Sports

Twitter Debate: Are Broncos the Real Deal or a Mirage After Beating Jaguars?

Courtland Sutton had a huge game receiving for the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Courtland Sutton had a huge game receiving for the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Denver Broncos via YouTube
Plenty of Broncos loyalists overreacted to the squad's season-opening 27-13 victory over the New York Giants — the first win in September during the not exactly glorious Vic Fangio era. And Twitter is now overflowing with similarly exuberant Broncos Country sentiments following win number two, a 23-13 besting of the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 19. Yet just as many observers — some objective, some not — are advising members of the Super Bowl-or-bust crowd to slow their roll.

So is the glass half full or half empty? In our estimation, both.

Yes, Denver is one of only two AFC teams at 2-0, along with the hated Las Vegas Raiders. Moreover, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who topped Drew Lock in an utterly predictable QB competition during training camp, is doing his Steady Teddy thing at a high level even though his throwing arm is more pop gun than rifle; versus the Jags, he completed 26 of his 34 passes for a better-than-decent 328 yards. Moreover, wide receiver Courtland Sutton, who missed most of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, had a breakout game in Jacksonville, racking up 159 yards on nine receptions despite still looking a bit fragile. As a bonus, rookie running back Javonte Williams put up solid numbers and first-round draft pick Pat Surtan II, who gave up a TD against the Giants, came down with his first NFL interception, helping the Broncos avoid one of their worst tendencies — playing down to crappy competition.

And make no mistake: The Jags are as bad as advertised. Following an initial drive in which he performed better than anyone expected, heavily hyped rookie Trevor Lawrence often looked downright incompetent, as indicated by his putrid stats (14 of 33 for 118 yards). But Denver's pass rush was the opposite of fearsome — the defense generated just one sack, by Von Miller — and the special teams unit gave up one of the 2021 campaign's most humiliating scores, a 102-yard kickoff return to Jamal Agnew during what should have been extended garbage time. How the hell does Broncos special team coordinator Tom McMahon still have a job?


Nonetheless, the Broncos triumphed, and the team is set to face its third consecutive homecoming-style opponent, the New York Jets, this coming weekend. If Denver avoids choking yet again, then week four, against the legitimately tough Baltimore Ravens, could be a game-changer.

Continue to get a sense of the ongoing Broncos Twitter back-and-forth in twenty tweets.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts