BRONCOS

Pick Six: Who is up and who is down after the Broncos loss in Week 5

Oct 12, 2021, 6:58 AM
Teddy Bridgewater...
(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Has the clock struck midnight on the Broncos? Is the fairytale over?

It feels a little that way. Denver’s 3-0 start seems like a bit of a mirage, as the Broncos came crashing back down the last two weeks. Back-to-back losses to the Ravens and Steelers puts the wins over the Giants, Jaguars and Jets in a different light.

What happened? How did the balloon burst? Well, there were some keys players and coaches who didn’t shine against Pittsburgh. On the other hand, there were some bright spots, even in a loss.

Who fell into each category? Here’s this week’s “Pick Six:”

***

Vic Fangio – Down

The Broncos head coach entered the season on the hot seat. It cooled a bit with the team’s 3-0 start, Fangio’s first-ever wins in the month of September. But after losing to the Ravens and Steelers, with many of the same issues that have plagued his team the past two seasons, the burner is warming once again.

***

Courtland Sutton – Up

Sutton’s recovery from a torn ACL continues to go well. He had another great game on Sunday, hauling in seven passes for 120 yards and one touchdown. And he did it on the same field where a year ago he suffered the injury, a big-time confidence boost for the wide receiver.

***

Pat Shurmur – Down

Speaking of coaches on the hot seat, there seems to be very little patience for the Broncos offensive coordinator at the moment. And for good reason. On Sunday, Denver sputtered through three quarters, unable to keep pace with Pittsburgh. At some point, that’s on Shurmur, as it’s happened repeatedly with various personnel combos.

***

Tim Patrick – Up

Speaking of Broncos wide receivers who played well, Patrick continues to shine. With Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler out with injuries, he’s emerged as Denver’s No. 2 option in the passing game. Against the Steelers, Patrick caught seven passes for 89 yards and repeatedly moved the chains in the second half.

***

Noah Fant – Down

The Broncos tight end wasn’t targeted until well into the second half against the Steelers. He was also the invincible man once Denver reached the red zone during their attempted game-tying drive. That can’t happen. The former first-round pick has to be a bigger part of Denver’s offense.

***

Brandon McManus – Up

Often, kickers only get noticed when they miss a kick. See this past weekend in the NFL when footballs were flying wide of the uprights repeatedly. So far this year, McManus has bucked the trend. He’s been perfect, nailing all nine of his extra-point attempts and going 11-for-11 on field goals.

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Pick Six: Who is up and who is down after the Broncos loss in Week 5