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Why Friday night wasn't just a meaningless preseason win for the Broncos

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
August 25, 2018

Don’t you just love when things work the way they’re supposed to?

When the Denver Broncos built their current roster, that’s how it was supposed to work.

You run the ball well—the Broncos averaged 6.2 yards per carry in the first quarter— you build an early lead, you convert third downs you protect the ball and you flip the field.

Then, you unleash the hounds. The Broncos hit the Redskins’ quarterbacks 12 times in Friday night’s 29-17 win at FedEx Field.

Perfection.

“That’s what this team was designed to do,” defensive end Adam Gotsis told reporters after the game.

For two years now, the design has been flawed. A defense built to play with leads paired with an offense built to—umm—meddle? Too many three-and-outs, too many punts from the goal line, way too many turnovers.

So, when the weapons on ‘O’ finally held up their end of the bargain, the defense—who only gave up three points before the starters exited the game—was happy to pass off the credit.

“The way our offense was playing today obviously complimented us as a defense so we could go out and play our brand of football,” said Shane Ray.

“We’re going to be a tough team to beat if our offense can just continue to score points and get the lead for us,” Added Domata Peko. “That’s something that we didn’t have last year. We were kind of playing from behind the whole time, and it’s hard to rush the passer and get sacks when you’re down, and people are running the ball. Getting the lead forces teams to throw the ball and lets our guys like Von, Chubb, Shaq, Wolfe and all of us guys go out there and eat.”

Case Keenum, where have you been for the last two years?

Nothing flashy on the stat line, in fact, the QB didn’t toss a touchdown during his entire preseason, but No. 4 did exactly what the Broncos needed him to do—extend drives and take care of the ball. On the night, Keenum converted 50 percent of his third down opportunities, including a 15-yard strike to Emmanuel Sanders on 3rd-and-15, as he led the offense to 17 points on five drives.

On the preseason, Keenum didn’t cough the ball up once.

“That’s key, you know, more games are lost than won in this league,” head coach Vance Joseph said after the game. “If you take care of the ball, you have a chance to win each week.”

After starting the exhibition slate with three consecutive three-and-outs, the Broncos prized offseason acquisition and his boys drove 50 yards or more on five of their last seven drives.

Not to be forgotten, Marquette King averaged 47 yards on two punts on the night, just another part of the formula.

Preseason wins are meaningless, everyone knows, but this one had a bit more meat to it. To come out on an East Coast road trip and execute your formula to perfection on the way to a runaway victory in the third preseason game—that’s something worth getting excited over in the preseason.

With their last football until Week 1 now behind them, the Broncos starters are heading into two weeks of preparation with a confidence that they have the right pieces to make their formula work. Friday night was exactly what the doctor ordered.

That’s Denver Broncos football.

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