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Three observations from the Broncos shutout win over the Jets

Sep 27, 2021, 6:24 AM
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 26: Caden Sterns #30 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his interception...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos were at home for the first time in the 2021 season as they faced the New York Jets on Sunday. The Jets are a bad team, and the Broncos were able to shut them out by a score of 26-0. The Broncos are now 3-0 and things ramp up as a good Baltimore Ravens team is on the schedule next week.

After the game, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio commented about being 3-0.

“I think we’ve got a good team, and we’ve got guys that are together. When I say we’ve got a good team—I mean the atmosphere, the belief, and the conviction every one of us has in everybody. I just think we’ve got a resilient group and a group that likes playing with each other. We’ve been pretty damn solid for three weeks—both offensively and defensively. Today we had to work for everything offensively. They’re a good defense. They’ve got a lot of good players over there, and they made it hard on us offensively, but we were able to get enough drives going and make enough plays to put some points on the board,” Fangio said.

Here are the top-three observations from the Broncos-Jets game.

***

Home Crowd Was Heard

Denver has one of the best home-field advantages in the entire NFL. On Sunday, the home crowd – watching the Broncos in person for the first time since late 2019 – was heard in a big way.

It was great to see the stadium almost full at the start of the game. The Broncos were telling fans to show up early with new stadium procedures that would slow things down, and Broncos fans listened. You could feel the energy on the field, and the players gave them a helluva show. On TV, the crowd noise came through as well.
Fangio had no doubt the crowd made a difference.

“It did. Broncos fans are probably the best fans in the NFL. I did happen to see—because there was a lull in the action—when they posted that there was 3900 no shows and the people booed. Maybe we’ll get those 3900 in here next Sunday, but the fans here are great. It’s high, it’s right on the action, and I think it’s a great football stadium with a great atmosphere and our fans make it that way,” Fangio said.

***

Pressure Cooker

In front of the home crowd, the Broncos defense put on a show. Outside linebacker Von Miller has been off to a great start this season. Miller had 8.0 sacks in 2019, and some saw that as a poor performance – even though Miller led the league in incompletions and interceptions caused by pressure. In 2020, Miller missed the year due to injury and now he’s back with a vengeance.

Miller sacked quarterback Zach Wilson, making it 4.0 sacks – half of his 2019 total – after just three games. The Broncos defense hit Wilson nine times and collected 5.0 sacks with inside linebacker Alexander Johnson getting 2.0 on the day. The pressure they put on Wilson caused the young passer to make mistakes the team was able to take advantage of with two interceptions.

Fangio was smiling like a proud father when talking about his defense’s performance on Sunday.

“We just played good football—which is what we like to do. We were where we were supposed to be, and we’re there doing it the right way. We’ve got 11 guys playing together and when we do, then you have to make some great individual plays along the way. When (Jets QB Zach Wilson) scrambled out and threw it down there inside the 10-(yard line) – I forget who broke it up for us – he scrambled to the defense’s right, threw a long ball down there right before they attempted their long field goal. That was a great play, and you’re going to have to have great individual plays,” Fangio said.

***

Once a Strength, Now Depth Tested

The Broncos had a great group of wide receivers in training camp. Not only did they have talented starters, but the Broncos had great depth too. At the time, the conversation revolved around how the Broncos could possibly keep everyone at the position.

After trading away Trinity Benson, the Week 1 injury to Jerry Jeudy and the Week 3 injury to K.J. Hamler what once was a strength is now being tested. The NFL has a “next man up” philosophy and that player for the Broncos is Diontae Spencer. He’s primarily a return man but now will be asked to do more on offense.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos explore free agency or try to pluck another receiver off another team’s practice squad. They have Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick as their top two wideouts, but the Broncos need help behind those guys. There are some young players on the practice squad like Tyrie Cleveland or Seth Williams who could be elevated to the active roster.

Fangio didn’t watch Spencer much, but he knows something has to be done at the receiver position.

“Yeah he’s going to have to contribute. If I gave you a real answer to that I’d be lying because I wasn’t watching him, but he’s going to have to become part of the rotation with the receivers,” Fangio said.

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