This past week saw a city come together in support of its competitive Broncos team and to simultaneously mourn the loss of a legend.

In a season filled with hope, the loss of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas shocked and devastated fans and players alike and the city grieved. But the grief turned into remembrance, remembrance turned into inspiration and that inspiration turned into a war cry.

The Broncos went into their tilt with the Detroit Lions in a frothing rage and disassembled them. Yes, it was another step in their goal of making the playoffs but far more importantly it was their way of honoring their fallen brother and friend.

Here are the best and worst Denver Broncos starters of week 14 according to

Best Offensive Performance- Melvin Gordon- 80.0 (3rd of 63 running backs)

In a week where Melvin Gordon told the media “I don’t think many people want me here…” when asked about his desire to re-sign with the Broncos, he came out an made a statement to his haters. Rushing for 111 yards and two touchdowns, he had arguably his best game in Denver.

Shurmur may have finally realized the recipe for success with this offense is simply, run the ball. With backs like Gordon and Williams, this should have been a no-brainer and this team most likely would have an even better record than it does now but, as they say, better late than never.

Aside from a few key fumbles over his time with the Broncos, Melvin Gordon has been an asset to this franchise and is still a potent back in this league. If this is the last time we see a Denver Broncos running back graded so highly, that could mean a deviation from the working formula and bad news for the outlook of the season.

Worst Offensive Performance- Courtland Sutton- 57.5 (77th of 111 wide receivers)

One of two things is happening here, possibly both: 1) Teddy Bridgewater is not looking Courtland Sutton’s way, or 2) Pat Shurmur doesn’t know how to utilize Courtland Sutton in the passing game.

After inking a nice new 4-year $60-plus million contract, it should be a non-question as to whether that player would be integral in the Broncos offense, yet here we are watching a talented player take snaps that ultimately go to someone else.

George Paton obviously believes the wide receivers on this team are essential to Denver’s success and if they are not going to be targeted then that means a likely end for either Bridgewater or Shurmur in the short term.

Sutton did what was asked of him on Sunday which was run routes and block for his running backs and he did so without complaint. When the team is winning that is fine, but if it loses, this could become a sticking point very quickly.

Best Defensive Performance- Justin Simmons- 89.9 (1st of 91 safeties)

In case anyone was wondering, Justin Simmons is the best safety in the NFL. Sure, there are a slew of talented guys out there and the needle of success is always moving, but when talking about the total package, Justin Simmons is it.

On Sunday, the Broncos defense was fantastic. They weren’t perfect but they kept points off the board and are now the second-ranked defense in points allowed, behind only the New England Patriots. Simmons is the leader of this unit. Simmons is the heartbeat of this unit.

Regardless of how this season unfolds, the Broncos will be in a good spot for years with No. 31 leading the charge.

Worst Defensive Performance- Shelby Harris- 36.7 (124th of 136 defensive linemen)

This one is a bit baffling considering Harris batted down a key third-down down pass, as well as forced a fumble with help from Kenny Young.

Denver’s defensive line has not been the suffocating force that it has been in the past but the rotation of players they have assembled have gotten the job done and to a fairly high standard. The issues stopping the run have been well documented and could be a problem down the road and it’s an area that Harris and company need to improve upon.

The home stretch is here and players like Harris will need to step their game up now, but he is a vet and know what it takes to win in this league. Look for him to bounce back against Joe Burrow and company next week.