BRONCOS

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A horribly unsatisfying Broncos victory

Sep 18, 2022, 7:47 PM
Russell Wilson Garett Bolles...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

What in the world was that?

Yes, the Broncos beat the Texans 16-9 on Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High. But that game could not have been more frustrating to watch.

Denver made mistake after mistake against Houston, even leading head coach Nathaniel Hackett to say he was “booing himself” after another horribly questionable day of coaching. The Broncos committed too many penalties. The offense still isn’t clicking. And two former Alabama stars and first-round picks got hurt.

Let’s break it down in our second edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the 2022 season.

The Good

The Broncos defense once again showed up in a big way. They held the Texans to three field goals, and didn’t surrender a touchdown. That’s now six quarters in a row the Denver “D” hasn’t allowed an opponent in the end zone. Dre’Mont Jones had two sacks. Randy Gregory forced another fumble, although the Broncos didn’t recover it. Still, the edge-rusher is showing up in important moments.

Yes, it was Davis Mills at the helm for Houston, but this defense appears legitimate through two games. They’re hitting hard, ripping the football out and have surrendered just 26 points on the year.

As the growing pains appear to be there for Russell Wilson and the offense, the defense is keeping them competitive. But kudos to Wilson for making a big throw when he had to. Eric Saubert’s 22-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was the difference, and the Broncos squeaked out an ugly win. They all count the same.

The Bad

As mentioned, Denver suffered two tough injuries in the victory. Both wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and cornerback Patrick Surtain II had to depart with shoulder injuries. We’ll see how long both guys are out for, but luckily the initial news on Jeudy was positive.

The Broncos already lost Tim Patrick to a torn ACL during training camp. Quinn Meinerz is hurt. Josey Jewell hasn’t played in either of the team’s first two games. Justin Simmons is on IR. And KJ Hamler wasn’t feeling well enough to go on Sunday. When will it stop? Camp Hackett may have received rave reviews from players, but the Broncos didn’t go hard in training camp. At all.

Is what happened to Jeudy and Surtain against Houston on Sunday a product of that? No. But Denver starters are dropping like flies even though the coaching staff put them in bubble wrap for most of the summer. The reality is it’s football and injuries happen, but this is getting absurd. The Broncos need to get healthy, fast, or this season could go off the rails.

The Ugly

If Hackett didn’t like being the talk of the NFL world last week, not much is going to change. His game management and Denver’s lack of discipline were hot-button topics on Sunday. The Broncos committed 13 penalties, good for 100 yards working against them. The fans booed the team multiple times, and even counted down the play clock to try to help them avoid delay of game flags.

Think about that for a second. The fans had to help the team watch the play clock? What is this, 2A high school football? That’s basic offense 101, and Denver must get better. The win was nice, but Hackett did nothing to show he’s not in over his head.

It’s still September. There’s plenty of time to get this train back on the tracks. But even though the Broncos won, there were more bad outcomes than good against the Texans. It better get fixed, and it better get fixed in a hurry, because this schedule isn’t getting any easier.

Denver was lucky to escape against a pitiful Houston team.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A horribly unsatisfying Broncos victory