Broncos Country, let’s hide. For 59 minutes and 31 seconds, the Denver Broncos were in position to beat the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens. In a matter of seconds, Denver found yet another way to lose. We take a look at the studs and duds from the Broncos’ ninth loss of the season.
Stud: Justin Simmons
Safety Justin Simmons came up with two interceptions against the Ravens. One pick came in the end zone, halting a promising Baltimore drive. Both interceptions came in the second half, bringing his season total to three picks. Unfortunately, those turnovers only led to three total points.
Dud: Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson went 17-of-22 for 189 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. For the second straight game, Wilson failed to surpass 200 passing yards, and for the fourth game this season, failed to throw a touchdown pass. There are so many issues on this side of the ball, it is hard to point the finger at one particular man or problem for the ineptitude the Broncos have encountered. On the other hand, Wilson’s massive contract is looming large, and he deserves plenty of blame for Denver’s struggles.
Stud: Brandon McManus
As has been the case numerous this season, McManus accounted for every point the Broncos scored against the Ravens. McManus made field goals of 52, 41 and 50 to give the Broncos a 9-3 lead late in the game. At the end, for the second time this season, McManus was called upon for a 60-plus yard field goal at the end of regulation. The 63-yard attempt fell short, leaving some to question if the kick might have been good in Denver. In all likelihood, with the way the season has gone, it might have still been short.
Dud: 5-minute defense
With 5:02 left in the fourth quarter, punter Corliss Waitman pinned the Ravens inside their own 10. Clinging to a six-point lead, the Broncos defense was called upon to preserve the advantage. On the drive, Baltimore faced three 3rd downs and two 4th downs. The Ravens converted those fourth downs, and the Denver defense gifted 32 yards in penalties, including a back-breaking pass interference penalty by Pat Surtain on a crucial third down after the two-minute warning. The defense has given up a lead in two of the past three games. Despite being near the top of every defensive metric this year, they’ve been the straw breaks the camel’s back at the worst possible times.
Stud: Greg Dulcich
Tight end Greg Dulcich has become a big target for quarterback Russell Wilson. Against the Ravens, Dulcich caught six passes for 85 yards, leading all pass-catchers for the Broncos offense. His longest catch of the day was for 30 yards. Dulcich has proven to be a reliable target in big situations, especially with all the injuries to receivers this season.
Dud: 2022 regular season
At the beginning of the 2022 season, the Broncos were picked by many to be a dark-horse playoff contender. Twelve weeks into the season, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Broncos’ offense has hit historic levels of inefficiency, while the defense has risen to the top of many NFL metrics. This lopsided combination has Denver at the bottom of the AFC West, securing another losing season and leaving fans wondering how they will lose next week.
Mercifully, the Broncos were flexed out of Sunday Night Football in Week 14, where they will face the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs.