After a four-game losing streak, the Denver Broncos finally emerged with a 17-10 win against the struggling Washington Football Team. It was a sloppy game for both teams, but a win is a win in the NFL and, though it did not feel as satisfying as some would like, the Broncos got the job done.
Now back at a .500 record, Denver could be at another crucial point in its season. The next few games will determine the future of the 2021 season for the Broncos, beginning with a tough matchup with the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium in the heart of Texas.
Denver will need consistency and, in some cases, vast improvement if they hope to stand a chance against Dak Prescott and crew.
Here are the best and worst Denver Broncos starters according to PFF against the Washington Football Team.
Best Offensive Performance- Albert Okwuegbunam- 88.7 (3rd of 98 tight ends)
When Albert Okwuegbunam got his mitts on the ball on Sunday, he looked to have that toughness and playmaking ability Denver has been missing. Though the statistics don’t jump out at you (three catches for 34 yards) he looked the part of NFL receiver both in the run game and the blocking game.
Bridgewater with a nice pass to Albert Okwuegbunam pic.twitter.com/OvbJPZrg7A
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 31, 2021
Since Virgil Green, Denver has been missing a good blocking tight end and Okwuegbunam looks like he may just be the guy to deploy in obvious blocking situations. Not only that, he can get open and move the chains.
He has size, physicality and desire. Now if he can just stay healthy…
Worst Offensive Performance- Noah Fant- 36.9 (59th of 98 tight ends)
Again and again, it seems like Noah Fant is just a non-factor game to game.
The upside is extremely evident. He is a freak athlete with amazing speed for his size, but whether it be lack of desire, or bad scheming by coaches, He just hasn’t been worth a first-round draft pick.
Can’t have Noah Fant blocking one on one.
— Jon Kronenberg (@JonKayNFL) October 31, 2021
Fant received a pass-blocking grade of 0.0 which is as bad as it gets. Denver needs a lot more from him both blocking and as a pass-catcher as they hope to be competitive on the offensive side of the ball moving forward. He seems to be lacking a certain toughness and passion that they could desperately use.
Best Defensive Performance- Justin Simmons- 80.2 (9th of 93 safeties)
The defensive leader of this Denver Broncos team put his money where his mouth is and had a fabulous showing on Sunday with seven tackles and two interceptions.
This was a momentous performance, not only for Simmons but for the Broncos defense as a whole. All day they were able to exert their will upon the Washington Football Team and looked like the dominant force they were expected to be.
Simmons led the charge and walked away as the most impactful player on the field which is a positive takeaway for a team that is trying to make itself relevant again.
Justin Simmons : 7 tackles & 2 INT's pic.twitter.com/IxdSmJt0pQ
— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) November 1, 2021
Worst Defensive Performance- Kenny Young- 34.8 (89th of 105 linebackers)
Though he was praised after the game by Vic Fangio and Justin Simmons, Kenny Young did not grade out well in his Broncos debut. According to PFF’s grading system, Young seemed to really struggle in run defense with only a 29.1 mark.
On tape, nothing stood out as a glaring weakness and he started the game nicely but he did disappear a bit in the second half.
ILB Kenny Young has looked good in his first game as a Broncos player.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 31, 2021
This grade is a bit of a head-scratcher, but Broncos fans shouldn’t be worried. Young had only three practices with his new team and is learning a whole new system. It will come with time so expect him to be impactful moving forward.