In the midst of an 0-2 start, one bright spot for the Broncos has been the play of tight end Noah Fant.
In the first two games of his second season, Fant has emerged as a focal point on the offense with the skills to back it up. He's totaled 138 yards on nine catches and two touchdowns, all of which lead the Broncos in those categories.
Even more impressively, Fant's numbers are among the league's best — though, of course, it is still very early in the season. Among tight ends who have logged at least five receptions through two games, Fant ranks sixth in receptions, fourth in receiving yards, second in touchdown catches and second in yards per reception.
For quarterback Jeff Driskel, who stepped in for Drew Lock after a shoulder injury, Fant was an invaluable target — especially in the second half, when Fant got all of his targets and receptions.
"He's a mismatch," Driskel said after Sunday's game. "He's a big, strong guy who can run away from anybody, and he does a good job when he gets the ball in his hands. He made some great plays today — the touchdown play on the sideline and the two-point conversion. His tools are definitely showing up and he's made some big plays for us so far this year."
Immediately after the game, Fant couldn't identify why he wasn't productive in the first half, but he was adamant about diagnosing the problem in his review of Sunday's game to be more consistent across four quarters.
"I think I just got some targets," Fant said. "Obviously the first half was slow. ... I have to look back at the film and see. Maybe it was something I was doing to not have those targets. The second half, I got some targets going and was able to make some plays — kind of a vice versa of last game, but that's part of the NFL. I'll figure those things out."
Below the Fold
Fant, naturally, was one of the Broncos who received metaphorical game balls from The Denver Post's Matt Schubert. He also highlighted safety Justin Simmons, who had a stellar game with eight tackles, an interception, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed.
The Broncos' bevy of injuries was part of a larger league-wide trend, as many other NFL stars suffered serious injuries. ESPN's Bill Barnwell analyzed the impacts of these injuries and ranked them by how significant they are to each team.