3 Up 3 Down: Allen shines in first game starting

Nov 3, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) celebrates with quarterback Brandon Allen (2) after the game against the Cleveland Browns at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos are finally back on the right track after suffering a two-game skid.

The defense bent but refused to break throughout the game and the offense was the best it’s been in a long time, earning their highest yards-per-play since the Peyton-Manning-era.

Here are the three biggest stars and duds from Sunday’s victory.

3 Up

Brandon Allen

Brandon Allen was a revelation for the Broncos’ offense on Sunday night.

He threw more touchdown passes in the first half than Joe Flacco threw in the entire month of October. Allen threw for more yards than Flacco did in three of the past four games, and posted a passer rating of 125.6. That rating was easily the highest of the season, and it was just the second time in 2019 the Broncos had a passer rating above 100.

While his toughest matchups are still ahead of him, and his skill position players made him look a lot better than he really was, Allen still had a terrific game.

Noah Fant

Despite Allen’s lights-out play, Noah Fant was the star on offense for the Broncos.

Fant led the team in yards and trailed only Courtland Sutton for receptions. Broncos fans who believed him to be a bust must seriously reconsider their stance. Noah Fant has all the talent in the world and just needs to put the mental pieces together, which always seems to be a challenge for rookie tight ends.

After his embarrassing showing against the Chiefs, Fant has bounced back and looks to be one of the Broncos’ key weapons down the stretch.

Derek Wolfe

Derek Wolfe was all over the field on Sunday.

The veteran defensive lineman tallied four solo tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and was the thorn in Nick Chubb’s side all game long. Wolfe had the entire stadium howling for him throughout the game.

Without Wolfe’s help, especially in the run game, the Browns would’ve converted a lot more points on those five, second quarter drives that landed them inside the Broncos’ 40.

3 Down

Joe Flacco

Brandon Allen’s performance on Sunday hurt Flacco more than it helped him.

While Allen played a good game for Denver, he is by no means the quarterback of the future and in a best-case scenario, is just the long-term backup. Yet, the moment Denver inserted him into the offense it got much better than it was under Flacco.

The team appeared to have an energy on offense that just wasn’t there through the first eight weeks of the season. It makes you wonder if Joe Flacco ever takes another NFL snap.

Davontae Harris

Even though the Broncos are down to their fifth and sixth cornerbacks in Duke Dawson and Davontae Harris, the secondary has played incredibly well for them this season.

That hit a snag against the Browns’ talented receiving core that was consistently able to beat the Denver corners. While on one hand it’s hard to blame them, considering Cleveland has arguably the best receiving core in the league, they must get better before traveling to Minnesota to face the Vikings.

Harris will be matched up on either Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs nearly every single play, and will have to step up.

Tackling

If there’s one thing on defense that’s important to the mastermind, Vic Fangio, it’s strong tackling, which the Broncos greatly lacked against the Browns.

Outside of their third and fourth down stops on Cleveland’s fifth drive inside Broncos’ territory, it seemed that everytime Chubb got the ball, he picked up at least three yards after contact.

The Broncos would seemingly have the second-year back stuffed at the line, only for him to push the pile down the field for a three-yard gain.

Most egregious though, was the poor tackling on Odell Beckham Jr.’s two big catches and runs in the second half. The Broncos will have to tighten that aspect of their game up during the bye.

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