Imagine being three weeks into the season and already eclipsing ½ of the total wins from the previous season.
Broncos Country doesn’t have to imagine. We’re undefeated and looking forward to seeing our Denver Broncos test their mettle against the Baltimore Ravens and see a better vantage point on where this team is at.
I’ve been preaching caution to you all for some time, and I still think we haven’t really played any serious competition yet. That being said, this team just “looks” like a competitive NFL team for the first time in a long while.
This is the point as well where each season I start getting a better sense of what this team is about. Add that to being optimistic off of seeing them being successful and to be honest, Sadaraine is frigging pumped. Let’s dig in!
This defense is The Real Deal Holyfield, Broncos Country. Don’t let the lack of competent QBs scare you. Sure, we might drop some when we face some QBs who have more ability, but if you look at the coverage even without Ronald Darby and Michael Ojemudia, there just aren’t holes. Sure, completions are going to happen, but Vic Fangio has this defense humming and I honestly think teams are going to struggle to put big points up against them.
I’m pretty sure Zack Wilson and the Jets fans would agree.
Alexander Johnson had one hell of a game and just seemed to be in on a ton of plays. One of his better plays came on a B gap blitz on 3rd down. He fought through the block, and got the big sack early on. He ended the game with 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, 1 PD, and tied for tackle leader with Patrick Surtain with 5 tackles.
Shelby Harris sheds a blocker and wraps up Zack Wilson for a sack. Great job using his hand technique to be able to make the play. Shelby added a QH and TFL.
Right after Harris’ sack, Von comes around the outside and gets the sack to kill the drive. He also had a TFL and 2 QH. I really like how Fangio keeps moving Von around so that teams can key off of him easily on every play. It is opening up holes for others to have an impact and in this game, it really showed.
I kept an eye on Justin Strnad most of the game and I have to say he did a nice job stepping in and starting. I liked his ability to cover in the passing game side-to-side. He didn’t have a ton of impact on the stat sheet, but for a young player, he came in and didn’t leave weaknesses in our defense at all which is what you want to see when you lose a great starter like Josey Jewell.
Justin Simmons does such a great job against the run. They mostly kept him back as the deep safety, but when he was asked to come down and play strong against the run, he bottled up the lane and laid some wood. He gets the interception late in the game with a great break on the ball after reading Wilson’s eyes the whole time who never even tried to look off the safety. It may have been one of the easiest interceptions you will see in the NFL, but great players make those plays look easy.
Patrick Surtain II makes a big-time pass defense on 3rd and long in the 2nd quarter. It was a great pass, but his coverage was on point in the receiver’s hip pocket. I don’t normally like seeing big tackle numbers from a corner, but my eyes tell me he’s a willing and able tackler.
Caden Sterns got his first NFL interception to seal the game. Sure, he was in the right place at the right time, but it is good to see a young safety getting his work on the field and being rewarded with the opportunity to make a big play. He also had a really nice pass breakup to go with it. I expressed some worries about our injuries last week, but our team just seems to have more depth than previous years.
I loved how Pat Shurmur had the team come out passing. Teams have been stacking to stop the run against the Broncos and we really took advantage of that early in the game.
The run game is looking pretty ho-hum to me though. When the line wins, there are some big lanes, but as the games have worn on, less and less of that has been happening. To be fair, we had injuries in this game that lead to two backup guards playing, so that may definitely have something to do with it.
Teddy Bridgewater is starting to make me forget all about what a horrid QB situation we’ve had the past couple of years. He’s also making Pat Shurmur a happy camper as well as he’s able to execute every type of play that Shurmur wants to call. I absolutely loved seeing a QB who can make four reads before throwing the ball. Bridgewater knows how to read the field at a very high level. His pre and post-snap reads are on point and are a big reason that this offense is being consistent.
Graham Glasgow and Lloyd Cushenberry III were opening up some really big holes early and often. The line did a really great job blocking outside on the TD run early. Once we lost Glasgow and Dalton Risner, the run game wasn’t nearly as successful, but I do think that both Netane Muti and Quinn Meinerz both did an excellent job stepping in as backups.
Melvin Gordon had a very solid game from the backfield. Both backs got a TD and were asked to help drain the clock in the back half of the game which really led to a bunch of very short carries that hurt their overall stats, but make no mistake both of them were running with success in this game when the outcome was still in question.
Javonte Williams had a superb-looking start to the game. With the line opening lanes for him, he was able to use his vision to get the most of his runs. I love the mix of speed and power that he brings to the field. The more he gets comfortable in the NFL, the more dangerous he’s going to be. The lanes not being as open later led to his numbers getting clogged up quite a bit, but sometimes NFL games are going to be like that...especially when you have a big lead and need to run out the clock.
Can we talk about my boy, Tim Patrick? He had a big day and showed us his top-notch ability to high point the ball on more than one reception. The guy was making some crazy catches downfield and I love to see this kind of play from another receiver other than Sutton. The Broncos’ offense hums with these two tall, athletic playmakers at WR.
Noah Fant really needs to get his head screwed on with the penalties. He got called for 3 in this game and the maddening thing is that they are silly things like false starts and not covering up the tackle when he lines up. The kinds of penalties he’s getting are NFL 101 level stuff and I expect a hell of a lot better from a guy in his 3rd year.
KJ Hamler’s speed is going to be missed big time in this offense. He’s got a gear that no one on the team has and has helped bail out some very key 3rd downs so far this season. Seeing him injured for the year really sucks...don’t listen to the talking heads that say it isn’t a big deal. It was a big deal...his speed threat impacts how defenses can play us when he’s on the field.
The inability of the offense in the red zone led to a lot of FGs for Brandon McManus. It may get overlooked, but having a kicker who is as consistent as McManus will lead a team that plays good defense with consistent offense will lead to more wins.
Sam Martin made a great punt to keep the Broncos out of trouble in the 2nd quarter. I love the kick out of bounds and if you have good control over the direction as a punter, it can be a superb weapon on special teams.
The wins keep ‘a coming, but so do the injuries...I love how the team has responded on the field even after losing so many key starters. The players seem well-prepared, confident, and capable.
It is amazing what happens to a team when you make a huge upgrade at the quarterback position. Now our coaches all look good. Our defense is crushing it. Our offense is humming right along.
We get the Baltimore Ravens next week and even though they are likely the most well-coached team with the best NFL quarterback we’ve faced so far this season, they too have been bitten quite hard by the injury bug. They’ve lost just as many key starters as the Broncos and their defense has had injuries all over the roster.
I honestly think it is right that the Broncos are favored in this game for those reasons. We may still take an L, but this team is more than capable of beating them especially since they play at home.