesn’t improve and stop locking on his first read, it won’t matter how talented our receiving corps is.
MHR - How important is it that the Broncos utilize their rushing attack this weekend, and how can Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon have success against this Bills defense that has struggled against the run?
KingBronco58: One of the few things Lock has done well this season and better than most quarterbacks in the league is the play action pass. If Lock is gonna have a good game, it relies on the run game getting started. Getting the run game going helps the offense chew clock and grind out long drives like they did last week. If the run game doesn’t get going early, expect to see many three-and-out drives.
MHR - Noah Fant will be back in the line-up but Nick Vannett and Troy Fumagalli filled in nicely last week for him. Do you expect Lock and Shurmur to dial up even more plays to the tight ends this week?
KingBronco58: I don’t think we see more plays to the tight end this week. Even with Fant out Vannett and Fumagali had really good games and had plenty of looks. I think we see a handful of plays to Fant to make sure he is involved in the game plan. Having Vannett and Fumagalli play well last week forces the defense to respect them as legitimate receiving options.
MHR - The Broncos defense has been able to maintain a strong presence in the red zone and hold many teams to just field goals instead of touchdowns. But now with Josh Allen on deck and Broncos down to their last cornerbacks on the roster (creating a need to sign a new one from another team just to have an extra in case of injury), can this trend continue?
KingBronco58: I’m not sure it will. Josh Allen is a dual threat QB and Stefon Diggs is a big-time threat. I don’t expect a secondary of backups to be able to play well enough to keep that duo out of the red zone. Fangio has shown he can do well even with a lack of talent, so I trust he should be able to come up with something for the defense to be competitive.
MHR - Michael Ojemudia could end up defending Stefon Diggs. How well do you think this rookie corner - who has had to be baptized by fire this season - can hold up?
KingBronco58: Well, I’m glad I’m not Ojemudia since he has a tough task in front of him this week. Diggs hasn’t lost a step since leaving the Vikings and gets the targets he desperately craved. I think we see Ojemudia get torched plenty of times when he’s matched up with Diggs. I think I’d rather see Bausby line up against Diggs, since he is the most experienced healthy corner on the roster right now.
MHR - Josh Allen is tough to defend, easily being able to beat teams with either his arm or his legs. Can Vic Fangio keep using pressure effectively to get Allen off balance and make him miss - and give the secondary a lighter load?
KingBronco58: While pressure has been effective this season I’m not sure it will help against Allen. Typically blitzing opens up an opportunity for the QB to scramble. I think it’s more important for the Broncos to play tight coverage and maintain contain. If Allen can’t escape the pocket, he won’t be as effective as he could be outside.
MHR - Earlier this week Drew Lock was asked about Bills’ cornerback Tre’Davious White and instead of offering PR-like compliments, Lock candidly gave him props but also noted he wasn’t scared to throw right him this week: “White is an extremely talented corner, but it’s not going to be something that scares you off a throw or scares you off a matchup.” Is White going to be using that comment to make life hard for one of the Broncos’ speedsters this Saturday? Who wins those matchups?
KingBronco58: I think every cornerback in this league tries to make life hard for the opposing wide receiver. It’s important that Lock keeps every member of the Bills secondary honest. So if he has a read on White he likes, I hope he takes his shot. I think White is more talented than the majority of our WRs. I think it’ll be a toss up, with Patrick/Jeudy/Hamler winning a handful of battles and White winning the others.
MHR - Name a player on offense and defense that has really stood out to you so far this season and why.
KingBronco58: On offense I’m gonna cheat and name two, Garrett Bolles and Tim Patrick. Bolles is having a standout year when everyone including myself was ready to give up on him. Tim Patrick has always been a mediocre WR, but this year he has truly transformed into legitimate WR1/2. On defense Simmons is an obvious answer, but I’ll go with Malik Reed. Reed has put together a pretty solid season with the opportunity he has earned. I have high hopes for Reed and hope he’s our second-coming of Shaq Barrett.
MHR - One more because your handle is in honor of Von Miller. Miller has said he wants to play this season. Would you let him if you were the head coach? Do you believe Miller will remain a Bronco next season? Do you want him to? ;)
KingBronco58: As much as I would love to see Miller play this year, this team isn’t a playoff team and it isn’t worth risking his health for him to get on the field this year. Regarding Von remaining a Bronco I think it really depends on how this team finishes. If the team finishes 5-11, I think he becomes a cap casualty. If the team finishes strong, and Elway and company believe Von would make a difference next year he will stick around. Personally, I hope Von sticks around so we can see a second year of the Von-Chubb duo.
Stats for Drew Lock? 18/28 268 yard 2 TDs 1 INT
Stats for each Broncos RB? Gordon 17 carries 83 yards; Lindsay 14 carries, 63 yards
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each Broncos’ receiver? Patrick 5 rec, 72 yards, 1 TD; Jeudy 3 rec, 47 yards; Hamler 4 rec, 56 yards; Fant 4 rec, 37 yards, 1 TD
Longest FG for Russolino/McManus? 37 yards
Number of sacks to Lock? 2 sacks
Number of sacks to Josh Allen? 3 sacks
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alexander Johnson
Who gets the most sacks? Jeremiah Attoachu
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1
How many penalties will the refs get wrong? 2
Final Score? I’m a realist and hate to do this, but the Bills are a good team. Broncos lose, 17-28
Favorite Broncos game EVER? Peyton Manning’s 24-point comeback against the Chargers in 2012
Team you hate to lose to the most? Raiders and Chiefs
Non AFC West team you hate to lose to the most? Patriots
Team you love to beat? Raiders and Patriots
What percent confidence do you have that the Broncos will beat the Chargers and Raiders on their second outing this season? 67%
Favorite time Broncos were the underdog and won? I think they were underdogs during the Chargers game earlier this season
After the Bills, which game is tougher - Chargers or Raiders? Chargers
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Lindsay, graduated CU the same year as me
Favorite Broncos player of all time? Peyton Manning
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Jerry Jeudy
Superstitions on game day? Always sit on the same spot on the couch, only move if the game is going poorly
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Cris Collinsworth
Favorite sports cliche? “On any given Sunday”
Favorite sports movie? Rudy
Favorite helmet design? The color rush helmets with the Denver D
Favorite Broncos uniform combo? Orange jerseys and white pants
How did you become a Broncos fan?
I became a fan during the Josh McDaniels era. The Broncos were off to a fast start and they were the hometown team. No one in my family watches sports so I ended up teaching myself the game and watching the Broncos after they captured my interest. Haven’t missed a game in 10 years since becoming a fan.
In KingBronco58’s 10-year fan career, which losing season would you say was the HARDEST to remain a fan?
This poll is closed
Stop it. It’s never HARD to be a fan of the Broncos.