Broncos destroy the Rams in Preseason finale: Key takeaways from the 41-0 win

Broncos wrap up the 2023 preseason with a dominant win over the Los Angeles Rams. The next one... Week 1 against the Raiders!

Albert Okwuegbunam
Albert Okwuegbunam / Tyler Schank/GettyImages
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1. Jarrett Stidham, almost perfect in dominant first half:

After 17/32 completions/attempts, 180 yards, 0 touchdowns, and one interception in the first two preseason games (at AZ, at SF), the Broncos' backup quarterback had an almost perfect first-half performance against the Los Angeles Rams. Stidham played for two quarters against the Rams and led the offense to a 27-0 lead going into halftime.

Stidham had a huge first drive, going six for six completions/attempts, and finished the half with 236 passing yards, a 20-yard run, and a passing touchdown to Albert Okwuegbunam. Statistically, it was way better than the first two preseason games combined. Jarrett had three 20+ completions ... a 50-yard bomb to rookie Marvin Mims, a 49-completion to Brandon Johnson, and a 21-yarder to Lil'Jordan Humphrey.

2. Albert Okwuegbunam, Essang Bassey and Jaleel McLaughlin, with strong cases to make the 53-man roster:

Albert Okwuegbunam, a former fourth-round pick tight end out of Missouri, who was technically taken out of Nathaniel Hackett's system in 2022-23, a player who was listed as the 5th tight end in the depth chart ahead of preseason, and a trade/cut candidate for the Denver Broncos, the MVP for the Broncos against the Rams.

Okwuegbunam was targeted eight times, and had seven receptions for 109 yards (15.6 yards/reception), including a huge one-handed catch, and a touchdown. An impressive game for Albert O, who entered training camp in the roster bubble, and not only delivered against the Rams, but has been impressive in practice. He proved that he can be a very valuable weapon for Sean Payton's offense, now the big question ... will he make the 53-man roster? Including Albert in the final 53-man roster would make a lot of sense, but if a tight end needy team offers a decent compensation to the Broncos, I really could see them trading him.

Now, regarding the two other players mentioned in the headline, undrafted rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin had his third consecutive game with a touchdown. This time, against the Rams, he had his preseason best in rushing yards with 48. I personally think that Denver will have three running backs On the 53-man roster and despite Tyler Badie and Tony Jones Jr. having touchdowns in this game, I think that Jaleel should be the third one, behind Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine.

Essang Bassey had an interception once again. He had an INT in every preseason game for the Broncos in 2023 and had a couple of good pass breakups too. He has been a good player for Denver so far in camp and preseason and has been making a name for himself to back up K'Waun Williams in the nickel, and make the 53-man roster.