The Jekyll and Hyde Denver Broncos decided to play the Jekyll character on Sunday as the team emerged with an unexpected victory over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers. It was an impressive 28-13 win where all three phases for Denver played well nearly the entire game.
In fact, the Broncos put together their second-best performance of the season. The victors had some great individual efforts to get the Broncos to 6-5. This team is still alive, although barely, in the playoff hunt.
Who were the biggest studs and duds? Begin!
Stud: Pat Surtain II | CB
The rookie first-rounder has been very good all season and Week 12 was his big day. Surtain played well in coverage and made a huge interception in the end zone to turn the tide back in Denver's favor. That interception not only ended the Chargers' drive in the red zone, but the Broncos were able to march down the field and score. Then, off a deflection, Surtain picked off another pass and returned it for a touchdown, which sealed the win.
Dud: Drew Lock | QB
When Teddy Bridgewater exited the game in the second quarter with an injury, the Broncos had a 14-0 lead. Lock replaced him and immediately fumbled the ball. However, with a fortuitous bounce, Tim Patrick recovered it and stretched for a first down. When the Broncos were threatening to enter halftime with a 17-0 lead at worst, Lock committed the error that Denver absolutely couldn't have, throwing a brutally ugly interception that resulted in a 10-point swing. The Chargers had life going into the second half with the score at 14-7. The Broncos wisely put an injured Bridgewater back in the game for the second half.
Stud: Baron Browning | LB
Another rookie came up big for the Broncos as Browning played an exceptional game. He was great against the run and pass, finishing the game with seven tackles (five solo) and one pass defense. He is easily the best remaining off-ball linebacker the Broncos have and looks like a third-round steal.
Dud: Kyle Fuller | CB
Fuller has had some horrific games, but Sunday was not that. However, it wasn’t good either. He was picked on by Justin Herbert all game and gave up some big completions, especially in the first half. Fuller's play was not of the game-losing caliber, but he could definitely play better based on what was anticipated when he was signed in the offseason.
Stud: Sam Martin | P
Rarely does a punter stand out in a game that is won by two touchdowns, but Martin did just that on Sunday. He drilled a punt on the one-yard line early in the first quarter, keeping the Chargers from any usable field position. Martin also hit the “coffin corner” inside the 20-yard line when the Chargers desperately needed something from special teams to dig their way out of an early hole. Martin ended the game with three punts for an average of 41.7 yards which may not seem impactful from the box score, but they definitely were and factored into the victory.
Dud: Bradley Chubb | OLB
Much like Fuller, Chubb did not have an awful game, but he was very quiet. Coming back after several weeks on injured reserved, it can be expected that he is getting used to the game again. However, a first-round edge rusher should not be blanked in the stats department. Zero tackles and zero sacks for Chubb on the day. He was outshined by Stephen Weatherly and Jonathon Cooper. Let's hope for better next week.
Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.
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