Thirteen things about the Broncos, one for each of Kansas City receiver Tyreek Hill’s 13 touchdown catches this year:
1. Broncos rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia did not play a defensive snap against Las Vegas and Miami, being eliminated due to a combined six missed tackles against the Chargers and Atlanta. Coach Vic Fangio kept Bryce Callahan on the outside and gave rookie Essang Bassey a second chance to play the part of Nickel.
2. However, Ojemudia is back in the rotation after Callahan (foot) was placed on the injured reserve. Ojemudia played 25 snaps in the second half against New Orleans, allowing for a 20-yard completion, but also showed good physicality to stop receiver Michael Thomas for a one-yard rush.
3. “I thought he tackled better (against New Orleans),” Fangio said of Ojemudia. “When you play the corner position in the NFL, it’s a challenging position to play and it doesn’t get any more challenging than the Chiefs. (I’d) like to see him improve from week to week, hit the ball a few times, have good, tight coverage when we need it and when he’s called to tackle, to come for us. “
4. Half lost in last weekend’s shuffle of madness, with the quarterbacks ineligible by league office, continued to tackle Garett Bolles’ four-year $ 68 million contract. “I just think he has played extremely well,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. ‘It’s well blocked. He is well blocked. He’s a tough, competitive man and I think that is what you need to do if you are going to play this game and he showed me that all along. “
5. It’s wild to think back to the design, when general manager John Elway declared he needed to take the left in an open competition between Bolles and Elijah Wilkinson. The Broncos ‘decision to reject Bolles’ fifth year option was made days later. Of course, Bolles locked up the left tackle spot when Ja’Wuan James retired from the season, sending Wilkinson back to the right tackle.
6. Letting Bolles re-sign keeps the franchise tag open to safety Justin Simmons, who will be playing on the tag this year. If talks don’t develop after the season, the Broncos may re-tag Simmons (at 120% of his 2020 salary, about $ 13.73 million) in hopes of reaching a long-term deal.
7. Led by lead contract negotiator Rich Hurtado, the Broncos Bolles, kicker Brandon McManus and nose Mike Purcell have re-signed for contract renewals in the season. Anyone next? Simmons is the big one, but if Shelby Harris’ defensive ending ends strongly after returning from the COVID-19 / reserve list, it makes sense to lock him up because DeMarcus Walker is a free agent and Jurrell Casey could be a main victim.
8. Leading up to the New Orleans game, Fangio said Saints coach Sean Payton is getting better as a play-caller. I asked Fangio before practice on Thursday if he has improved as a defensive play-caller. “From every experience, good and bad, you learn from and you just fall behind well when you have the experience of things that happened, things that you used, when it is a good time to make a call and if not so is, ”he said. “There are no guarantees it will work. I think the more you do it – and it’s been a few years since you called them – you get better. But it doesn’t mean you won’t have a bad series or a bad game. “
9. When Rigoberto Sanchez made his NFL debut with Indianapolis in 2017, Tom McMahon was the Indianapolis special teams coordinator. Now with the Broncos, McMahon was asked about Sanchez on Thursday, days after he announced a cancer diagnosis. “My heart is with him,” said McMahon. “He’s going to win this thing and there’s no question about it. He’s going to recover. He can be better than ever. It was great to coach him. He did everything you asked him to do and he did it correctly. This is a guy who wins on the field and he’s going to beat cancer – he’s going to catch that kick and he’ll be fine. “
10. Shurmur didn’t burn the New Orleans tape. In fact, there may be some plays that can be pulled out of that gameplan, especially with Royce Freeman running back. “We ran the ball and implemented some basic concepts just from a ‘Wildcat’ formation,” said Shurmur. “Who knows, those things could pop up periodically now, because we were forced to (perform those plays) in a real game.”
11. The Kansas City defense is middle in most statistical categories, with the exception of two outliers: points allowed (21.6 per game, sixth best) and red zone (74.1% – last in the NFL). In the past seven games, opponents have scored 16 touchdowns in 18 red-zone trips.
12. The Broncos lead the league with 26 revenues (2.4 per game), having hit the total of 16 last year. At their current pace, the Broncos will finish at 38, who won’t even be in the top 15 in team history. The record was set in 1961 (68 sales), 14 more than any other year.
13. A Sunday night victory for the Chiefs would be their 11th consecutive win over the Broncos, tying Kansas City’s record in the series (November 1964-November 1969). During the streak, the Chiefs outperformed the Broncos by 30.1-16.4 on average.