Scangarello Answers the Bell in Week 9 With Brandon Allen Under Center
The Denver Broncos entered Week 9's home tilt vs. the Cleveland Browns in a precarious position. Quarterback Brandon Allen would make his first NFL start and play his first snap in a regular-season game, with the reeling Broncos trying to recover from a 2-6 start.
It was hard to predict what to expect.
What unfolded, however, was eye-opening and perhaps answered once and for all the question as to what was really holding back the Broncos' offense in the first half of the season — the play-calling or the QB play? The Broncos rolled over the Browns 24-19, leading from the first quarter and never looking back.
Allen went 12-of-20 (60%) for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with a QB rating of 125.6 in his first-ever NFL game.
What's more, the Broncos offense not only played within itself, it finally looked more like the product on the field we'd heard team shot-callers describe before the season started. A run-first attack, with a QB who possessed just enough athleticism and mobility to create outside the pocket and take pressure off of the team's beleaguered offensive tackles.
With Allen as the triggerman, the Broncos were an offense teeming with talent at the skill positions — a threat to score from anywhere on the field. We saw multiple explosive plays, including three scoring plays of 20-plus yards (75, 21 and 30).
In the wake of Allen's predecessor throwing Rich Scangarello under the bus following last week's bitter loss to the Indianapolis Colts, all eyes were on the Broncos' offensive coordinator this week. Scangarello more than answered the bell in the game he called for his first-time starting QB.
Allen fed the offense's play-makers, with TE Noah Fant, WR Courtland Sutton and RB Phillip Lindsay combining for 265 of the unit's total yards from scrimmage.
We're talking about a Broncos team that finished with 302 total yards, but they were highly efficient and explosive when it mattered. However, it was far from perfect offensively.
After weeks and weeks of atrocious efficiency on third down, Allen wasn't able to move the needle much, as Denver went 3-of-9 on the money down, revealing that Scangarello and company still have plenty of work to do.
But it was a more-than-encouraging debut for Allen and a confidence-inspiring display from Scangarello as a play designer. Give this OC/QB combo time and it could bear fruit for the Broncos. Check out the full breakdown of Allen's debut in the video above.