Broncos above .500 for first time in more than 1,000 days

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Game balls went to newcomers George Paton and Teddy Bridgewater and to old-timer Von Miller following Denver’s 27-13 demolition of the New York Giants in their opener.

Paton is the architect of this rebuilt roster and Bridgewater his crowning jewel even though so many Broncos fans preferred other veterans or even incumbent Drew Lock.

Miller sacked Daniel Jones twice in his triumphant return after missing last season with an ankle injury.

“ Sacks are good,” Miller responded to his teammates’ demands for a “Speech! Speech! Speech!”

“But wins are better.”

The Broncos’ victory was Vic Fangio’s first in eight September games and the team’s first in an opener since 2018 against Seattle, which also marked the last time Miller recorded at least two sacks.

With those droughts over, the Broncos (1-0) flew home with a record over .500 for the first time in 1,078 days.

But they did so without right guard Graham Glasgow, who was taken to a hospital via ambulance from MetLife Stadium because of an irregular heartbeat he began experiencing during the game.

“He’s still up there. He’ll stay the night,” Fangio said Monday. “But the plan is for him to come back tomorrow morning.”

Fangio said Glasgow has no history of heart arrhythmias.

The other damper was losing wide receiver Jerry Juedy for at least several weeks with an ankle injury after he’d caught six passes for 72 yards.

“He definitely has a high ankle sprain. Everything else checked out good,” Fangio said. “He’s going to miss some time.”

PHANTOM FUMBLE?

As far as Fangio is concerned, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam’s turnover inside the Giants’ 5-yard line was a phantom fumble because safety Logan Ryan’s right knee appeared out of bounds by the time he corralled the loose ball.

“They first told me it’s going to be our ball and they were just figuring out where to place it and the timing element of it,” Fangio said. “And then he came back and said, ‘You’re not going to like this: The head guy in New York came in and said, ‘Let it stand.’”

Fangio said he didn’t get an explanation as to why NFL senior VP of officiating Walt Anderson overruled his replay official who was about to reverse the call on the field.

A league spokesman told The Associated Press on Monday, “The determination was made that there was no clear and obvious video evidence to warrant a change, so the on-field ruling remained.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Just about everything. The Broncos scored on four consecutive drives after Okwuegbunam’s fumble and the defense held on fourth down twice in the fourth quarter to thwart a comeback.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The trainers. They’ll be busy trying to get Jeudy back and they’ll try to get oft-injured Bradley Chubb ready after he missed the game with a sprained right ankle.

STOCK UP

Bridgewater may finally have quashed any lingering gripes over the Broncos moving on from Lock, who turned the ball over 18 times last year, when he completed a league-low 57% of his passes. Bridgewater completed 78% of his throws, hit nine different receivers and threw for two touchdowns with no interceptions.

STOCK DOWN

The haters who viewed Bridgewater as just another version of Case Keenum or Joe Flacco, who faltered after former GM John Elway tried in vain to move past his Paxton Lynch first-round whiff in the 2016 NFL draft.

INJURED

Chubb just can’t get healthy. He missed 12 games in 2019 with a torn ACL and the final two games last season with a bum left ankle that required surgery and sidelined him for much of this offseason. His sprained right ankle has been slow to heal and he still hasn’t played a regular season game alongside Miller since Sept. 29, 2019.

KEY NUMBERS

— 1-7. Fangio’s September record. The win means Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” won’t get its usual airplay on Colorado’s sports talk radio this month.

— 9.2. Melvin Gordon III’s yards-per-carry average thanks to his 70-yard touchdown burst in the fourth quarter, giving him 101 yards on 11 carries.

— 24:52. The Giants’ time of possession, the result of a fresh Denver defense that benefitted from Bridgewater’s time-chewing drives of 8:42 and 8:12.

— 3 for 3. The Broncos’ mark on fourth down conversions. Fangio said it wasn’t analytics but his gut that he followed in going for it each time.

NEXT STEPS

Duplicating their success next weekend in Jacksonville.

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