After four consecutive losses following a tremendous preseason and a 3-0 start, the Denver Broncos understood what they had to fight for on Sunday afternoon.
So, fight they did. Offense spared no effort (especially in their run game, and offensive line protection), and defense found their rhythm (including a Dak Prescott interception by Caden Sterns).
Denver pulled off a 30-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and they did it in AT&T Stadium.
During the post-game press conference yesterday, QB Teddy Bridgewater opened up about his COVID scare, which lasted up until right before the game. He wasn’t even officially cleared until five minutes before, and Drew Lock had already been ruled out for COVID protocols.
Bridgewater and Coach Fangio both worried they had a repeat of last year’s week 12 incident (the one that led to WR Kendall Hinton starting as quarterback vs Saints) on their hands. This did not turn out to be the case, though, as Bridgewater tested negative for the virus and was given the all-clear to go out to the field.
“I just had to sit around, really go through my same routine, just be on standby,” Bridgewater admitted about the COVID protocols yesterday, “It was great being a part of this victory today. Just want to move forward.”
With so many of their O-line starters banged up, Denver had to fall back on their depth chart, including LT Calvin Anderson (for Garret Bolles) and rookie RG Quinn Meinerz (for Graham Glasgow, after first half). Rather than being a liability, they proved to be assets. Bridgewater had high praise for them.
“Those guys, man, Quinn (Meinerz), Cam (Fleming), those guys would come in – we didn’t miss a beat. Seeing those guys get an opportunity out there, those guys are having so much fun.”
Bridgewater also talked up their running backs, describing their patience. “We knew that we could scheme up some good runs for us as an offensive unit,” he explained, “The more we can eliminate the negative plays and the going backwards, I think we can be a pretty good offense.”
The QB continued, “You saw Javonte (Williams) and Melvin (Gordon) just mixing it up today, a one-two punch, the defense didn’t really know what was coming. We did a great job just getting them going on the edge, guys were perimeter blocking, it was a team effort.”
The offense wasn’t the only bright and shining star, either. Bridgewater enjoyed watching defense “fly around, make plays, change the launch point for Dak, disrupt their receivers and route concepts, and even taking the ball away.”
Come to think of it, pretty much every part of the team was winning yesterday. It’s hard to get nit picky about any of the three units, and I’m usually quick to critique special teams lately.
Just like Coach Fangio was hoping, the team played really well in “all three phases” on Sunday.
Asked how the defense’s big plays affected offense, Bridgewater described “taking the field with a little anger.” We talked about it in the huddle and used it as motivation,” he recalled, “It’s one of those deals where you take the field and have a little added motivation to it. You could see that today.”
Finally, Bridgewater isn’t using this win to relax and stop worrying about losses, or to ride the wave of victory. Just like every game they won in the beginning of the season, they aren’t taking their wins for granted, but rather using their losses coupled with this win as a humbling experience.
“Our mindset never changed,” said Bridgewater, “When we lost those four games, it was just like, hey, we gotta find a way. Find a way to end this losing streak. And now we are still finding a way to continue to win. That is just the mindset.”
The QB added, that tomorrow they will point out what could have been done better, and that’s the thing about football: it will make you humble.
“As long as we stay humble as a team, we can really do some things to move in the right direction,” he insisted, “The moment you get too high sometimes, the rug gets snatched from underneath you and you fall flat on your face – and we don’t want to experience that again.”
All in all, the game was a “great team win,” in the words of Teddy.
“We know how hard it is to win in this league,” he stated, “Understanding what was in front of us. It was a challenge that the guys are ready for. It was great just walking in and coming out with a victory.”