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Rookie tracker: Lindsay and Freeman combine for three scores vs. Chargers 


Coming out of their first bye week as professionals, the Broncos' rookies once again impressed in an important win over the Chargers. Here's where some of Denver's key first-year players stand following Week 11 action.

RB Phillip Lindsay

Last week:

  • 11 carries, 79 yards, two touchdowns; four receptions, 27 yards

Season stats:

  • 670 rushing yards (second among rookies, eighth in the NFL)
  • 5.5 yards per carry (second among rookies with at least 60 carries, fifth among RBs with at least 60 carries)
  • 67.0 rushing yards per game (second among rookies, 12th in the NFL)
  • 24 receptions (fourth among rookie RBs, 10th among rookies)
  • 6 total touchdowns (T-3 among rookies)
  • 5 rushing touchdowns (T-2 among rookies)

Lindsay continues to be one of the most incredible success stories of the NFL season. He's a strong contender for rookie of the year, and he certainly didn't lose any ground Sunday after a two-touchdown performance.

"He's growing before our eyes," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "He's an NFL first-, second-, and third-down back. It's amazing at his size what he can do on all three downs catching the ball, protecting, running in the A-, B- and C-gap. He's a good little football player, and obviously it's no fluke. We're in Week 11 and he's still doing it."

Lindsay has shown speed, power and vision all season, and he's been remarkably consistent; only once has he been held under 60 total yards. Every week, it seems, it becomes more of a mystery how the former University of Colorado standout went undrafted.

RB Royce Freeman

Last week:

  • Seven carries for 23 yards, one touchdown; one reception, 7 yards

Season stats:

  • 332 rushing yards (T-6 among rookies)
  • 41.5 rushing yards per game (sixth among rookies)
  • 4.3 yards per carry (T-6 among rookies with at least 60 carries)
  • 5 rushing touchdowns (T-2 among rookies)
  • 5 total touchdowns (T-5 among rookies)

Freeman's return from an ankle injury was a successful one, as he found the end zone from 3 yards out. It was his fifth rushing touchdown of the season, the same number as Lindsay.

Since the 1970 merger, only two other teams — the 1979 St. Louis Cardinals and the 1986 New Orleans Saints — have had two rookie running backs with at least five rushing touchdowns in the same season.

OLB Bradley Chubb

Last week:

  • Seven combined tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss

Season stats:

  • Nine sacks (first among rookies, T-9 in NFL)
  • 11 tackles for loss (first among rookies, T-8 in NFL)
  • 13 quarterback hits (first among rookies, T-18 in NFL)

For the fifth straight game, Chubb recorded at least a half-sack and at least one tackle for loss. Just before halftime, Chubb burst inside Chargers left tackle Russell Okung and brought down Philip Rivers to close out the half. But he wasn't done making big plays. As the Chargers tried to run down the clock near the end of the game, Chubb took advantage of a miscommunication and again got into the backfield to take down his fellow NC State product, this time for a loss of 4 yards. The Chargers threw incomplete on the next play, leading to the Broncos' game-winning drive.

"Bradley Chubb played out of his mind," Von Miller said after the win. "He's a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year in my opinion. … Chubb shined out today."

Chubb has been on fire over the last five games, and he has a chance to break Jevon Kearse's rookie season record of 14.5 sacks as the season hits the final stretch.

WR Courtland Sutton

Last week:

  • Three receptions, 78 yards

Season stats:

  • 459 receiving yards (fifth among rookies)
  • 23 receptions (12th among rookies)
  • 12 receptions of at least 20 yards (first among rookies, T-10 in NFL)
  • Three receptions of 40-plus yards (T-1 among rookies, T-10 in NFL)
  • 18 receptions for first down (T-5 among rookies)

In his second NFL start, Sutton turned in the big plays when it mattered most. He had a 39-yard catch-and-run to open the fourth quarter. The Broncos scored four plays later. Then he had a 30-yard catch-and-run to set up Brandon McManus' game-winning field goal as the clock hit all zeroes. But big plays are nothing new to the former SMU product; his 12 receptions of at least 20 yards lead all rookies and match Emmanuel Sanders for the team lead. Sutton has averaged 71 yards per game over the past three weeks, most among Broncos players.