One week after recording the most dropped passes in an NFL game by a receiver since 1997, Denver Broncos rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy responded in a big, big way in Sunday's season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jeudy caught all seven targets on Sunday (six actual passes and one two-point conversion) for a career-high 140 yards and a score, sparking the Broncos’ offense in the fourth quarter in the process.
The prior Week 16 game on the road at the Los Angeles Chargers was an ugly one for Jeudy, but he showed mental fortitude in the season finale, going out on a high note with a strong performance to build upon entering Year 2 with the Broncos.
Let's take a look at Jeudy's redemption game.
Trademark Route Running
Right away with Jeudy he flashed that route running ability against Raiders second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Jeudy does a great job of getting a clean release here in tight man coverage.
From there, look at the power and lateral explosion in Jeudy’s cut inside off the top of his stem. The footwork is impeccable, allowing him to separate for the seven-yard catch.
He’s still body catching some throws, but in this situation, it called for it. He was able to slide into the catch and secure the football on a low throw from Drew Lock where only Jeudy could get it.
That positive first reception and the rep he turned in on the play really seemed to spark some confidence in the Alabama product.
Tough Catch in Traffic
In the second half, Jeudy showed some toughness working across the middle on a short crossing route. Lock fits this ball into a tight window to Jeudy in between a handful of Las Vegas defenders on the rollout.
Jeudy knows that Johnathan Abram is lurking over the top and a big shot is likely coming, but he does a good job of making himself small in space and securing the football with his body for the nine-yard gain.
Once he takes the glancing blow from Abram, he’s able to remain upright and shows some fight, refusing to go down easily.
Flashing Great Hands
This was, by far, Jeudy’s best catch of the night, and it came on a shallow crossing route.
Jeudy clearly has a step on this Raiders defender, but Lock is forced to throw this off his back foot with pressure coming down on him. The throw is late and behind Jeudy, but he flashes great hands, plucking this football behind him.
What’s most impressive with Jeudy is his ability to secure the catch and hang onto the football after an awkward tackle that sees him get rolled up on. Most receivers drop this football due to the awkward tackle; some might not even attempt to make a play on this football knowing it’s behind them.
That’s just a terrific hands catch by the rookie.
Then came the big one for the rookie in the fourth quarter.
Speed to Surprise Defenders
Tied at 24-24 and facing a 3rd-&-10 from their own 8-yard line, the Broncos call on Jeudy to run an over route into the Raiders’ zone coverage. Lock does a great job showing some patience here to let the routes develop.
Once he eyes Jeudy working open over the middle, Lock lets go one heck of a football, hitting him in stride. Credit needs to go to Jeudy here, though, because that’s a very similar catch he dropped last week with the football out and away from his body, forcing him to go full extension to pluck the football. This week, though? No problem.
Jeudy plucks the ball out of the air and is off to the races, showing off that 4.4-speed on the 92-yard touchdown to put the Broncos ahead by a score late.
After that, the Broncos’ defense collapsed. Denver had one last shot and Jeudy made a terrific catch between three Raiders defenders 25 yards down the field, but Denver was done in by some poor situational coaching by Vic Fangio on Las Vegas' previous drive, leaving the Broncos with no timeouts after Jeudy’s catch.
Denver ultimately settled for a 63-yard field goal attempt by Brandon McManus that was blocked, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of Denver fans as the season ended.
However, the play of Jeudy on Sunday should leave fans eager to see the steps he takes forward in 2020. He showed how mentally tough he is in overcoming adversity and how committed he is to his craft and will continue to be.
That’s all Denver could have hoped for on Sunday from the prized rookie.