The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Disgusting wins are still wins for Broncos
The Denver Broncos are tied for the division lead in the AFC West.
With an interesting 11-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, the Broncos are now 2-1 on the season. This game was one that no one could have ever imagined. Denver punted 10 times. Russell Wilson and the offense went three-and-out series after series. Down 10-5 in the fourth quarter, things looked bleak.
But Wilson rallied, cooking the 49ers for a long touchdown drive and the Broncos escaped with a crucial win. How did it happen and what were the biggest takeaways? Let’s dive into it with our third edition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the 2022 season.
The Broncos won. And they beat a darn good team.
Even if head coach Nathaniel Hackett admitted the offense needs to be better in his postgame press conference, he was still satisfied. The defense forced three second half turnovers and the offense did just enough, with Wilson delivering a 12 play, 80-yard drive in the waning moments to give Denver a critical win.
Still, this night wasn’t about the offense. It was about the defense. The unit delivered four sacks, including one each from Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. Jonas Griffith had an interception and Josey Jewell and Kareem Jackson each recovered fumbles. Even after the Broncos went up 11-10, the 49ers had two chances, but the Griffith pick and P.J. Locke forcing a fumble secured the victory.
Is this defense Super Bowl 50 good? That remains to be seen. But they were excellent on Sunday night against San Francisco and are once again the backbone of this team.
The Denver offense has to be better. There’s no way around that. Wilson threw for just 184 yards, averaging 5.6 yards on his 20 completions. The deep ball still isn’t there, with very few passes going down the field. It looked like Wilson had Jerry Jeudy for a long touchdown, but the ball bounced off the Jeudy’s hands. It may have been just barely tipped.
The rushing game was okay, but Melvin Gordon finished with only 26 yards on the ground while carrying the rock 12 times. Javonte Williams was a little bit better, but needed 15 attempts to gain 58 yards. Outside of Courtland Sutton, who had another excellent game with eight catches for 97 yards, no one on the offense looked good.
Can it get better? Sure. There’s really nowhere to go but up. Will it? That remains to be seen. At least Wilson used his legs for the first time all year. He ran for 17 yards on six carries, by far his high water mark this season. He’ll need to do more of that moving forward, but there’s no denying that Denver’s offense must get better in a hurry.
The whole night? Seriously. We were locked in on this one because it was a Broncos game. But so was the whole country, and the product wasn’t pretty. Denver’s now had two primetime contests in the first three weeks of the 2022 season, and neither will go in the Hall of Fame showing how good football should be played.
Corliss Waitman punted 10 times for 476 yards. 476! That’s significantly more than Denver’s 261 yards of total offense on the evening. The group will get better, it’s only September and we’ve played just three of 17 games. There’s plenty of time for this offense to improve.
But still, this is the third straight week the product has provided more questions than answers. For now, we’ll take 2-1. In fact, it’s lucky the Broncos are at this point. While they could certainly be 3-0, 0-3 is also a possibility. All in all, you have to like where Denver stands.
There’s a lot to fix, but there’s also a winning record. Growing pains will are inevitable, but 2-1 is a darn good place to be.