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Instant Reaction: Broncos dismantle Chargers to secure critical road victory

The Denver Broncos went on the road to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers to keep their playoff hopes alive.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In order to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Denver Broncos needed a victory on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. They didn’t disappoint and secured a must-win game by a score of 24-7. Here are some are instant reactions from today’s game.

Vance Joseph’s defense got the job done

One of the keys to victory I had for today’s game was limiting Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen. The Broncos did just that. Vance Joseph’s defensive front seven was on point this game and rattled Herbert early and often. In fact, they had four sacks on him in the first half and forced an interception before he left the game late in the second quarter due to injury.

Easton Stick wasn’t able to do much after replacing Herbert and the Chargers offense fizzled—amassing less than 300 total yards. They weren’t able to do anything on third down. Denver’s defense hands down won in the trenches and was strong against the pass and the run. All and all, they did exactly what they had to do in order for Denver to get a much-needed victory.

Unfortunately, second-year edge rusher Nik Bonitto was carted off the field early in the first half with a knee injury. Arguably Denver’s best speed rusher on the outside, having him hurt for an extended period of time would be a significant blow to their defense. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious and he can come back soon.

It was a bad day for Jerry Jeudy

After thinking of what could have been if Russell Wilson got the ball to Jerry Jeudy on multiple occasions last week, fans were hoping for a rebound game where both could make an impact. Unfortunately, Jeudy had a rough day—especially early on. He had a couple of key drops in the first half and failed to get his second foot down on a potential touchdown reception late in the second quarter. After that? He wasn’t targeted much in the passing game and faded away.

But it was a great day for Courtland Sutton

Truth be told, it wasn’t just Jerry Jeudy who struggled today. The offense struggled until late in the game, but there was one significant exception—Courtland Sutton.

Remember when Sean Payton was talking about how Sutton’s 2019 mixtape was pretty good? It’s safe to say that his 2023 album has been his best work to date. Without question, he is undoubtedly the best receiver the Broncos have on their roster—and will play an integral role for Denver’s success the rest of the year and beyond.

He came down with another incredible catch in the third quarter to put the Broncos up 17-0. It was his tenth touchdown grab of the season. Hitting that mark, he became he first Broncos wideout since Demaryius Thomas to have double-digits for touchdowns. Hats off to Sutton, who has impressed routinely throughout the year and made the big plays when Denver needed them the most.

Post-game check on Denver’s playoff hopes

Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Houston losing this week definitely helps the Broncos playoff odds. They now have above a 50-percent chance on most models after today’s victory. Unfortunately, the Browns won and are now 8-5 and the Bengals came away with their second-straight win (without Joe Burrow) and are now 7-6 as well.