The Denver Broncos prioritized bringing WR Tim Patrick back off of injured reserve, and against the Vikings, we saw why. He was outstanding.
On the surface, the Denver Broncos’ decision to bring Tim Patrick back off of injured reserve far more underwhelming than anything else, at least initially.
Patrick was considered a pretty typical WR4 on the depth chart — a big-bodied wide receiver with some big-play ability, but not necessarily the consistency in all facets of his game to be anything more than that.
Boy were those assumptions incorrect.
Although Patrick didn’t make any plays in the Broncos’ season-opener against the Raiders before he broke his hand, he was heavily involved in the offense in his first return to action since his injury, and was targeted a total of eight times.
Patrick reeled in four of those eight targets, one of which was a bomb tossed by fellow wide receiver Courtland Sutton for one of the most exciting plays of the game.
Patrick’s catch on the Sutton throw was nothing short of remarkable, but he also made quick work of some far ‘easier’ plays throughout the game.
Patrick reeled in another long pass down the left sideline in this game on a perfect back-shoulder throw from Brandon Allen, and he was the recipient of the first pass attempt on the Broncos’ final three tries at winning the game on the last drive before they ultimately lost.
On the first target of the sequence, the ball was headed right for Patrick’s hands as he had excellent position on Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, but unfortunately, his facemask was pulled and the ball ultimately fell to the ground incomplete.
Patrick said all he could say about the play after the game without risking getting fined, but he was clearly not happy about the no-call, and when you see the play, you’ll understand why.
What Patrick’s return to the lineup has done is give the Broncos a legitimate second weapon in the passing game, not just a secondary option. There’s a big difference between the two.
DaeSean Hamilton has been a second option all season, but the Broncos haven’t been able to get him the ball.
When you’re bringing along young quarterbacks, sometimes the QB’s best friend is a play-creator, and Patrick is exactly that. The Broncos have seen him develop since 2017 when he initially signed to the practice squad, and his game has evolved to the point that it looks like he might actually be a legit WR2 option in this offense.
Hopefully, Patrick can keep making plays like he did against the Vikings in the final seven games of the season, and most importantly, stay healthy.