The Denver Broncos completely dominated on Sunday and that is something to note given how few times over the last five seasons this franchise has dominated anyone. On both sides the ball, Denver stymied the New York Giants and built up a comfortable lead on their way to a 27-13 road win in Week 1.
It wasn’t pretty early on, though. There were multiple miscues and missed opportunities by the Broncos offense early in the game, that kept things close despite Denver being able to move the ball with ease. However, as the game went on the offense began executing and a large part of that had to do with Teddy Bridgewater and his ability to extend plays.
Head Coach Vic Fangio saw a quarterback in complete command of the game.
“I saw a guy in total control and when he had the improvise, he did, and some of those were on big, big plays,” Fangio said of Bridgewater after the game. “He’s been doing that his entire career when he’s been a player and he showed it today.”
Bridgewater’s excellent pocket awareness was a breath of fresh air after multiple seasons of quarterback play that rarely displayed the kind of awareness Teddy did on Sunday. It was something Fangio has seen from Bridgewater before.
“I’ve seen him do that in the past when he’s been with other teams,” Fangio said. “He’s got that club in his bag and it’s good to have. As a defensive coach by heart, those drive you crazy and it’s nice to see the other team’s defense driven crazy.”
One of the biggest moments in the game came from that improvisation by Teddy. With an edge rusher coming free of his right side, Teddy made some moves to dodge the disaster to find Albert Okwuegbunam in the flat who turned it up field for a touchdown.
Teddy Bridgewater finds a way to stay alive on 4th down long enough to dump it off to Albert Okweugbunam, who fights his way for 6. pic.twitter.com/dLJuJhTgP6— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 12, 2021
The game was very much in doubt at this point and Fangio decided to go for it on fourth and one inside the five yard line. The play absolutely was blown, but somehow Teddy found a way to get the ball out for a game-changing score.
Bridgewater explained that Okwuegbunam wasn’t even supposed to run a route on that play, but he skirted out to give Teddy a chance to make a play.
“I was joking with the guys the other day and I was like ‘Man, I don’t think I got it anymore,” Bridgewater said after the game. “My moves don’t work anymore, and they’re a little outdated.’ But that touchdown to Big O, it was one of those deals wherever they call it a play and we were getting ready to throw it to Court (WR Courtland Sutton) and a guy came out the edge free and it was just like, ‘Man, you can’t take a sack right here.’ So I just reacted and Big O did the same thing. He wasn’t even supposed to run a route. He was part of the run play. He just leaked out and it happened to be a touchdown.”
Bridgewater would go on to finish the game 28/36 for 264 yards and two touchdowns. It could have been a lot more, but KJ Hamler dropped an easy 50 yard touchdown pass in the game.
Broncos dial up Pat Shurmur 50-yard iso shot and Teddy Bridgewater finds a wide open K.J. Hamler.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 12, 2021
One thing this improvisation led too was a complete ball control type game by the Broncos offense. They finished with a time of possession advantage of 35 minutes to 25 minutes over the Giants. A lot of games will be won if they continue to dominate the time of possession like that.
“It was big,” Fangio said of the time of possession battle. “A lot of times it doesn’t mean anything. Part of the reason – we weren’t getting big plays and eventually we’re going to have to get some big plays. We were more of a Hank Stram ‘matriculation’ going on there, which is good if you can finish it with points. We had the critical fumble down there, which we lost points and a good opportunity to get seven, but when you are going with efficient or matriculating you’ve got to be able to finish it. You’re going to have to eventually convert some third downs and we were able to do that.”
While there were not many big plays outside of the aforementioned drop by Hamler, Teddy did attack the field in the 15-25 yard range multiple times throughout the game. He took what the defense gave him checking down when necessary, but he also found some good intermediate openings to extend drives.
Overall, you couldn’t have asked for a better Week 1 offensive performance here. What a great way to set the tone of a new season. Now they just have to follow it up with another win next week.
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