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Broncos at Chargers: The No Bull Review

The Denver Broncos dominated the Los Angeles Chargers in their home-away-from-home game. Here are my thoughts, opinions, and analysis on this excellent performance.

Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

I have for years loved being in a division with the Los Angeles Chargers. We get a ninth home game because of it and this weekend was no exception. I want to thank you all in Broncos Country who went to this game. You made a difference and anyone watching from home could tell.

This was a game that the Denver Broncos should have won easily and they did. I see the Chargers as a team that was sinking last year and is still on its way to the bottom falling out. It is a shame because that team has a lot of very talented players on the roster whose careers are being wasted by an inept head coach and an owner who isn’t willing to make positive changes.

But let’s get back to the Broncos where all signs point to a superb turnaround compared to their sinking season a year ago. Sean Payton should get all of the credit in the world for the job he’s doing in Denver. This team is playing sound football on both sides of the ball and I’m seeing signs that they are starting to understand the foundations of who they are as a football team.

Defense

Vance Joseph got my game ball this week and with great reason. Aside from one bad drive, this defense pitched a shutout. We got sacks from all over the defensive roster and what seemed like every direction. Neither quarterback for the Chargers ever really felt comfortable for any extended amount of time and it was the key reason the Broncos won so handily.

Front 7

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One of my favorite signings of this season was Zach Allen. He has been a force inside oftentimes chewing up two defenders. He is a player who always seems to catch my eye a few times a game by disrupting the pocket on the inside which may not always end up with a stat on his line, but is the reason for stats getting added up on the players around him. He had a fairly nifty day with a sack, a TFL, and 3 quarterback hits.

Baron Browning made a superb pass rush to deflect a pass to Cooper for an interception and added a TFL. This is one of the guys who I think highly of, but seems to disappear for long stretches of the games. For a guy seeing > 70% of the snaps, he needs to find a way to be more impactful.

Alex Singleton continues to be the best player on the defense that I can’t stand, honestly. He makes good plays at times (he had a sack, a TFL, a quarterback hit, and one heck of a pass defense). The problem is that on ⅔ of the other plays he’s in on he is either too slow getting to the play or tackling like a J.V. high schooler. It baffles me at times how a guy can play ILB in the NFL and have such consistently poor tackling form.

Josey Jewell on the other hand is the ILB that I hardly see much of because he’s normally in a decent position and he consistently knows how to tackle. His fumble recovery honestly sealed the game and he also had a sack, TFL, and a quarterback hit on the day.

Secondary

NFL: Denver Broncos at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jaquan McMillian is my favorite young player on this defense. He’s killing it every week in the slot. McMillian had a superb delayed blitz for a sack in the first quarter. He alos recognized a trick pass and blew it up. He had another blitz on 3rd and long and darn near caused a fumble. As it was he broke up the play and forced the punt. He ended the day with a sack, 2 TFL, 2 quarterback hits, and a pass defense.

Justin Simmons wasn’t the biggest play maker on the defense but chipped in a nice safety blitz late for the forced fumble. He also had a sack and a pass defense on the day.

Last, but certainly not least, P.J. Locke made a superb blitz off the edge to force a fumble to put the game away. He also added a sack, a quarterback hit, and a pass defense on the day.

Offense

I’m not going to sit here and say this offense is smoking hot. They aren’t. They have a lot of room to improve. But they got back this week to playing sound football without multiple turnovers. They played with a lead and kept the pressure on the whole game.

Multiple plays on this game showed the excellent play design skill of Sean Payton. The most obvious was the red zone play-action touchdown pass. Peyton sent in his big package and the players fooled the whole Charger team with their execution to get an easy score.

I also want to point out that we kept running the ball as the game wore on and did so with good effect. You can win a lot of games playing the way this offense has been playing as the season has worn on.

Quarterbacks

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

Russell Wilson continued his winning ways with another solid job including a fantastic touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton in the end zone for almost 50 yards. He had another couple of key 1st down conversions using his legs as well. It was a good bounce-back game for Wilson after last week’s unfortunate loss that Wilson had a hand in. If he can keep playing at this level, this team will be able to make a push for the playoffs.

Line

The offensive line deserves a hat tip for this game. They allowed only 2 sacks on the day even after losing Quinn Meinerz. Luke Wattenburg stepped in and I barely even noticed (which is a good thing). I thought the run blocking by the team looked good and they had a plan for dealing with Khalil Mack that kept him from having much of an impact on the game.

Running Backs

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

Javonte Williams showed real patience in his running on the first touchdown of the game. If he didn’t, it would have led to him being tackled in short order. He didn’t light the stat sheet up, but it was a solid performance for our leading rusher with 60+ yards on 17 carries with 3 catches for 25 yards in the passing game.

Receivers

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

Courtland Sutton is regaining his pre-injury form. It seems like each week we get to see another amazing catch from him as he establishes himself as the clear #1 WR on this team. He’s got great chemistry with Wilson and most importantly has earned his quarterback’s trust. His one-armed catch for a touchdown was the most impressive play of the week in the NFL.

It seems like each week we hear how Lucas Krull is a big pass-catching talent for the Broncos at tight end. He finally showed a flash of that with a wide-open gain of 35 yards in the game. I’d like to see him get more involved and become a more consistent contributor to the offense, as that’s one of the key things I see missing from the offense.

Can we go ahead and say that Jerry Jeudy is kinda ass? I get the past couple of years where we see a great route runner who was getting let down by the coaching or the quarterbacking. At some point, you have to own your faults, though. Not only did he miss 2 catches that were thrown to spots for him to catch, but he also stepped out of bounds on the easiest TD catch he’d ever have a chance at. We’ve chatted in the past about the Broncos trading him for some picks, but I don’t think they could even get a bag of Doritos for the guy at this point. All I know is, that he needs to spend like 2-3 hours a day of his time on the Juggs machine after this game.

Special Teams

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports

Delarrin Turner-Yell needs some love for one hell of a great open field tackle on a kickoff return late in the game. It was superb coverage and excellent play.

Final Thoughts

This was the kind of get-right game the Broncos needed. They face the Detroit Lions this week and their biggest game left on their schedule.

This is a team that is playing better and better as the season wears on. I’m not counting any chickens yet, but this is what good teams do heading into the post season that have some level of success.

This team is good enough to both get to the post season and make some noise in it. They just need to keep taking it week by week. Great work leads to great results and we can all see they are putting in the work.