The Denver Broncos defeated the Houston Texans 16-9 on Sunday but it was a classic case of winning ugly. The Broncos overcame a comedy of self-inflicted wounds to come from behind in the clutch and put a win in the standings.
This game revealed a lot about the state of Denver's coaching staff and which players are going to be leaned on this season. Who were the game's biggest studs and duds?
Let's break it down.
Stud: Javonte Williams | RB
Williams was once again a wrecking ball and this time, he played a clean game. No fumbles. Williams carried the load for the at times painful-to-watch Broncos' offense, leading the way with 75 rushing yards on 15 carries, while chipping in one reception for 10 yards. He was targeted four times.
Dud: Nathaniel Hackett | HC
Where to begin? Hackett's coaching went from concerning in Week 1 to four-alarm embarrassing in Week 2. From the constant clock issues on offense, to the wasting of timeouts, to the indecision in critical moments, to even fielding a punt return unit absent a returner, Hackett made a mockery of the NFL head-coaching profession on Sunday.
It's fair to wonder whether the quarterback in town is really going to be enough to overcome the foibles of a head coach whose performance is screaming that he's in over his head.
Stud: Dre'Mont Jones | DL
After a quiet first game, Jones stormed back on Sunday vs. the Texans, notching two sacks, one of which was a forced fumble. Of course, Houston recovered. But Jones' plays in Week 2 came in critical moments. He's now tied for the team lead in sacks.
Dud: Russell Wilson | QB
Wilson did enough at the very end to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but he was extremely underwhelming in his debut in front of the home crowd. He was completing less than 50% of his passes for most of the game, and threw an interception on the Broncos' opening possession in the third quarter.
Wilson has to share complicity for the dereliction of duty taking place with the play clock and the delay-of-game penalties. Inexcusable, really, for an 11th-year pro and nine-time Pro Bowler. When the crowd is screaming the play-clock countdown to ensure the ball gets snapped on time, you've become an NFL meme. It's bad.
The Broncos need more from Wilson if they're going to contend with the juggernauts in the AFC West. Point-blank period.
Stud: Courtland Sutton | WR
Sutton was the MVP of the game, finishing with seven catches on 11 targets for 122 yards. He had a touchdown wiped off the board in the first half due to his toe ever-so-slightly touching the out-of-bounds line.
On a day when Jerry Jeudy exited early and KJ Hamler didn't dress, the Broncos didn't have much else besides Sutton as a plausible receiving threat and he still came through in a big way.
Dud: Albert Okwuegbunam | TE
Okwuegbunam had a bad drop in the first half that helped end a drive and the Broncos didn't use him much after that. If he wants to really inherit the mantle of TE1 that Noah Fant vacated, Okwuegbunam can't drop gimme passes in critical situations.
Stud: Eric Saubert | TE
Although he mostly makes this list due to one play, it was a beauty and one that won the game for Denver. Wilson hit Saubert down the right seam for a 22-yard go-ahead touchdown that sealed the victory.
After he dropped a tough, but still catchable, touchdown pass in Seattle last week, it was good to see Saubert step up in Week 2 and reap the rewards.
Stud: Brandon McManus | K
McManus accounted for 10 of Denver's 16 points. Going 3-for-3 on field goals, McManus crossed the 200-mark for his career (in the regular season) and tied Dan Bailey for the most field goals from 50-yards plus all-time.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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