Broncos win: Shaquil Barrett has huge breakout performance


It’s the moment Denver Broncos fans have been waiting for for over two years now. It’s the breakout of Shaquil Barrett, the pass rusher out of Colorado State and local superstar who has been patiently awaiting his opportunity.

It had already arrived in the form of playing time this season as the primary backup to DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, but with Ware out for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, it was the first NFL start for Barrett, and it was a memorable one.

He finished this game with 9 tackles, 3 for a loss, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a pass broken up. Barrett now has three forced fumbles this season to go along with four sacks and 9 QB hurries (per Pro Football Focus) in his limited snaps. He played on 90 percent of the snaps on Sunday against the Browns, and took full advantage.

The Broncos’ linebacker group is absolutely stacked, but having a player the caliber of Barrett as a backup?

It’s just flat out unfair.

The Broncos’ edge rusher group — including the likes of Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Barrett, Shane Ray, and Lerentee McCray — has combined for 15 sacks already this season. McCray notched his first sack of the season against the Browns on Sunday, and everyone is getting into the mix.

The Browns were clearly scheming against Von Miller in this game, but they forgot about Barrett and kept running the ball at him, prompting this response from CBS color-commentator Dan Fouts:

When Barrett came around the edge untouched to take the football from Josh McCown, it looked like a WWE wrestler coming out of nowhere to drop someone to the ground. Barrett hit McCown so hard, he had to frantically look around and try to find the football he’d just dislodged from the veteran quarterback.


This is only the beginning for Barrett, who ranks 2nd on the Broncos behind Ware with four sacks already this season, is going to be an incredibly important piece of this defense as the season wears along.

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