Despite a disappointing outcome overall in Sunday's game vs. Baltimore, one Broncos rookie took the opportunity to turn in a breakout performance.
Safety Caden Sterns took limited snaps on Sunday, but maximized his impact in each moment. Sterns was on the field for seven defensive snaps — he turned two into sacks on QB Lamar Jackson and one into a pass defensed.
"Last week, in a shutout win over the Jets, [Sterns] recorded his first NFL interception," The Athletic's Nick Kosmider wrote. "Against the Ravens, his two sacks made him the first rookie NFL defensive back to register multiple takedowns in a single game since Mike Hilton had three for the Steelers during a win over the Texans in 2017."
But this dominant performance isn't a surprise to those who have watched Sterns since he was drafted in May. He made big plays through training camp and has stepped up in the absence of CB Ronald Darby.
"The 21-year-old was a standout in training camp in August and has shined since joining the defensive lineup in Week 2 by way of Ronald Darby's trip to IR," Kosmider wrote. "With first-round pick Pat Surtain II moving to outside corner in Darby's absence, Sterns moved into the dime role vacated by his fellow rookie."
A shuffle of the defensive backfield provided the opportunity for Sterns, but the fifth-round pick capitalized on the occasion in a momentous way. Sterns' performance earned high praise from Head Coach Vic Fangio, but it wasn't his sacks that impressed Fangio the most.
"He was put in some good positions yesterday and he came through with the tackles on the quarterback for the sacks," Fangio said. "As we all know, that's not an easy guy to tackle, and he got that done. The more impressive play was the breakup down the field when (Jackson) was scrambling. That was a great play."
Below the Fold
RB Javonte Williams had the undisputed play of the game for the Broncos on Sunday as he broke off a staggering 31-yard run deep into Ravens territory in the first quarter.
"The Broncos' best play of the day was definitely running back Javonte Williams' 31-yard run in which he broke several tackles and carried Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey on his back for 20 yards," The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran wrote.
The run, which saw Williams drag a pair of Baltimore defenders on his back towards the end zone, displayed Williams' incredible ability to break tackles and tack on yards after contact.
Williams' run earned him Good Morning Football's Angry Run Scepter for Week 4.
The performance also earned Williams perhaps the highest praise of all from O'Halloran.
"Javonte Williams straight up looked like Marshawn Lynch on that beastly 31-yard run," O'Halloran wrote.