The Denver Broncos didn’t just beat the Chicago Bears in what many were calling “The Caleb Williams Bowl” (I also heard Toilet Bowl used), but they came together for a convincing team effort. It didn’t look that way early with Denver looking listless on defense yet again and they found themselves down by three touchdowns midway through the third quarter. It certainly looked bleak at that point.
Instead, the team rallied. The offense put up scoring drives and the defense began making game-changing plays. Together, they rallied with 24 unanswered points and a 31-28 victory over the Bears.
In a total team effort win like that, there are going to be plenty of game ball options. We are limited to one player per staffer, so here are our game ball picks for Denver’s first win of the season!
Marvin Mims Jr.
What can I say about a guy who touched the ball twice in this game. He doesn’t get many opportunities, but he absolutely makes the most of them. Mims has a big play in every game he has been in the NFL and his big play this week came when the offense absolutely needed it. The game was tied late in the fourth quarter and Russell Wilson yolo’d a ball deep to Mims who hauled it in for a 49-yard gain that ultimately setup the game-winning field goal. I love this kid! - Tim Lynch
This is the Wilson the Broncos were looking for when the trade was made. Yes, it was against a bad team, but let’s credit Wilson for leading the offense on a 21-point comeback. That was the second-largest come-from-behind win on the road in team history. For the game, Wilson was 21-for-28 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns. The key stat? No turnovers. Is it perfect? No. But it was nice to see good QB play in key moments to lead the Broncos to their first win. - Ian St. Clair
The second year pass rusher has not exactly won over the fan base yet in his short career. The former second-round pick was expected to fill a portion of the void left behind by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, but he’s come along slowly. On Sunday vs the Bears, he delivered big time. Not only did he finish with 2.5 sacks, but it was his sack on Bears QB Justin Fields that caused the fumble that Jonathon Cooper took back for a touchdown. If Bonitto doesn’t make that play, Cooper doesn’t take it to the house, and the team could very well sit at 0-4. Bonitto made a big time play in a big time moment. - Nick Burch
The undrafted rookie out of Youngstown State gets my game ball in the Broncos victory over the Bears. He only had seven carries but made the most of them. He rushed for 72 yards whilst sporting an outstanding 10.3 yards per carry average. Additionally, he had three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos’ comeback victory wouldn’t have been possible without his efforts. We don’t know the extent of Javonte Williams’ hip injury, but McLaughlin’s performance against Chicago should get him a lot more playing time as the season progresses. His speed, vision, and playmaking ability will be an asset for the Broncos’ offense the rest of the year. - Chris Hart
Jaleel McLaughlin scores his second touchdown of the year, this time off a screen pass from QB Russell Wilson pic.twitter.com/A7hVnefSyp— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) October 1, 2023
The wily veteran safety must have been mortified with the performance that the Broncos defense had last week in Miami and the performance that the Bronco defense gave in the second quarter (when they allowed 21 points). He did what Vance Joseph was supposed to do, and chewed out the rest of the defense which allowed them to play well enough to only allow seven more points in the game and to score the Broncos tying touchdown. KJ also had eight tackles (six solo), one PBU and grabbed the game-clinching INT. For these things he gets my game ball. - Joe Mahoney
Before we took the win, the OLB tied up the score in an unforgettable way. In a moment of seamless teamwork, Nik Bonitto strip-sacked Bears QB Justin Fields, and Jonathon Cooper saw an opportunity. Cooper wasted no time making a 35-yard fumble recovery and turning it into a TD, changing the trajectory of our week 4. In light of this season’s defensive struggles, that play was a breath of fresh air. Cooper also contributed his own sack on Fields, who happens to be his friend and teammate from Ohio State. I hope there aren’t any hard feelings between the two after today! - Elizabeth Nicholson
I wouldn’t call it a huge game for Sutton, but he made the most of his 3 catches. As the Broncos were working on a comeback win, Sutton was able to grab a nice catch for a TD. He ended the day with just 3 catches on 5 targets for 27 yards, but Wilson looked for him in a big moment, and he delivered. After putting the ball on the ground a couple of times against the Dolphins, Sutton was able to make positive contributions as the Broncos grabbed their first win. - Adam Malnati
My player of the game is Matt Eberflus. Without his incompetence, the Broncos would likely not have been able to force a bad pass out of Justin Fields for the closing interception. I know this defense sucks, but you can’t go for it on 4th and 1 with a sure field goal in hand to take a 3 point lead. With that flub call, Eberflus sealed the Broncos comeback by getting Fields completely shook. - Sadaraine