As the Broncos prepare to face the Chargers on "Monday Night Football," no one may be looking forward to this matchup more than Pat Surtain II.
In his first career contest against Los Angeles in Week 12 of the 2021 season, the then-rookie cornerback turned heads with a phenomenal two-interception performance — including a 70-yard pick-six. The Broncos' 28-13 victory over the Chargers was the most electric game of Surtain's young career, and he continues to hold himself to that standard every time he takes the field.
"That was one of my best games, for sure," Surtain said. "That was a game that I prepared for a lot. Each and every week, I expect to make big plays, so that game happened to be one of my biggest games. I just step in and expect the best."
Surtain's first interception of the game came at the start of the fourth quarter, when he picked off quarterback Justin Herbert in the end zone on third-and-14. On Los Angeles' next drive, Herbert's pass to running back Austin Ekeler bounced off Ekeler's hands and into the arms of Surtain, who took it all the way to the house.
The Broncos will take on the Chargers on Monday, and Surtain hopes to lead Denver to victory once again. But even with his success against Herbert in their first matchup, Surtain has enormous respect for the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year and does not underestimate what Herbert can do.
"He's a great quarterback," Surtain said. "He's got all the intangibles, can make every throw on the field. He can run, too — a great mobile quarterback. He's going to present some challenges to us. He's got a lot of playmakers around him, surrounding him, and it makes it easy for him, but he's just a great quarterback all around that's capable of doing everything."
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With lockdown coverage of elite receivers every week, Surtain continues to make his case for being one of the top cornerbacks in the league.
The second-year cornerback has the highest Pro Football Focus coverage grade of all cornerbacks in the league with a minimum of 100 coverage snaps this season. Having faced Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks, among others, Surtain is making a statement against great playmakers.