The Denver Broncos must have Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback if they’re to make the playoffs this year.
At least, he certainly gives them the best chance. Both Bridgewater and Drew Lock struggled last Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens physically dominated Denver at every turn, but Bridgewater has been the best QB in town since Peyton Manning.
Unfortunately, Bridgewater was injured near the end of the first half, hit in the head and the officials didn’t even see it. Neither did anyone else. It wasn’t until he failed to come out of the locker room in the second half that many people realized he was concussed, and Lock was thrust into the game.
The Broncos lost 23-7, their first defeat of the season, and taking two straight losses will hurt their chances of making the postseason.
Luckily, Bridgewater — the fifth-most accurate passer in the NFL — has progressed through the concussion protocol this week. On Friday, he was a full participant in Broncos practice and is expected to play on Sunday when they visit the Steelers.
Denver’s quarterback was hammered all game long by the Ravens, but he’s sure to be helped this week by starting guards Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow were also full participants and will play on Sunday.
However, the Broncos’ best receiver, Courtland Sutton, rolled an ankle on Thursday and was a surprise addition to the injury report as a questionable for Sunday. If he can’t play, that would really hurt the offense’s firepower because fellow receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are both on the Injured Reserve.
And then, there’s Deonte Spencer, the returner/receiver who sustained an injured chest last week, who’s also questionable, and backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam has officially been ruled out versus the Steelers.
Defensively, the Broncos have Patrick Surtain II also on the injury list this week, questionable with a chest injury he sustained late in the loss last week. Surtain has been everything the team could have wanted and more in terms of a first round pick, so they’ve got to be hoping he can play.
As for Pittsburgh, they’re missing out on a Sutton of their own, cornerback Cameron Sutton who’s dealing with a groin injury. Also out are backup lineman Rashaad Coward and backup defensive tackle Carlos Davis.
If Bridgewater and Co. are smart they’ll attack backup cornerback James Pierre in the passing game, while Von Miller and the defense do their best to get after Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Denver (3-1) faces Pittsburgh (1-3) at 11 a.m. MT Sunday.