They did it.
No, seriously. The Denver Broncos finally beat the Kansas City Chiefs, and I will say that the bleeding orange and blue fan heart of mine does think it was our Super Bowl. I loved every little second of seeing our opponents look completely incompetent offensively and unable to stop this losing team from completely wiping the floor with them in a dominating fashion.
If anyone talks trash about this game being our Super Bowl, you just nod and smile. Rome wasn’t built in a day. This team needs a lot of work to turn into a winning team again. That work requires a lot of steps. This game was a significant step and as a fan base, we should be both proud and excited.
The Bronco team looked well-coached on both sides of the ball and were more than up to the task set before them. Yes, there were flaws. Yes, the Chiefs did most of the work for the Broncos by constantly handing our team the ball. That doesn’t change the fact that these players had to make the plays. They did an outstanding job against the AFC West’s division leader (and likely division champ this season…let’s be honest about that).
I want to give some big-time props to Vance Joseph for the job he did with the defense over the past few weeks. We’ve seen the starting lineup slowly shift with younger players getting more and more snaps. They are showing signs of being coached well.
I think there’s a lot of room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball. I think there are better players to be had out there next year. But at the end of the day, a good coach gets what he can out of the players he has. Joseph is doing that in 2023 with this Broncos defense.
It is so good to see Baron Browning back on the field and being a force at the edge of this defense. He finally got home at the end of the first half causing a fumble to save a Chiefs score. He had 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QHs on the day.
I know Zach Allen and Jonathan Cooper shared a sack as well, but I’d love to see this front step up more and get more pressure. They aren’t winning consistently enough to be what I think of as a good pass rushing defense. The pressure we did get on Mahomes was mainly from excellent coverage on the back end.
I did like the effort that Nik Bonitto showed in the game. He was close to a sack many times with 4 QHs and one pass defense on the day. I love the progress he’s making as a player. I hope to see him continue to get better over the season. He’s got a bright future in the league if he can keep upping his game.
Ja’Quan McMillian was really showcasing his ability in this game. He played spy on Travis Kelce’s route perfectly in the 2nd quarter for a interception. He was also an able and willing tackler out of the defensive backfield with 6 tackles and a TFL on the day. He’s been the primary guy coming in on Nickel packages (which let’s be honest is most of the snaps) and is killing it.
Fabian Morreau is the starter now across from Pat Surtain, II. He has also been handling himself well with a nice pass defense. He had a holding call in the 2nd half that was one of the more ticky-tack calls I’ve seen this season.
The offense also has a lot of improvement to make. But they put points on the board and looked consistent for the majority of the game for the first time all season. Sean Payton stayed with the run game as well which is a definite key to this Broncos offense staying productive.
I loved the play design on the touchdown pass to Javonte Williams. Payton rolled all receivers to the right and had Williams swing left out of the backfield. This is an example of what good offensive play design looks like. They found a tendency by the Chiefs and exploited it for an easy score.
The game Russell Wilson played may have seemed somewhat pedestrian. He only threw for a bit over 100 yards. He did toss 3 TDs though and had no picks. Wilson excels in this kind of game, though. As the offense learns and grows, a key to them winning with any consistency is this kind of solid play at quarterback.
We gave up a lot of sacks in this game. But honestly, I mostly don’t fault the line for it. Most of the sacks that Wilson took in this game were on him. He needed to get rid of the ball and this bye week I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some work done on knowing when to throw it away in those situations.
The run blocking continues to get better. That Chiefs front is solid and the Broncos had good success running on them all game long.
Javonte Williams is such a powerful runner and I love seeing him healthy and trucking fools on game day. He was a workhorse on Sunday with 27 carries for 85 yards. That average of 3.1 looks poor, but you have to consider that at the end of the game, he had a handful of carries that were mostly negative yards given the situation.
Jaleel McLaughlin is such a good change-up with his speed and quickness out of the backfield. He constantly bursts upfield for chunks of yards. He carried only 4 times for 33 yards averaging 8.3 yards. I’d like to see him get a little bit more of the carries as it would likely be more efficient for the offense.
Color me impressed with Jerry Jeudy high-pointing a deep throw over the middle. He showed superb athleticism in the play to gain (YDS). He followed it up 2 plays later with a superb corner route in the back of the end zone for a TD.
Cortland Sutton got free in the back of the end zone for one of the easiest touchdown passes we’ve seen from Wilson this year. He also forced a pass interference call on the Chiefs with a great route which won’t show up on the stat sheet. He also had a PI call on him that was absolute nonsense and should have been a defensive holding call.
The kickoff coverage tackle by Tremon Smith was money late in the 4th quarter. It is worth mentioning that we’re not seeing inept kick coverage from this special teams unit for the first time in ages. Ben Kotwica should get a hat tip for how well he’s doing with the special teams units this year.
I’m not ready to start leaping for joy about the rest of the season. I still see a lot of flaws in this team. I don’t know how consistently they can win going forward.
That being said, they’ve put themselves in quite an intriguing position going into their bye week. They are 3-5 and have 9 games left on the season and many of them look very winnable on paper.
This one win has me at a place where I can honestly say I am going to enjoy this season. This win validates Sean Payton and the job he is doing to turn this franchise around.
I think it is healthy to cheer hard for this team, but expect bumps along the way. We’re only a month or so removed from a 50-point beatdown. I don’t think things will get that bad again, but this team has a lot to do in order to learn how to win consistently.