The Broncos’ stock report after their 34-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
WR Jerry Jeudy
Jeudy put together a big outing, reeling in three touchdowns and finishing with eight catches for 73 yards. Perhaps more promising is the trend he’s been on over a slightly longer horizon. In his past seven games, Jeudy is on a 1,100-yard pace and over his past four, he’s catching 80.6% of his targets and averaging 75 yards per game. Over his first six games this year, Jeudy logged catches on only 47.2% of his targets. The key for the former first-rounder from Alabama is to play consistently and stay healthy. The first part of that equation appears to be coming around.
LB Josey Jewell
Any time you do something that hasn’t been done in more than two decades, it’s notable. Jewell had the first multi-interception game by a Broncos linebacker since Al Wilson in 2000. And he did it against Patrick Mahomes. And both came as Denver tried to mount its comeback. In nine games this season, Jewell has 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and now two interceptions. He should get Pro Bowl consideration.
QB Russell Wilson
The veteran quarterback’s health is the main concern after he suffered a concussion early in the fourth quarter. Before that, he was putting together his best game as a Bronco. Wilson threw for 247 yards and rushed for 57 more, putting him past 300 total yards for the first time since Week 1. He also logged his first three-touchdown game passing. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but given the injury situation at receiver and running back, there are also more glimmers of hope regarding Wilson’s level of play than in recent weeks.
RB Marlon Mack
You create the biggest play of the season by a Broncos running back, you get a spot on the list. Mack was pressed back into duty behind Latavius Murray after Mike Boone’s ankle injury and scored on a 66-yard screen pass. He also rushed for 15 yards on three carries, though the second attempt at a screen to him was snuffed out. Denver’s holding its running back group together with spit and glue this year, and Mack will likely be counted on again down the stretch.
The Broncos played without left guard Dalton Risner for the first time this season and the results were not pretty. His absence was compounded by Denver’s other injuries up front, such as center Lloyd Cushenberry, but the combination of rookie Luke Wattenberg, reserve Quinn Bailey and practice squader Netane Muti struggled to consistently block Kansas City’s defensive front. Wattenberg started and struggled at left guard. It’s not all on him, necessarily. A center by trade, that’s an awfully big ask to put him in at an unnatural position with little training.
Bonitto’s workload ticked back up to 28 snaps (41%) after he played just one snap against Baltimore, which perhaps isn’t a surprise given Kansas City’s pass-dominant offense compared to the Ravens’ run-oriented approach. Bonitto’s production has dried up as his rookie season progresses. He had one assisted tackle Sunday and he has just one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss in Denver’s past five games.
Wide receiver Kendall Hinton injured his hamstring in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. He said in the locker room he was hopeful to not miss much time, but if he can’t play against Arizona on Sunday, he’ll be the 12th Bronco to miss at least one game to a hamstring injury this season. The other 11 have combined to miss 33 games this year due to hamstring injuries and fellow receivers KJ Hamler (out for the season) and Courtland Sutton along with linebacker Dakota Allen could miss more time.
QB Brett Rypien
Certainly not an easy position to be thrown into, but that’s life for backup quarterbacks. Rypien hit Jerry Jeudy for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal. On two drives with a chance to take the lead, though, Rypien fumbled a shotgun snap that snuffed out one — to be fair, Denver was backed up deep in its own territory — and threw an interception after getting hit by Chris Jones as he threw. If Rypien’s the starter against Arizona on Sunday, the offensive staff will have to find ways to get him in a rhythm and keep the unit in situations where it doesn’t ask too much of the fourth-year man from Boise State.