The Broncos no longer are winless after beating the Chargers by a final score of 20-13 on Sunday. Unlike last week’s game against the Jaguars, Denver was able to finish and made plays down the stretch that helped them get their first win of the 2019 season.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio had a different term other than “finish” to describe what his team did at the end of the game to secure victory.
“I think hang on is a better term than finish. We got out to a nice lead there, playing well on both sides of the ball. Then, we just couldn’t get a first down there in the third quarter. We continued to play good defense through that span. Then, obviously, the punt return kind of changed the game there a little bit. It went from a three-score game, all of the sudden, to a two-score game. We finished, but it was painful,” Fangio said.
The Broncos are back home in Week 6 to take on the Titans. Let’s see if they can build on this momentum and start a winning streak. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Week 5 win.
The opening drive for the Broncos was a great one. They first attacked the Chargers defense with a play-action pass, then they featured plenty of running back Phillip Lindsay to move the ball. Things work better overall when the Broncos can work with a lead, and jumping ahead -0 after one drive is a great start for the team.
Before Denver’s seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to start the game, the Broncos had gone 13 consecutive games without a touchdown on their initial possession. Fangio liked what he saw from the offense early in the game against the Chargers.
“Score points. Move the ball. It looked like we were moving it well, both through the air and on the ground. Then it disappeared in the second half, which was disappointing. We need to take a good look at that,” Fangio said.
Fangio is correct. The Broncos have to figure out their offensive woes in the third quarter, as they failed to pick up a first down in the entire third quarter. That start was fantastic, and it showed how this offense can easily move the ball down the field. Let’s see if the Broncos can find more consistency now on offense.
Turnovers are something that have plagued this team over the past few games. Joe Flacco threw another interception, his fourth of the 2019 season. In fact, Flacco has thrown one interception in each of the last four games. In addition to the interception, Flacco also fumbled twice and one was lost to the Chargers.
Those two turnovers were almost too costly for the Broncos to overcome, but fortunately their defense was getting their hands on the ball. The Broncos were able to get turnovers on defense for the first time all season. After the game, Broncos safety Kareem Jackson knows how important turnover ratio is in a game.
“Anytime you can get a takeaway — if it’s in your favor and you’re in the ‘plus’ category in that — then nine times out of 10, you’re going to win the game. For us to go out and force three today is huge for us. You know, coming into the game having none, and to go get three today is huge for us. (It helps) to give our offense extra possessions. They did a great job with them today and we were able to get the win,” Jackson said.
The Broncos have to take better care of the football in order to win consistently. They were able to make mistakes against the Chargers, but it almost came back to bite them in the backside later in the game. They need to be better or they may not be able to hang onto a lead and eventually a victory.
It’s always unsettling when the cart comes out to take a player off the field. On Sunday, Broncos cornerback De’Vante Bausby was taken off the field on the cart then was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Bausby was injured on a three-yard run by Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. He went in for the tackle and fellow defender Alexander Johnson collided with Bausby helmet to helmet. He suffered a neck injury but did have feeling in his extremities.
After the game, Fangio gave us an update on Bausby’s condition.
“Everything is good to this point. We’re going to get him another MRI here, and if it comes out the way they like it, he’s going to accompany on us on our trip home. He has movement in all of his extremities. The news up to this point is positive,” Fangio said.
Let’s hope Bausby is well on his way to a full recovery ASAP. Neck injuries are scary and can be career-ending injuries for some. Let’s hope that’s not the case for the veteran corner who has done a nice job starting for the Broncos over the last couple of games.
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