BRONCOS

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton does it again in another Denver win

Dec 11, 2023, 1:09 AM | Updated: 3:04 pm

The Denver Broncos made it look easy on Sunday. They beat the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 24-7, but it really wasn’t even that close.

The Broncos played great defense and played a balanced approach on offense. Not everything was perfect on offense, but the defense kept swarming the Chargers while the offense seemed to click more as the game went on.

After the game, Broncos HC Sean Payton praised what it took to get the win.

“I’ll be brief. Good overall, it was a good team win. I thought the one thing that stood out was our ability to play a lot of that game on their end of the field, especially in light of how it started. We get off the field, defensively. We talk about it a lot, but it did feel like most of the game was on their end of the field, and then when mistakes happen, like the interception, they become more significant. A lot of things to look at and point out. The third down numbers were big. Turnovers, we won, plus one. [Broncos WR Courtland] Sutton’s big play, [Broncos QB] Russell’s [Wilson] throw. Defensively, we did a good job harassing the quarterback, both of them. It was a good win.” Payton said.

Here are three observations from the Broncos win over the Chargers in Week 14.

***

Earned Confidence

The biggest play of the day came from WR Courtland Sutton. In fact, Sutton’s play might have been the best of any player in Week 14. With the Broncos offense sputtering in the third quarter, Sutton caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from QB Russell Wilson to make the score 17-0.

Not only did Sutton catch the pass, but he also caught it with one hand. Not only did Sutton catch it with one hand, but he also caught it with a defender draped all over him. Not only did Sutton catch it with a defender draped all over him, but he was also interfered with and still able to pull the ball in. A flag was thrown, but the penalty was declined because the play resulted in a touchdown.

Sutton is Wilson’s favorite target, but the two did not do much outside of that one play. It was a great play, but 46 of Sutton’s 62 yards (on three catches) came on that play. When the chips are down, and Wilson needs to make a big play, Sutton is usually on the other end of his throws.

Payton talked about the play – and their connection – after the game.

“He’s like that – big, powerful. It was a play that was called for [Broncos WR Jerry] Jeudy. The coverage actually went to the field where Jeudy was. If you notice one thing on that play though, I think [Broncos QB] Russell [Wilson] had seven, eight seconds. We had great protection. Obviously, that was the second part of a broken play. There’s a lot of confidence that Russ [Wilson] has in [Broncos WR] Courtland [Sutton]. It’s earned certainly. He gets the penalty, and he still makes the play. It’s impressive.” Payton said.

***

By Defense Be Driven

There is no doubt the Broncos won this game because of their defense. The Chargers have a superstar in QB Justin Herbert, but he looked incredibly uncomfortable against Denver on Sunday. Herbert was knocked from the game due to injury, but before he left the Broncos sacked him four times. He completed only about half his passes, and Herbert was rattled by a more aggressive defense.

Herbert was replaced by backup QB Easton Stick. The Chargers did get one big play from Stick’s arm (a 57-yard throw to WR Quentin Johnston), but he was struggling with pressure like Herbert was. Stick has some mobility to his game, but the Broncos sensed blood in the water when he came into the game.

Denver’s defense is weak against the run, but the Chargers could not move it regularly on the ground. They used three running backs (Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller) but only ran 19 times for 76 yards and one rushing touchdown. Had the Chargers had more persistence when it came to running the ball, then perhaps they could have had more success. However, Denver’s defense was feeling it and playing inspired football.

Payton praised his defense’s performance after the game.

“We knew that they were going to go for it more often than not. I think that they converted one fourth down. I was pleased. It was a big turn there to come away with no points given up, and then, there were a number of drives. I think one resulted in a touchdown. Usually, we talk about two first downs, if you’re backed up inside. Two first downs puts you into a neutral position. We were able to do that and then some. It was one of our better team wins this year.” Payton said.

***

Coach Not Worried about Jerry

Last week, Jeudy was frustrated by his lack of usage. On Sunday against the Chargers, Jeudy led the team in targets with six. However, the frustration was with the fans this week as Jeudy only caught two of those passes for just 16 yards.

The team clearly wanted to get Jeudy more involved this week. Jeudy had one deep pass go right through his hands which would have boosted his production in a big way. Jeudy also had a touchdown overturned because he could not get two feet inbound as he was going out of the bounds.

Just those two players highlight the struggles of Jeudy. If he’s not used, then Jeudy is frustrated and will visibly show that. Then, the Broncos use Jeudy more and he fails to play up to his potential.

Payton was quite brief (and seemed a little agitated) when answering another question about getting Jeudy involved.

“He’ll get his touches. The key is winning, right? He had a chance to make a play or two today and he made a few plays early on. I’m not as worried about it.” Payton said.

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Broncos WR Courtland Sutton does it again in another Denver win