The season as a whole is not going as planned for the Denver Broncos, but the team is playing competitive and now looks like a playoff contender.
When the year began, there was a quiet optimism regarding the state of the Denver Broncos. They won two games on fourth-quarter comebacks against the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders to open the year.
Next up, the Baltimore Ravens game was a disaster. The Ravens stymied the Broncos offense, knocking them out of rhythm. In fact, Phillip Lindsay was ejected during the game.
It’s incredible how much the Baltimore game set the tone for the rest of the season except for the last few weeks.
The Broncos responded nicely against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, to their credit. Denver had the Chiefs’ number for three quarters but took the foot off the gas pedal.
The New York Jets game became a true outlier of where the franchise was headed. While the Jets have a steady defense, the Broncos should have moved the ball against them. The Jets were without their top corner. Denver simply played down to their competition.
Defensively, the pass rush and secondary saw a solid rise when they faced the Los Angeles Rams. Granted, the Rams had control for the majority of the game, but Denver showed a decent fight to keep it close in the end.
One of the glowing areas of concern was lack of winning turnover differential. The Arizona Cardinals game is the best to date where the offense showed how good it can be. It matched the intensity of the defense from the first snap. Todd Davis’ first career interception for a touchdown set the tone for the game.
It is obvious the Kansas City Chiefs are better than the Denver Broncos, but in both games, it has been close in every way. Arrowhead is one of the toughest places to play. Period. The Broncos fought hard with Patrick Mahomes, but as MVP candidates do, he made big play after big play.
In nearly every game against tough competition, the Broncos played well.
Against the Houston Texans, the Broncos were a field goal away from potentially a three-game streak over tough AFC opponents.
The recent victories over the Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers are a great look at why Denver is better than their 5-6 record. In particular, the team is not making costly turnovers. It’s the other way around.
One of the more surprising things in the victories is the play of quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum has not thrown an interception for three straight weeks. Turnovers, in general, are the main reason for the season getting flipped upside down. Denver’s defense is producing pressure resulting in fumbles and interceptions.
It was a bizarre turn of events in the Pittsburgh Steelers game. For nearly the entire game the Broncos did not put any pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. That didn’t prevent them from very timely turnovers.
Another reason Denver is winning and playing competitively with teams is the performance of the young players. Led by the 2018 rookie class, Denver might be ahead of schedule with their rebuild because of this.
No one expected for the majority of the 2018 class and undrafted Phillip Lindsay to play the way they have.
On the offensive side, Denver’s offense is feeding off of Lindsay’s swagger. Since the Rams game, the pass rush is seeing an uptick of pressure from their dynamic duo: Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Due to those losses, unfortunately, it led to a hard hand being dealt. Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston. This move afforded them to look at Courtland Sutton more.
The great news about the Broncos is the meat and bones of tough teams are out of the way. It is conceivable for them to win four of their next five. It will be impressive if the team finishes 9-7 considering where this team was a few weeks ago.