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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018

Last week it was more of the same. The Broncos mustered just 112 yards and three first downs and punted four times in the first half against Oakland, only to score on all four of their second half possessions to turn 12-0 and 19-7 deficits into a 20-19 win. In the process, they've taken on their quarterback's personality—to keep swinging no matter how tough things get.

"How he leads our team has been breathtaking," Joseph said. "Obviously our team believes in him, but when you have a guy who has so much confidence in his own game, but a toughness, and he's a winner, it gives you hope. It allows his teammates to continue to play, knowing that, if we get the ball back to Case, we're going to be fine. If we're driving in the fourth quarter or we need a field goal to win, we're going to be fine. He provides hope."

2) Bradley Chubb, edge rusher, Denver Broncos

Chubb has to work on getting off blocks, but he made an instant impact in the season opener with half a sack and a handful of hurries opposite an unstoppable Von Miller. More than just a pass rusher, he was a force against Marshawn Lynch and Oakland's ground attack in Week 2.

A big reason why the Broncos are averaging 427.5 yards per game (fourth in the NFL) is their ability to avoid minus-yardage plays and produce explosive plays.

The Broncos have allowed only two sacks (tied for second fewest), which keeps them out of long- yardage situations, and their six negative plays are tied for the league's fewest with Arizona, Detroit and Tennessee.

So when he reached out I called him and we talked. He went on to explain how he grew up a Broncos fan and read my book and kind of what it meant to him to play for Denver and then to wear that jersey.

I thought it was appropriate for a number of reasons. Obviously No. 1, it's easy to give to somebody who's an underdog, for me. That just makes sense. And I had already heard about him and watched him through the OTAs and all the way through the offseason and then in preseason.

It's kind of cool actually. I'm like, "Hey, man, rock it." To me, a number doesn't make me as a person or anything like that.

Now every team has some version of reviewing end-game scenarios, but these Broncos are seeing it up close after two last-minute wins, won by a combined four points.

"Every Friday we have 'Football 101' and basically put our team in one big room and we talk through situational football," Joseph said this week. "Like two-minute, and four-minute and different penalties and those things -- those guys were very aware that we didn't have any timeouts and they played it smart.''

The Broncos (2-0) had no problem frustrating another mobile quarterback, Seattle's Russell Wilson, in a Week 1 victory when Denver pressure forced six sacks. The mechanics of stopping Jackson will be similar with priorities on blitz spacing and containment. But Jackson, the final pick of the NFL draft's first round last spring, provides an even more non-traditional test.

"(Jackson) is a good athlete, so you can't treat him like a wildcat player because he can throw the football," Joseph said. "Obviously, we're going to have a plan for him. I won't share that, but we have a plan for him. ... He's played about four to five snaps with (Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco) on the field. It's going to happen, and again, we have a plan for it. We can't be surprised by that and give up a cheap play. That's why they're going to do it, obviously, to catch you slipping and to make a big play on you. We can't allow it."

_It was not easy, nor was it pretty, but the Broncos outlasted their inferior opponent. Broncos fans might not feel great about barely sneaking out this win, but the team gained plenty of confidence by handling the slow start. It got hit in the face with adversity and it stepped up when it mattered most. The performances from talented young players Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick were key to the win, but so was the play of veterans Peko, Sanders and Von Miller. _