The Denver Broncos won their eighth game of the season on Sunday after they defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 16-9. In a week filled with drama after Russell Wilson was benched, Denver’s offense still had some of the same struggles.

Denver Broncos end 2023 with a home win

Jarrett Stidham took every snap under center on Sunday after the Denver Broncos went away from Russell Wilson earlier in the week. Broncos head coach Sean Payton said that the move was made to help provide the offense with a spark, but Sunday’s game didn’t possess it. Despite the win, the Broncos were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

“It is what it is,” Payton said. “I mean, look, we kind of had that opportunity [to win] a week ago and then ‘ugh’. I think more importantly than any of that, and that’s very important, is our focus heading into next week and getting our ninth win. That’ll be a good challenge. Certainly, that’s a goal [to make the playoffs] when you start the beginning of the year. It was a goal of ours. Yes, it’s disappointing.”

Stidham and the offense had a couple of flashes, but nothing about the offense sparked on Sunday as Denver swept the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite being without wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims, Stidham did connect with Lil’Jordan Humphrey twice for 69 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown on a catch and run.

Stidham also found Jerry Jeudy three times for 54 yards, including a 41-yard catch and run at the end of the first half. Overall, Stidham didn’t provide the Broncos offense with the spark that Payton wanted them to, but they found production in certain areas.

“I thought he was good,” Payton said of Stidham’s performance. “I thought he was collected, calm. I thought he played with really good poise. He felt experienced relative to a guy who hasn’t had as many minutes maybe as some others. You certainly didn’t feel that during the course of the game. I thought he was efficient in and out of the huddle. I thought he made some good throws for us overall until I see the tape. I thought it went pretty good.”

The Broncos rushed for just barely over 100 yards in Sunday’s win, led by Jaleel McLaughlin, who had eight carries for 44 yards, and Javonte Williams, who had 15 carries for 41 yards.

Humphrey’s touchdown catch was Denver’s only touchdown of the afternoon, and kicker Wil Lutz booted in three field goals to help Denver put points up on the board.

The Broncos defense held it down on the afternoon, holding the Chargers offense led by Easton Stick to 2-of-11 on third down, 86 yards rushing, and forcing one turnover.

Broncos bits vs. Chargers

The Broncos lost two players during Sunday’s game against the Chargers to injury.

Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (ribs) and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell (knee) left Sunday’s win against the Chargers and did not return. Veteran Cam Fleming filled in for McGlinchey at right tackle to finish the game.

“Well look—let me answer your last question,” Payton said. “We would approach this injury-wise like it was Week 2 or Week 6. If they’re healthy and cleared, we’re going to play [them]. That’s one is easy. I don’t have an update. [T] Mike’s [McGlinchey] was [a] ribs and [S Delarrin] Turner’s [Yell] was [a] knee. I think Mike’s going to be fine. I’m hopeful with ‘Turner.’ It sounds like it has a chance to be serious, but I don’t want to give you the wrong information.”

Overall, Denver’s offensive line did a solid job holding up in protection for most of the afternoon with Stidham only being sacked twice for a total loss of 12 yards.

The Broncos will close out the season next week in Las Vegas against the Raiders.