London game won’t be hung in a museum, but a win’s a win


Offense — B

That this went anywhere but the bottom of the North Atlantic after Denver’s first four drives is surprising enough. Those drives went 12 plays, 10 yards and zero first downs with three punts around an interception. That Russell Wilson and company put three real, actual American touchdowns on the board at Wembley Stadium — including two in the second half, and a game-winner to boot — stands as progress. There’s a lot to clean up, but Greg Dulcich and KJ Hamler emerging as real options for Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett threatens to change the outlook for the Broncos’ offense. Most of the time, 331 yards and 21 points is nothing to write home about. In this game, it was enough for a victory. That may be the case in a few more games this season, but Denver’s going to need more at times over the second half of the fall, too.

Defense — B+

Wilson and company will garner a lot of the attention and take up much of the conversation between now and when the Broncos go to Nashville in two weeks, but they don’t win this game without another sterling outing from the defense. Guys keep getting hurt and others keep stepping up. In London, that group included outside linebackers Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper. Ejiro Evero’s group keeps playing hard. Outside of giving up 32 points to Las Vegas, this unit is allowing 14.2 points per game. The only bugaboo: Travis Etienne rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown and almost willed the Jags to a victory. Almost.

Special teams — B-

Corliss Waitman punted the ball really well in front of family and friends, averaging 51.2 yards on six kicks. All three off of Brandon McManus’ foot went through the uprights and, for a change, they were all extra points. But the Broncos took delay-of-game penalties on a punt and a kickoff after scoring a touchdown, somehow. One bad punt return decision led to an iffy moment deep in Denver territory and Montrell Washington didn’t get going in the return game.


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