The Denver Broncos' shut-out performance against the New York Jets left fans at Empower Field in a frenzy. Broncos Country showed up loud and proud in the first home game of the season.
Fueled by a dominant defense and an offense that controlled the clock, the Broncos took another positive step forward in Week 3. The Orange and Blue crew built its momentum on the backs of its first three opponents.
In next week’s game against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, the Broncos will need to call upon the lessons learned from the first three games to defeat a talented opponent. For now, let's break down the good, bad, and ugly in Denver's 26-0 win over New York.
The Broncos' defense played lights out, controlling every statistical phase of the game. The dynamic unit held the anemic Jets' offense to 162 total yards and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson to a 42.6 QB rating.
It’s still too early to say whether the Jets' coaching staff has buyer's remorse with Wilson. To be fair, the rookie needs more time to marinate against NFL-caliber players and systems but the Broncos' defensive front made the young QB wish he was back playing at BYU.
Vic Fangio’s unit manhandled the Jets' creaky offensive line and generated five sacks from five different players. Von Miller notched one, keeping his 2021 sack streak alive. Not to be outdone, the Broncos' secondary showed up in a big way.
Safeties Justin Simmons and Caden Sterns didn’t let up on the struggling Jets, each pulling down their first respective interceptions of the season.
Teddy Bridgewater | QB
Bridgewater continued his winning ways by taking what the defense gave him and playing efficient football. The veteran connected with eight different receivers and passed for 19-of-25 for 235 yards.
Teddy forced a very good Jets' defense to cover multiple passing lanes along with remaining aware of the Broncos' run game threat. Although, he missed a few openings to connect on midrange passes, 'Steady Teddy' never allowed the pressure of the moment to affect his or his team's play.
Brandon McManus | K
Thus far, McManus has been flawless when called upon. He's 9-for-9 on field-goal attempts. During Sunday’s contest, he went 4-for-4 with a long of 47 yards.
A lot is going well for the Broncos in the early portion of the season. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch the veteran kicker master his craft.
A One-Dimensional Offense
The Broncos won the game 26-0. It’s safe to say the Broncos were effective in executing the game plan. However, to win games against tough opponents, Denver must improve its run-blocking against defenses committed to stopping the run.
In the first three games, defensive coordinators have used run blitzes and loaded the box with additional defenders, in hopes of forcing the Broncos to become a one-dimensional offense. To their credit, the Broncos' O-line and running backs gobbled up 121 hard-fought rushing yards on Sunday.
However, the team failed to net any explosive passing plays and has struggled against the defensive lines of both New York opponents. To control the clock and keep opposing offenses on the sideline, it’s important that offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur maintains a balanced approach to the offense.
After Sunday’s game, the number of injuries stacking up poses the biggest risk to the Broncos making the playoffs. At the beginning of the season, GM George Paton invested big dollars to bolster the roster in order to withstand the injury “Grim Reaper” that haunts every NFL roster.
After Sunday’s game, the cacophony of injuries is becoming deafening. Wide receiver KJ Hamler went down early vs. the Jets and is out for the season with a torn ACL, while starting guards Graham Glasgow andd Dalton Risener hobbled off the field. Combined with several starters on injured reserve or ruled out for the season, the next-man-up theory is getting thoroughly tested.
The past three wins have prepared the Broncos for the upcoming competitive stretch of the schedule. The contest with the Ravens will test the resilience of both the offense and defense.
If the Broncos can get off to a fast start and the next man up can effectively replace the injured starter, this team has a real chance to get to 4-0.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MHHEvans.
Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!