Our team won.
They actually did it.
I can’t help but wonder how many out there in Broncos Country missed it…because that first half was the most pathetic showing of defense I’ve seen in at least a week.
Nevertheless, it ended with our family giving high-fives all around and being excited to see the Denver Broncos win (which is too rare of a thing in recent years).
Vance Joseph still needs to be fired. I don’t know what he’s doing to get this defense ready to play. I have no clue what he’s trying to teach them as a coach overseeing the whole defense. Our players are simply not playing with confidence, ability, or desire to enforce their will on the opponents.
I can sum up the Broncos’ 2023 defense under Vance Joseph in one word: soft.
We saw it coming and feared it was happening. VJ in the offseason talked at one point about learning the defense from the players. That sounded backward
to me and many others. Now we are seeing what happens when a coach is being taught by players. It ain’t pretty.
Nik Bonitto went off in this game which is a good thing since the Broncos have shown so little impact in the pass rush department. He had 2 ½ sacks on the game, 2 TFLs, 2 QHs, and a forced fumble.
Alex Singleton looked at his best when Chicago was running designed QB runs early. He keys in well and understands exactly where his fit is to make sure the tackle is made. I pine for an ILB that has more side-to-side speed and the read ability to make plays against the pass, but that’s just not Singleton’s game.
Jonathan Cooper also showed up big in this game with a sack, 1 TFL, and 2 QHs. He also is showing the speed to get home from the outside and looked fairly consistent in applying pressure against the Chicago Bears’ line.
Kareem Jackson obviously warrants praise for sealing the game on a timely interception to help the team win. He also had a nice pass defense earlier in the game and did his best to light a fire under the defense since the Broncos don’t have a coach that’s interested in doing that.
Delarrin Turner-Yell is a work in progress at safety. He was in on 9 tackles, had a pass defense, and a QH on the day. He’s a guy that I tend to see in a play and wish he would have been a step earlier. That’s going to take time for the young player from what we’re seeing on the field of play. Suffice to say this game experience will be invaluable to his development.
Patrick Surtain II has had a couple of bad plays over the past two games, but if you are paying attention, he’s mostly doing a good job outside of a play here or there. There is no corner that is going to be perfect all game long. The good news is that he is able to shake it off and move on to the next play.
As frustrating as this losing season has been so far, I’m still pretty up on the progress I’m seeing with our offense. Sean Payton has the team playing actual NFL-quality offensive football for the first time in at least a year.
The good news from what I see is that this offense is still developing. It is going to take time for them to really cinch in and get fluid, but we’re starting to see some gumption from the players to execute late in the game and score more points.
Russell Wilson had a hell of a game with a 133.5 rating, 3 TDs, and no interceptions. He and the rest of the offense seemed lost for the most part from halfway through the first quarter until late in the 3rd quarter. I love the moxy that Wilson showed though.
The false start penalties alone get the offensive line an F on the day. All of them veterans of the game (some paid highly to come here and solve our line problems) with false starts in big situations setting our offense back.
Outside of that they played well enough allowing only one sack and run blocking for over 5 ypc (though a lot of the credit there goes to McLaughlin’s speed).
Jaleel McLaughlin sure does look like a legit NFL weapon. He got into the action early with a superb run for a first down. He shows really elite burst which is why the guy needs more carries. Later in the same drive, he scored on a screen pass again showing his dangerous speed and quickness. The key to his success is going to be making sure he’s in a position to not be taken advantage of because of his size. We saw in this game him getting blasted by a linebacker with no real chance of making that needed block for the team to have success on the play.
Jerry Jeudy is helping make a difference on the offense with 10+ yard catches consistently moving the chains. From what I saw, there’s more there to be had if Wilson would look for him and trust the timing. Jeudy is a tough assignment for any defender to stay with because of his route-running ability.
Marvin Mimms Jr. again blew the top off with a 48-yard catch in traffic. He’s got the talent to get 1-2 of those targets every game and help keep the defense on their toes.
It is worth mentioning that Payton and Wilson don’t play favorites much in this offense. While Jerry Juedy saw the most targets, the ball is getting spread around all over the place with 11 different receivers getting targets.
That field goal by Wil Lutz was a hell of a kick. 51 yards is no gimme by any stretch of the imagination. It was the only field goal attempt in the game, but it sure was worth celebrating.
I think I’m feeling like most of Broncos Country about this win. Sure it was good, but it doesn’t say much about this team. I’m certainly not feeling good about the rest of this season. We’ll need more than a last-minute win against the Bears to get hopeful.
For the defense, I just can not get over how the Broncos made Justin Fields look like a super star. Fields is not a good quarterback. He’s not a guy that throws 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns. This game was more about how bad the Broncos defense was than how good Justin Fields might be.
But at the end of the day, I love a win. Let’s hope the Broncos can do it again next week without making New York Jets’ Zac Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett look like savants.