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Broncos Game Grades: Jarret Stidham holds his own in Denver’s 16-9 win over the Los Angeles Chargers

Henry Chisholm Avatar
January 5, 2024

The Broncos got back in the win column on Sunday in a New Year’s Eve contest against the Los Angeles Chargers. Denver’s 16-9 win improved their record to 8-8, but results aroudn the league eliminated them from playoff contention.

Here’s how the Broncos graded out…

(Check out the defensive grades here.)

Quarterbacks

Jarrett Stidham: C — Stidham wasn’t perfect on Sunday, but he did enough to beat the Chargers. His best play of the day was when he escaped the pocket and found Lil’Jordan Humphrey for a 51-yard catch and run. He didn’t hit on any deep shots, but I didn’t see any come open. His accuracy was hit or miss on the underneath throws.

Stidham finished with 20 completions on 32 attempts for 224 yards and a touchdown.

Running Backs

Jaleel McLaughlin: A — McLaughlin earned his first career start on Sunday, and he took advantage of it. He saw the field field well, hitting impossibly small creases. He finished with 44 yards on eight carries and 18 yards on three catches.

Javonte Williams: D — Williams’ 16-yard run was his longest in the past three weeks. Unfortunately, his 14 other runs totaled 25 yards.

Samaje Perine: C+ — Perine wasn’t efficient, and he missed a plug in pass protection at the end of the Broncos’ first drive, but he had his moments. In particular, he leaked out to convert the first third down of the game, he converted a 3rd & 2 on the second drive of the game and sparked the drive before halftime with a catch on a screen.

Michael Burton: A- — The Pro Bowl alternate opened up the game with a great block on the first play, to help blow open the edge on a run.

Wide Receivers

Jerry Jeudy: C- — Jeudy provided a couple of big plays. He pulled in 41 yards on a crosser before halftime. He drew a fourth-down pass interference that set the Broncos up at the one-yard line.

But he didn’t take advantage of all of his opportunities. He couldn’t bring in a ball behind him in tight coverage on the first drive. A few plays later, he couldn’t haul in a ball on the sideline that he should have caught.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey: A+ — Defenders got hands on Humphrey five times on his way to the end zone. None of them brought him down. His 69 receiving yards (51 of which came on that play) are the second-most of his career, coming in behind a 70-yard game against the Chargers in 2021.

Humphrey’s other catch came on the same route, but this time, the Chargers made the tackle and he only gained 15 yards. Humphrey continues his great work as a blocker, including when he pulled and hit a safety on the boundary to clear space for a 16-yard Javonte Williams run.

Brandon Johnson: B — Johnson caught four passes, and they were all on slants. Some were quick. Some were a little deeper. I’d call all of them slants. He totaled 27 yards, with the long being a 10-yarder.

Tight Ends

Adam Trautman: C+ — Trautman had a scary moment when a hip-drop tackle went wrong on the sideline. He turned out to be fine and came back in the game. That catch in the flat—a 9-yarder—was his only catch of the game.

Chris Manhertz: D+ — Manhertz is typically clean in the run game, but he was beaten a couple of times, like when he gave up a three-yard tackle of loss to Khalil Mack early in the third quarter.

Lucas Krull: B — Krull caught a couple of passes for 14 yards, including a nice gain on a screen.

Offensive Linemen

Garett Bolles: A- — Bolles drew a tough assignment against Khalil Mack, and he won the battle. The Broncos helped him out with a couple of chips. In the run game, Bolles wasn’t quite as clean, but keeping Mack away from the quarterback was his primary responsibility.

Ben Powers: C — Powers’ low point was a butt sack. He was knocked backward by Khalil Mack, all the way into his quarterback’s lap for a sack.

Lloyd Cushenberry III: A- — I’m giving Cushenberry the bulk of the blame for a pressure in the second quarter that resulted in a throw away, but other than that, he played a great game. He moved well in the running game. He was sharp in the passing game. He was crucial to a successful QB sneak.

Quinn Meinerz: B — The false start on the goal line kills his grade, but other than that play, he was great. The Broncos converted another quarterback sneak behind him. He opened up a running lane on a toss on the first play of the game. Samaje Perine followed him for a 3rd & 2 conversion. He grabbed Javonte Williams on a long run and pulled him the final few yards.

Mike McGlinchey: A — McGlinchey was only on the field for 14 plays, but he didn’t make any mistakes. He had a good combo block with Quinn Meinerz, an important solo block on a 3rd & 2 conversion, and he led Jaleel McLaughlin through a hole on a toss for a nine-yard gain.

Cam Fleming: D+ — Fleming, who came in for Mike McGlinchey, was beaten cleanly on his second drive of the game, and his man was in the backfield before the running back had the ball. Somehow, Jaleel McLaughlin bailed him out. Fleming had a couple of solid blocks on the edge in the fourth quarter.

(Check out the defensive grades here.)

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