There were a whole lot in Broncos Country likely starting to sweat as this game got going and the Jaguars just rolled right down the field and scored a TD. I honestly wasn’t as worried as the way these teams look from week 1, the Broncos would be able to make adjustments to shut down the Jags offense the longer the game went on.
I thought this game was a superb test for the Broncos and I really liked them being tested early like this and needing to find success on both sides of the ball.
This was a belief-building game for Teddy Bridgewater and the offense as well as a way for Vic Fangio to show his ability to find the right adjustments in order to shut down an opposing offense.
Honestly, anytime I look up the scoreboard and see less than 20 points by the opposing offense, I’m thinking that was an excellent outing for the defense.
After the first drive, the Broncos really put the brakes on the Jaguars being able to do anything of note as the game wore on. We were able to consistently get them into 3rd down situations and they just weren’t able to consistently convert and keep drives alive long enough to have success on the scoreboard.
Von doesn’t make much noise until the 2nd half but made it count icing a drive on 3rd down with a big-time sack. He had a great game up front with 2 TFLs and a quarterback hit to go with his sack. It was fun to see Vic move him around like a chess piece with him attacking all angles of the offense. It make a ruckus for young Trevor Lawrence and really made an impact on the Jags passing game.
Josey Jewell was the only other player from the front seven that really caught my attention in this game. He had two great TFLs before he left the game and is going to be missed in a big way on this defense.
Kareem Jackson juked a lead-blocking tackle out of his ankles to stop a run to the outside that gets big yards if he doesn’t make the play. Later in the 2nd half Jackson picks off the easy pass to the outside which was an ill-advised throw for Lawrence to attempt against that coverage. I love good safety play and this week, Jackson was great.
Kyler Fuller made one of the more dumb penalties we’ve seen from the Broncos so far this season with a defensive holding on 3rd and 6. He makes up for it with a great pass defense soon after. But ultimately on 3rd and very long, Fuller gets flat-footed trying to stop the 1st down and instead gives up a TD pass. He did a great job as the game wore on, but his play early was really rough.
Surtain also took a turn later in the game with a pretty bad pass interference play that gave the Jags 36 free yards. He makes an absolutely amazing pick late in the game on the sideline barely getting his foot to tap before his hip hits out of bounds that more than made up for it.
Bryce Callahan made some really nice plays in this game-breaking up passes and darn near had a pick in the 3rd quarter. It is good to see so many of our talented secondary players making big impacts on plays and stopping drives.
I honestly think the Broncos left some points on the field in this game. We had a lot of almost connections in the passing game that would have likely led to scoring drives.
That’s something the young offense can clean up, though. I honestly again think these kinds of mistakes are good to see early against a weaker opponent to work the kinks out. Of course, not every game is going to be 30+ points, but the coaches will have plenty to talk about this week to keep the players focused and improving.
I also want to take the time to give Pat Shurmur some props. I think he’s found exactly the right quarterback for what he likes to do on offense. He was very creative in play design and the players really executed some really nice man-beaters that showed some play-calling chops by the sometimes maligned Shurmur.
I’ve seen two games now of Teddy Bridgewater, and I can’t help but have the biggest shit-eating grin on my face as I revisited my thoughts on the QB situation this offseason. Everything this offense has been waiting for is being seen from Bridgewater. He diagnoses defenses. He understands when route breaks are going to be open and how to lead his WRs. He is consistently accurate (impressively so, honestly). I’m not thinking this Broncos offense is a top-10 unit in the NFL (yet). We have to consider the opposition they’ve faced thus far. But all I wanted for offseason Christmas was a competent QB and my wish was granted.
Bridgewater best throw came in the 2nd quarter where he puts some real impressive touch on a 20+ yard pass that I haven’t seen from a Broncos QB in years. Sutton didn’t have any separation, but you can’t defend a perfect pass. In the 3rd quarter, his deep throw to Sutton was also very impressive. And honestly, for those of you who are still wanting to hate on Bridgewater, drop the “checkdown” nonsense...that’s just really weak trolling at this point.
Bolles gives up a huge sack early by completely ignoring the defense’s best pass rusher. It almost happens later, but looked to be a lapse in blocking from the TE.
Javonte Williams had a big-time 15 yard run in the 2nd half showing great athleticism and power to keep churning out yards. His best run was on 3rd and 8 in the 4th quarter on a really gutsy call to run it. He picked up a first down to keep the drive alive and it wasn’t because he was untouched by any stretch of the imagination. His 4.9 ypc was 2.1 ypc more than what Melvin Gordon III was able to do (2.8) and was the first evidence we’ve seen so far that he might end up being a better starter than Gordon and deserve more snaps.
Welcome back, Courtland Sutton! What a breakout game for the team’s best WR coming off an injury. He showed some of the great route running we know him for with a deep curl for 10+ easy. The only bad play I saw from him was in the 2nd quarter, Sutton gets the deep call and barely even gets off the ground which almost ends up with an interception. A 100% healthy Sutton jumps up and owns that pass even if it is underthrown. To start the 2nd half he smokes his defender to get a 50+ yard gain downfield showing he’s still got jets even if he only looks about 85% or so.
Kendal Hinton caught a great outside pass and gained extra yards with effort. I normally expect guys to do more to get a shout-out in my reviews, but I have tons of love for this guy that had to be our starting QB last season when our immature QB room decided to throw a game for the team.
Tim Patrick catches a difficult pass on his 2nd quarter TD. The play design was outstanding and cleared out the left side of the field for Patrick to make an easy walk-in TD after the pass. Later in the 2nd half, he misses a back-shoulder throw for a 3rd down conversion that was disappointing to see.
Noah Fant takes a short catch that should have been just a 1st down and powers through a defender to house it. He’s got the kind of athleticism and power you want in a modern NFL TE and it showed big-time on the play.
We’re all hungry for touchdowns, but I sure do like seeing the Broncos win games. Sometimes that means you need a kicker to put 3 on the board. Brandon McManus was 3 for 3 in this game (one impressively with the rain coming down). Some have fussed over the past few years about paying a kicker a costly contract, but when your kicker is consistently putting points on the board, it is worth every last penny.
We have to give a shout-out to Eric Saubert on the onside kick covering it up and making sure we didn’t have a costly turnover.
Another kickoff return rears its ugly head for the Broncos. On a day when we had very few negatives overall, the poor blocking on special teams put a black eye on the day. At some point, I would hope we would get a Special Teams coordinator who teaches his coverage unit how to tackle and you know...cover kickoffs. Now that the lack of a QB doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Broncos, maybe we’ll see the next biggest hole on the team be addressed by finding a replacement ST Coordinator who can actually try to do a decent job for a change.
Next week, the Broncos have a shot to finish off the cupcake trifecta by taking care of business home against the Jets. If they can find a way to start 3-0, they will be in great shape to forge forward to a winning season. I’m excited to see what this team is capable of and we’ll get a really clear idea of what that will be by week 7.