PFF Preview: Can Broncos still rush the passer without Chubb?

Broncos, Bradley Chubb

The Broncos have their backs against the wall, they must record a win Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Following this game, the Broncos will play the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, meaning in the blink of an eye, the Broncos’ season could go from dire to hopeless.

What do the analytics say about the Broncos’ chances to get off the mat?

Let’s take a look.

Will “The Dream-Killer” kill Denver’s pass rush?

Arguably more devastating than the defeat to the Jaguars on Sunday, was the loss of star pass rusher Bradley Chubb to a torn ACL injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

With Chubb out of the picture undrafted rookie Malik Reed — dubbed “The Dream-Killer” by Von Miller — will be forced to step up. That may not be the end of the world though, as Reed has performed well so far this season.

Reed’s pass-rush grade of 66.8 ranks third-best on the team, behind only Chubb and rookie stud Dre‘Mont Jones (Min. 10 pass rushes). He’s also been one of the team’s surest tacklers, earning a grade of 80.2, the second-highest on the team behind only Justin Simmons’ 83.2 (Min. 15 snaps).

Also giving the Broncos’ pass rush hope, at least for this game, is the Chargers’ abhorrent offensive line.

As a team, the Chargers have earned pass-blocking and run-blocking grades of 61.0 and 56.6, and ranking 25th and 19th respectively. The achilles heel of the line is the tackle position where Trent Scott and Sam Tevi are the starters. Tevi and Scott rank as the league’s 44th and 45th-best starting tackles and have allowed a combined 22 pressures, eight quarterback hits and seven quarterback sacks in three games, or roughly three pressures, a hit and a sack per game each.

Broncos must stop Keenan Allen

The Broncos haven’t done a great job locking down top receivers this year. They allowed Tyrell Williams to catch six passes for 105 yards and a score in the opener, Marquez Valdes-Scantling also reeled in six balls though he recorded 99 yards and a score.

The Broncos can’t let Keenan Allen have the same success this week. That’ll be easier said than done, as Allen has been nigh unstoppable this season, hauling in a staggering 34 catches for 452 yards and three touchdowns. As impressive as Austin Ekeler has been, Keenan Allen has been the straw that stirs the Chargers’ drink.

Allen has the fourth-highest overall offensive grade on the Chargers with an 84.4, and he’s moved the chains for his team 21 times already this season. If Chris Harris Jr. can’t bounceback from his so far disappointing season (67.6 overall grade, seventh-highest graded defensive player), the Broncos could have their hands more than full with the former Cal Bear.

Denver (0-4) faces the Chargers (2-2) in Los Angeles this Sunday, with a 2:05 p.m. MT scheduled start.

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