Denver’s 26-0 win on Sunday is in the books, and the team is entering week 4 with a perfect record (so far) following an undefeated preseason. It’s easy to get excited about this in Broncos Country, but safety Justin Simmons, who intercepted New York Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, is keeping his head screwed on tightly.
First thing’s first: Simmons broke his 3,328 consecutive snaps streak when he was sat out near the end of the game, likely to prevent injury. He’s not upset about it either.
“I’m kind of glad it’s over,” he admitted, noting that he doesn’t have to talk or be asked about it anymore, “More importantly, I feel like there is a little bit of individualism - I feel like there is a little bit of that in terms of that streak, so I’m glad it’s over and we can focus a little bit more on the team.”
Second thing’s second: the Broncos are officially 3-0 to start out the season. Simmons chooses not to focus on this, but instead to treat every week as a fresh season start. According to him, this is a mentality adopted by Denver’s whole team.
“This year, we’re thankful and we put in the work for the start that we have right now,” he said in a press conference after the game, “In the league, you can never get too high or get too low, the next week is coming up.”
The safety explained that after watching film the day after a game, that game is officially over and the focus turns to the next game. In this case, it’s the Baltimore Ravens.
“It doesn’t matter what you did last week, you have a new game...we have to put in the work,” he said, “Winning is contagious, let’s keep this thing going. That’s what we’re preaching: 1-0. A clean slate, new week. Let’s keep this thing rolling.”
Asked about how it feels to have been a part of Denver’s first shutout since 2019, Simmons said it says a lot about their defense’s character.
Forcing turnovers is another thing that’s been emphasized with the Broncos’ defensive side of the ball. “Obviously, three-and-outs are huge - get our offense right back on the field. Takeaways are such momentums shifters.”
He made it clear that being able to force turnovers in the first three weeks isn’t going to magically allow them to continue doing so the rest of the season, nor does it mean they’ve found a foolproof method.
“You have to continually attack it, and that’s going to be our mindset and we just have to keep stacking the weeks,” he insisted.
Part of the 1-0 mentality that Simmons carries with him includes gratitude for every game played. One day ago, he posted an Instagram photo with himself and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who prayed with him individually after the safety missed their group prayer.
“I have a small story to share from Sunday’s game,” the caption read.
“After every game, home or away, a group of players from both teams come together to say a prayer at midfield,” Simmons wrote, adding that win or lose, they give thanks and praise God.
After giving a post-game interview, Simmons said that he turned to look at the 50-yard line and he realized he’d missed the prayer. “However, Teddy was waiting and told me, ‘J! I got you man...I know you didn’t wanna miss this’ and started praying.”
Simmons said that he needed that prayer, and Teddy didn’t even know it.
“There is a reason God brings people in your life depending on what ‘season’ of life you’re in,” he said, “Teddy didn’t know. I never told him, but I needed that prayer.”
#31 has always been open about his Christian faith, as has Bridgewater; and what also strikes me about this story is the fellowship. Bridgewater waiting for Simmons, and knowing how significant the prayer would be to him, shows a leader who really pays attention to his teammates. Someone who’s cultivating a relationship with his fellow players on both sides of the ball.
Anyway, more than a solid opening record (I don’t care what teams they’ve played so far - wins are wins), I’m celebrating the sportsmanship among our players. I’m celebrating the leadership we have from our new starting quarterback, and the continued effort from a team that’s experiencing hope for the season ahead.
And with that, the Denver Broncos are 1-0. Time to get ready for the Ravens.