In Sunday's game vs. Cincinnati, two top-10 picks from the 2021 NFL Draft finally had the opportunity to face off on the field. Despite their teams meeting twice in college, Broncos CB Pat Surtain II and Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase have never gone head-to-head in a game.
"Surtain never got to square off against Ja'Marr Chase in college because when Chase's LSU team faced Surtain's Alabama, it was Trevon Diggs who was the No. 1 corner drawing that assignment," Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson wrote. "And when Surtain was the alpha dog, Chase was sitting out the year preparing for the NFL."
That changed on Sunday, when the Broncos hosted the Bengals for their Week 15 matchup. Surtain was tasked with containing Chase, who, despite racking up over 1,000 yards so far this season, was held to only one catch for three yards on the day.
"This week, Surtain covered Chase primarily 10 times, and Chase didn't get a target on any of those plays," Monson wrote. "Surtain allowed just two catches for 21 yards all game against Cincinnati."
But Surtain's performance on Sunday should come as no surprise — according to PFF, the rookie corner has allowed less than 40 yards in coverage in 10 of his 14 games and has the most interceptions of any rookie defensive backthis season (4).
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Despite a tough loss, the Broncos defense put on an impressive performance inWeek 15.
The secondary held a trio of explosive Cincinnati WRs in check for most of the game, and allowed only one big play — a 56-yard TD — during the matchup.
"The Broncos' secondary went largely untested all game long," PFF's Michael Renner wrote. "Besides one busted coverage, they more than held up their end of the bargain. They combined to allow only five first downs all game long."
The Broncos also had a big performance from ILB Jonas Griffith, who shined in his first career start with eight tackles and no first downs allowed.
"The 2020 UDFA from Indiana State was all over the field Sunday," Renner wrote. "He racked up seven defensive stops to lead all players. He was targeted six times and allowed only 13 yards with no first downs."