Broncos could finish the 2022 season stronger than you think

Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) celebrates his second interception with Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) against the Arizona Cardinals at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) celebrates his second interception with Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II (2) against the Arizona Cardinals at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos could end up finishing the 2022 season better than you might think. Yes, the 2022 season has been a disaster by comparison to many of our preseason predictions, and yes, it’s also too late to think about the playoffs. As a matter of fact, the Broncos are eliminated. But it’s not too late to finish strong and put something out there that we haven’t really seen all season: Evidence of consistent complementary football.

Although it’s not much, it’s been better than we’ve seen for most of the season in the last two weeks. The Broncos’ performance against the Kansas City Chiefs after the team went down 27-0 and the team’s overall performance against Arizona this past weekend has been something the team can truly build on going forward.

Denver Broncos building some momentum as 2022 season comes to a close

Over the last three weeks, the Broncos have a whopping eight interceptions, including three each against the Chiefs and Cardinals. The Broncos also had multiple interceptions against the Baltimore Ravens three weeks ago and they’ve forced at least one turnover in four consecutive games.

The sudden surge of interceptions has put the Broncos just one shy of the NFL league lead which is currently 15 by the Philadelphia Eagles. Their 13 forced fumbles this season also rank as the 6th-best in the league. Through 14 games, the combination of 14 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles means Ejiro Evero’s defense has not only been stingy when it comes to keeping teams off the scoreboard, but they’ve been one of the most impossible teams to be efficient against all season.

The Broncos rank 3rd in overall scoring defense, 10th in turnovers forced, 5th in yards allowed, and believe it or not, they’ve only allowed 12 passing touchdowns all season. That is the best in the NFL even ahead of the San Francisco 49ers (13).

There are so many interesting metrics to point to when you look at Ejiro Evero’s defense. The reality of the current situation in Denver is this: Evero might not be around for long, and the reason being that teams are going to want what he’s bringing to the table. There have been plenty of moving parts injury-wise on this Broncos roster in 2022, the defense included. Although Nathaniel Hackett’s offense has been devastated by the injury issues, Evero’s defense has thrived in spite of them.

The Broncos lost Ronald Darby at cornerback and Damarri Mathis has looked like a long-term starter in his place. When Justin Simmons had to miss time due to injury, Caden Sterns got himself a couple of picks. Jonas Griffith has struggled with injuries all year and Alex Singleton has emerged as arguably the team’s top linebacker.

Even with some shuffling, it’s also fair to say that the defense has been able to mostly withstand the war on attrition this season and they are a relatively healthy unit going into these final three games of 2022. That’s one of the primary reasons I feel like the Broncos are going to be much more effective as a team than you might assume based on how the rest of the season has gone.

In addition to the defense playing at an elite level all season (with a couple of outliers, of course), the offense has been able to start putting some decent things together the last couple of weeks. After a disgusting 27-0 deficit against the Chiefs, the Broncos’ offense actually ended up outscoring the Chiefs’ offense in Denver a couple of weekends ago 28-27. The difference in the game was an incredible pick-six by Willie Gay Jr. off of Russell Wilson but even despite that interception, the offense showed some of the most promise we’ve seen from them all year.

Jerry Jeudy has taken major strides the past few weeks as the alpha in the offense with Courtland Sutton sidelined with an injury, and how the coaching staff handles Sutton’s return to the lineup in conjunction with Jeudy’s recent breakout will be telling of its overall competence and ability to keep a good thing going.

The Broncos have now scored 24+ points in consecutive games. I know, I know — sound the alarms. The Broncos used to be playing poorly if they only scored 24 points in a single game when Peyton Manning was quarterback, but times have changed. We’re looking for silver linings and signs of life.

And we’re getting them.

The overall offensive output has been better in recent weeks. They just had their best rushing output of the 2022 season with 168 yards on the ground against Arizona.  They have five passing touchdowns the last two weeks, which is just a few less than they had the previous 12 games combined (8).

The Broncos have a chance to keep some momentum going against the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas Day. With the way the defense has been playing lately, they look like a hot shooter in basketball or a hot hitter in baseball right now. What’s going to slow down the defense that has 8 interceptions in the last three games?

Baker Mayfield? Baker Mayfield operating an offense he just learned a couple of weeks ago? An offense that defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero undoubtedly knows as well as any in the league?

Although the Broncos haven’t really been a sure bet all season, the fact that the team is playing complementary football the last couple of weeks combined with the defense creating a barrage of turnovers has me thinking we’re going to see another impressive performance in the Nickelodeon showdown.