While the Broncos could not come away with a win against the Chargers on "Monday Night Football," one player had an unforgettable NFL debut.
Tight end Greg Dulcich, the Broncos' third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was born and raised in Los Angeles County and played football at UCLA. On Monday, the rookie got to return to his hometown and play in his first NFL game with his family and friends in attendance — and he made the most of his big moment.
Near the end of the first quarter, Dulcich caught the first pass of his career to move the chains for Denver on third-and-four. Just a few plays later, Russell Wilson found Dulcich wide open, and the rookie trotted into the end zone for the Broncos' only touchdown of the game.
"It was definitely special," Dulcich said after the game. "I've got a lot of family here, so it was a cool experience for sure."
Dulcich almost scored again at the end of the first half, as Wilson targeted him in the end zone on third-and-nine, but the Chargers' tight coverage on the play forced an incompletion. Regardless, after starting the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, Dulcich's impact was immediate. He added a much-needed spark to the Broncos' offense, and the young tight end hopes to continue being a major contributor throughout the season.
"I like what we do in this offense," Dulcich said. "We move the tight end around a lot, and whatever I can do to help us win, I'm ready to."
The rookie credited his veteran teammates with helping him prepare, both mentally and physically, to make his debut. Adjusting to the NFL and learning a new offense while simultaneously dealing with an injury is extremely difficult, but Dulcich noted that he had a great support system to aid him throughout the process.
"Everyone's been super great helping me along," Dulcich said. "All the older guys have been real good helping me from a football standpoint, and just from a mental standpoint and being there for me, so that means a lot. This whole time, I've been in a good headspace because of them."
Below the Fold
Pat Surtain II continues to impress, as he provided lockdown coverage against a dynamic offense once again. Per Next Gen Stats, Surtain did not allow a single reception in coverage for the second time this season — and for much of the game, the cornerback was covering wide receiver Mike Williams, who is quickly emerging as a star for the Chargers. On the 73 percent of Williams' routes in which Surtain was in coverage, the wide receiver did not secure any of his three targets.
Next Gen Stats noted that Surtain has only allowed 142 yards on 35 targets so far this season, which is the second-fewest yards allowed among NFL defenders with at least 30 targets.
"We feel very confident," Surtain said of the defense's mindset after the game. "We did our thing today. We've just got to keep on moving forward, correct some things in the film room and just keep moving on from here."