TE Albert Okwuegbunam
The third-year tight end had played a total of 18 offensive snaps since Week 4 but found himself back in the gameplan with Greg Dulcich injured and interim head coach Jerry Rosburg in charge. It wasn’t all pretty for Okwuegbunam – he had a pair of drops against the Chiefs – but he played the most snaps among the Broncos’ tight ends, led the team with 45 receiving yards, and reeled in a touchdown from Russell Wilson in the third quarter.
RB Chase Edmonds
The veteran running back finally got into a bit of a groove. He sustained a high-ankle sprain in his second game with the team after arriving as part of the Bradley Chubb trade in November, missed four games and wasn’t involved much against the Rams. Against Kansas City, he had 73 yards on 10 touches (seven carries, three catches), including a 27-yard reception. Edmonds is under contract for 2023 but with a $6 million cap hit and no guaranteed money, he is a candidate to have his contract restructured. He looks like he can help next year.
S Justin Simmons
Another week, another big play for Denver’s veteran safety, who notched his career-best sixth interception of the season on a touchdown-saving pick of Patrick Mahomes. Simmons missed five games this year due to quad and knee injuries and is still tied for the NFL lead in interceptions. All of his have come since Week 8. He’s now up to 27 in his career, second to only cornerback Xavien Howard since he was drafted.
CB Lamar Jackson
The third-year corner from Nebraska found himself thrown into the action when rookie Damarri Mathis suffered a concussion tackling Travis Kelce. In 41 snaps, Jackson mostly held up well against one of the best passing attacks in the NFL. He had a pass breakup in the end zone one play before Simmons’ interception. He signed with the Broncos in late November after spending part of the season with Chicago. He started several games for the New York Jets in 2020 and may be counted on again in Week 18 if Mathis doesn’t clear out of the NFL’s concussion protocol.
WR Montrell Washington
The rookie fifth-round pick was drafted to be Denver’s primary return man but on Sunday was inactive for the first time this season. Rosburg, regarded during his tenure in Baltimore as one of the best special teams coordinators in football, decided the Broncos had better options for the job. Washington showed flashes during the season, but also fumbled five times and has been inconsistent in his decision-making. It’ll be an important offseason for Washington whether he plays against Los Angeles in Week 18 or not.
Bradley Chubb: Traded. Randy Gregory: On injured reserve and only 34 snaps played since Week 4. Jacob Martin: On injured reserve with a knee injury. Baron Browning: Missed Sunday with a back issue. The Broncos’ edge rotation against Kansas City featured Jonathon Cooper, Nik Bonitto, Wyatt Ray and Jonathan Kongbo. As a defense, Denver didn’t sack Mahomes and only hit him three times. They’ll need a return to good health for Gregory in 2023, progress from Bonitto and Browning and fortification, too, to get back to being a disruptive group.
C Graham Glasgow
The veteran offensive lineman has been solid since taking over for Lloyd Cushenberry (injured reserve with a groin injury) midway through the season. The Broncos’ final play against Kansas City on Sunday proved a costly one, however. Glasgow thought Frank Clark jumped offside and snapped the ball to Russell Wilson, who was not expecting it. Then defensive tackle Chris Jones plowed between Glasgow and Quinn Bailey with little resistance and sacked Wilson, snuffing out Denver’s final shot at winning the game.
With offensive coordinator Justin Outten calling plays, Denver deployed multiple tight ends and multiple running backs frequently and more often than not stayed away from putting three and four receivers on the field. All four tight ends active for the game were involved, the Broncos continued to use Andrew Beck as a hybrid tight end/fullback and also deployed Edmonds and fellow running back Latavius Murray on the field together for about 10 snaps. It wasn’t an offensive revolution for Denver, but enough of a tweak to notice.