BRONCOS

The QB didn’t matter on Sunday, the Broncos defense is too legit

Dec 11, 2023, 1:39 AM | Updated: 3:03 pm

The Denver Broncos beat their AFC West rival the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 24-7 on Sunday. It’s the first time they’ve won at SoFi Stadium, and the game was not close at all.

I like when the Broncos make it look easy. It’s tough to win in the NFL, so the way they beat the Chargers should be praised.

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

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

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Two Quarterbacks, One Goal

There is no doubt that the Broncos defense led the way in Week 14. Justin Herbert started for the Chargers, but he did not finish the game. Easton Stick came in when Herbert was knocked out with a hand injury. After the game, Chargers HC Brandon Staley said Herbert suffered a fractured finger in his throwing hand in the team’s Week 14 loss to the Broncos.

Sometimes we see backup quarterbacks come in and thrive against defenses. A team is prepared to face the starter, but when a reserve comes in there can be a boost for the team. Even if the quarterback is less talented, there may be tendencies he has that a team is not prepared for. Stick is a different quarterback from Herbert, but the Broncos’ defense did not change.

They have the same goal, no matter who they’re facing. The Broncos want to swarm around the quarterback and create disrupted dropbacks. While many fans will focus on the 6.0 sacks – which is great – we should know that sacks are sometimes deceptive. The Broncos defense can have a great game without collecting sacks if they’re disrupting dropbacks, and they are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to that advanced number.

This defense generates turnovers, and they swarm to the football. They’ll face the Chargers again, but who knows if Herbert will be out there or if his injury is season ending. No matter what, he’s the best quarterback left on the schedule and the team took care of business. This defense can handle any offense left in front of them in the regular season. Then, if they make it, we’ll see what they can do in the postseason.

***

Sutton is the One

Hang around Broncos fans long enough, and someone is bound to highlight how the Broncos do not have a true no.1 wide receiver. Turn on 104.3 The Fan, and I’m sure someone on our airwaves (cough, James Merilatt, cough) will say the same thing. For most of Courtland Sutton’s career, he has not been the no.1 receiver the team hoped he would be when they selected him in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft.

With four games left, Sutton has already set a career high in touchdown catches (10) in a single season. Over the four previous seasons, Sutton had only 10 touchdowns combined and in his five years before this year he has 14 touchdown receptions. Sutton is in the end zone regularly, and he’s clearly the favorite target for QB Russell Wilson. Sutton’s 10 touchdown catches are tied for second in the league with Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, and he’s only two touchdown grabs behind Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill (12).

So, how do you define a no.1 receiver? Sure, Sutton does not have a 100-yard game this season, but he’s also playing on one of the most conservative offenses in the league. He’s held back by Wilson’s inability to run the Payton offense, but he’s still coming through on limited targets. Hill has only two more touchdown grabs, but he’s got 40 more receptions than Sutton – and he’ll add to that number because the Dolphins play on Monday night. Put Sutton on a more high-powered offense, and I’m certain his number of receptions and receiving yards would be greater.

I’m not sure about you, but Sutton is a no.1 receiver to me. Taking the team into consideration, Sutton is doing what a top receiver does for his team. This is not fantasy football, and the nature of this offense will not boost Sutton’s numbers as much as others – and he’s still producing. He’s not catching passes from a tier-1 quarterback, yet Sutton does not complain and only makes plays – big plays – regularly.

***

One Game Behind

With the Broncos win and the Buffalo Bills beating the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver is now only one game behind the top spot in the AFC West. After a 1-5 start, there is a chance the Broncos could win the division. Now, that’s a possibility but rewind to just a month ago and it seemed crazy.

The Broncos are surging in recent weeks, and they haven’t even played their best football. The Chiefs are struggling, and things seem to be bubbling over as evidenced by QB Patrick Mahomes’ meltdown on Sunday afternoon. If the Broncos continue to improve and the Chiefs fail to play up to expectations, then the improbable could become the outcome nobody was predicting.

The only problem? The Chiefs have an easy schedule to finish the 2023 season. In the next four games, only one team left on their schedule (the Cincinnati Bengals) have a winning record. Games against the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Las Vegas Raiders should all end up as “W’s” for the Chiefs. I could see the Broncos winning out as well, but next week’s game against the Detroit Lions will be a larger test than anything the Chiefs have coming up.

The Chiefs own the tiebreaker with the Broncos, so Kansas City would have to collapse to lose the division title. Denver needs to control what they can control – themselves – and let the rest take care of itself.

***

Self-Insert is Bad Writing for Established Characters

The comic book world was up in arms last week over what I consider to be a true statement. Glenn O’Leary, the owner of The Comic Book Palace in Massachusetts, caused a stir on his YouTube channel when he blasted new comic book writers for “self-inserting” when writing legacy characters.

The self-insert is a writing trope, and it’s quite common when it comes to new characters or stories. As a comic book writer, many of my stories for Smokin Gun Comics have echoes of my experiences and some of my characters have traits like me. I think that’s okay for new characters, but if I was writing Batman or Spider-man I would write them as the characters they are and have been for decades.

O’Leary was merely stating a fact. If you’re writing Iron Man, people want to read about Tony Stark. Nobody buys an Iron Man book to read about Stark acting like someone he’s not – the writer! Many comic book pros took to Twitter to blast O’Leary for his opinion, but some of the biggest in the business like the legendary Rob Liefeld tweeted his support. I agree with Liefeld or Mark Millar in defending O’Leary. With the comic book industry down and store owners like O’Leary struggling, writers and artists should not be blasting someone who orders their books and guides customers over a valid opinion.

Are you tired of the way superheroes are being written? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

***

Follow Cecil Lammey on Twitter and Instagram: @cecillammey

 

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