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(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)
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Mile High Monday: Old school wins, Lindsay shines and more

(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)

The Broncos have won their first game of the season! They traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers and came away victorious by a score of 20-13.

I like that this team got on the winning track. I feel it’s great for head coach Vic Fangio and the team to feel what it’s like to come away with a win after a week of hard work and preparation.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ. The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

New School vs. Old School

The losing had gone on for too long. The team was not your typical winless team as they had been close in two contests (Bears and Jaguars) and could have easily been 2-2 instead of 0-4 when they faced the Chargers on Sunday.

Some out there had speculated that Fangio was out of touch with today’s younger player. They believed that his message wasn’t getting through to the younger players on this team.

What a bunch of hogwash.

Fangio is all about football, but he does care for his players on an individual basis. Younger players need a bit more encouragement than older players, and that’s not the path that Fangio follows. Instead, he has high expectations for his players and he expects them to prepare as professionals and respond as such.

Von Miller is not a young player anymore, but he’s a superstar that every young player on the team looks up to. He’s behind his coach and expressed that after the game when coach Fangio deflected the game ball and gave it to the players instead of keeping it after his first win as a head coach.

“That’s Coach Fangio, 100 percent. To deflect all the light to his players. He’s a great coach and he’s been coaching us great all year long. Not just during season, but training camp, OTAs. We’ve been excited about having Coach Fangio as our coach, and it feels good to get some success as a team. It feels good to have him get some success as well and get his first win,” Miller said.

I didn’t want the narrative that Fangio is too “old school” for this team to resonate for another week. It hasn’t gone away, but I like that it should die down for a week or so.

***

More Lindsay Equals More Better

I was railing all last week on the air that the Broncos were not using running back Phillip Lindsay the right way. I wanted him to get a heavy workload to get the Broncos on the winning track. He only had 10 touches against the Jaguars in a game where a lead was built early by the Broncos. It’s simply inexcusable to use Lindsay that way.

On Sunday against the Chargers, offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello rectified that problem.

Lindsay was featured right from the start and his big plays helped propel the Broncos to victory. He finished the game against the Chargers with 15 carries for 114 yards and one rushing touchdown. Lindsay also snared four passes for 33 yards in Week 5. This was his first 100-yard game since Week 13 of the 2018 season.

After the game, Lindsay deflected the credit for his success.

“All the credit goes to the great offensive line. They are doing a great job. Hats go off to all the offensive lineman doing their job,” Lindsay said.

He continued to explain why the rushing attack was more successful on Sunday.

“For the past couple weeks, we got either behind or we are having to play catch up and not able to establish the run like we wanted to. When you are able to run the ball, you command the game. That was what we wanted to do going into the game. We wanted to seal the deal running the ball at the end of the game. Today, we did that,” Lindsay said.

Let’s hope Scangarello follows this plan of Lindsay early and Lindsay often going forward.

***

Turnovers Abound

The Broncos defense finally got their hands on the ball against the Chargers. They picked off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers two times, including one in the end zone to prevent the Chargers from scoring a touchdown or kicking a field goal. In addition to the interceptions, the Broncos defense was able to force Chargers running back Austin Ekeler to fumble the ball before he crossed the goal line for a Chargers touchdown.

Broncos safety Justin Simmons got his first interception of the year and knows how valuable these plays are to this defense.

“Takeaways are huge and, like you said, we were able to get three today. We won the takeaway battle and ultimately that’s what helps you win games, especially on the road. You have to play good defense and take the ball away to allow your offense to have more opportunities,” Simmons said.

To be the best incarnation of this defense, they need to get their hands on the ball. Now that the turnover dam has been broken, hopefully we get to see this team flip the field each week – especially when it comes to playing tougher opponents.

***

Instant Classic

Besides football and muscle cars, one of my lifelong passions is comic books. My favorite superhero is Batman and I have every Batman comic dating back from the 1950s to now. Because I’m a huge Batman fan, I am of course a big fan of his number one villain, The Joker.

I was skeptical when a solo “Joker” movie was announced, but I was interested to see what actor Joaquin Phoenix could do with the character. I went to see “Joker” on opening night and was completely blow away by the film.

It was riveting, disturbing, heartbreaking and fascinating. I rarely see movies multiple times in the theater (usually reserved for Star Wars movies only), but I can see myself watching “Joker” in the theater at least a few times.

If you saw the movie, what did you think? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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