Key takeaways from Broncos Week 17 win over the Chargers

The Broncos got a win in their last home game of the 2023-24 regular season, despite being eliminated from playoff contention ... What did we learn from the game?

Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos closed their 2023-2024 season home games with a 16-9 AFC West win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite the win, Denver was eliminated from Playoff contention, thanks to a Kansas City win over the Cincinnati Bengals (KC clinched AFC West with that win), and thanks to a Pittsburgh win over the Seattle Seahawks (for Wild Card chances).

Yet, the Broncos improved their win-loss record, getting back a 0.500 record, to be specific, 8-8, and 3-2 in the division with one game left (at Raiders).

With the above being said, here are the main takeaways from the game ...

1. Solid performance by Stidham, but was he the offensive "spark" Denver needed?:

Following the announcement on the Broncos benching Russell Wilson, and starting Jarrett Stidham, it was revealed by Sean Payton (is it true ... we do not know, since the media has said other things), that starting Jarrett was a "football decision", despite still being able to make the Playoffs heading into the game against the Chargers.

Denver wanted an offensive spark, and as Payton mentioned following his decision ... he cannot change the entire offensive line or the entire receiving core, so he changed the quarterback to see if the offense had different and better results than with Russell Wilson.

Stidham got his first career NFL win as a starting quarterback, and finished with the following stats ...

  • 20/32 completions/attempts (62.5 CMP %)
  • 224 passing yards
  • 1 TD
  • 6 rushing yards

I felt that Jarrett had a good game, reading the middle of the field, but there was not much of a difference over Russell Wilson ...

2. No offensive '3 and Outs':

Something important to mention regarding the offense, and something positive, is that the Broncos did not have any three-and-outs. They punted a few times during the game but had no three-and-outs.

Their shortest offensive drive (excluding the kneeling drive to end the game), was of 7 plays for 14 yards.

3. Penalties keep destroying offensive drives:

The opening drive of the fourth quarter started with nine yards, and then a pass interference penalty on Jerry Jeudy, which placed the Broncos in a great position to extend their 13-6 lead to 20-6. They had first and goal in the 1-yard line.

A false start penalty by Quinn Meinerz pushed the offense back to the six. On the very next "play", a false start penalty back to the 11. Stidham completed a 10-yard pass to get back to the one-yard line, and on third down and goal, running back Javonte Williams had a negative-yardage run, which forced Denver to kick a field goal.


With a win next week at Raiders, the Broncos can finish with a winning record for the first time since they won Super Bowl 50 ... can the Broncos do it?

dark. Next. 3 potential landing spots for Russell Wilson in 2024. 3 potential landing spots for Russell Wilson in 2024