Perseverance, toughness, and a winning attitude – these attributes can finally be applied to a Denver Broncos game in 2018. Fresh off their bye week, the Broncos went to Los Angeles and defeated the Chargers 23-22 on a last-second field goal in front of a strong Broncos crowd. Brandon McManus kicked not one, but two game-winning field goals from 34-yards to seal the deal. Here is what we learned from the Broncos, who now sport a 4-6 record and have new life heading in to the final six games of he season.
Case Keenum has proven once again that he is not the quarterback of the future for the Broncos. Keenum was only 19/32 and threw for 205 yards and no touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked this game, but he struggled under the pass rush and threw many balls away. Even with the paltry passing game, Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders had good games. Sutton caught three passes for 78 yards, while Sanders caught four passes for 56 yards. They each had long catches of almost 40 yards. The offensive line had one of their best games of the year as they allowed zero sacks and were penalty-free for once. Phillip Lindsay proved once again that he is a running back worth building a team around. On 11 carries, he had 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He had a couple of key runs at the end to get the Broncos in scoring position and has made a strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Royce Freeman also added a touchdown as well. If only the passing game can catch up to the running game, this offense would be explosive.
The defense once again saved this team. The front seven applied pressure to Phillip Rivers, who threw two interceptions and was sacked three times. They held Melvin Gordon to only 69 yards on 18 carries. Von Miller had one sack, his 100th in his illustrious career, and one interception that he ran back for 42 yards and set up Freeman’s touchdown. Rookie Bradley Chubb and Adam Gotsis each added a sack. Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons were in beast mode as they had 10 tackles apiece, and the Broncos had six hits on quarterback Phillip Rivers. The secondary however was hit hard, as Rivers was 28/43 and had 401 yards passing. Tight end Antonio Gates had five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, while wide receiver Keenan Allen had nine catches for 89 yards and a score. The secondary needs to come together and help compliment the front seven as the season winds down.
As stated earlier, the Broncos won on Brandon McManus’ “second” 34-yard field goal. The Chargers tried to ice the kicker, as they successfully called a timeout right before he put one right down the middle. On the second kick, McManus again put it through the uprights to redeem himself after missing at the end of the Texans game. The new confidence should help the kicker going forward.
This was a special victory for the Broncos, and one that could ignite the fire again as they hit the tail end of the season. Head Coach Vance Joseph did enough to keep his job for another week, as he will prepare the team for their next clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mile High. For now though, Bronco Country has a reason to celebrate!