The Gazette, Colorado Springs


Broncos rookie Mims puts up big numbers in first half In the first half Sunday, rookie receiver Marvin Mims Jr. looked primed to rewrite portions of the Broncos record book. In a 35-33 loss to the Washington Commanders at Empower Field at Mile High, Mims caught two passes for 113 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown grab, had a 45-yard punt return and had an eight-yard run before intermission. That’s 166 all-purpose yards. But Mims finished with just two more yards in the game, that coming on a second-half run. He wasn’t targeted a single additional time as a receiver. “Some of it’s coverage driven, and some of it is just based on what we’re in,’’ said Broncos coach Sean Payton. “We ended up in a couple different personnel groupings. Part of that is coincidence, I would say. We had a number of guys we were trying to get the ball to, and we’ll keep doing that.” Mims, a second-round pick out of Oklahoma, was barely used in the opener, catching two passes for nine yards in a 17-16 loss to Las Vegas. While he was disappointed in the Broncos losing again, he was pleased to make such a big early impact in the game. “It felt great. … We ended up hitting the plays we wanted to,’’ Mims said. In addition to catching the 60-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson in the first quarter, Mims also had a 53-yard grab in the second quarter. “It was a real cool, special moment,’’ he said of the touchdown. Mims said he wasn’t bothered by his lack of use in the second half. “That’s just how the game plan worked,’’ he said. A wristband for Russ? Clock management was an issue for Denver on Sunday. The Broncos wasted all three timeouts on offense in the first half. Then they had problems with the clock on their next-to-last drive of the game. Trailing 35-24, the Broncos took too much time on some plays. They got the ball with 7:11 left in the game and finally scored on a 32-yard field goal by Wil Lutz with 1:53 remaining to cut the deficit to 35-27. That drive took 5:21 in 15 plays. Denver got the ball back with 48 seconds left and Wilson did throw a 50-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Brandon Johnson on the last play from scrimmage. But a two-point conversion failed. “There were a number of drives where we were late with personnel, getting out of the huddle we took a while,’’ Payton said. “That has to change. We had to burn timeouts in the first half, and I’m not used to doing (that). We have to be better. I have to be better. Russ has to be sharper with getting the play out, and then we have to look at how much we have in. If we need to wristband it, we will.” Wilson vowed to do better. “We have to be cleaner,’’ he said. “We’ll be cleaner next time.” Hail Mary highlights Wilson’s Hail Mary pass to Johnson didn’t end up keeping the Broncos alive in the game, but it still made plenty of highlight shows. Wilson, who was sacked seven times, avoided the rush. He then uncorked a pass that was tipped by Emnanuel Forbes Jr. and Kamren Curl of Washington before being grabbed by Johnson in the end zone. “I kind of scampered left and stepped up,’’ Wilson said. “I was going to go right and came back left and just put it up in the air for our guys to go get. We did a great job, did it perfect and Brandon came down with (it).’’ Johnson said it was the first Hail Mary pass he has caught. “It was crazy,’’ he said. “Just an old-fashioned Hail Mary. I wasn’t the designated jumper but I know a lot of times those Hail Mary balls can drop. Once I saw it get tipped. I said, ‘OK, I might have this one.’ I was able to pull it in.” Wilson completed 18 of 32 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns, but threw an interception and lost a fumble. He was obviously disappointed that Denver suffered a second straight loss. “Can’t turn the ball over. … I have to be better,’’ he said. The 0-2 hole After losing two games at home to start the season, Broncos players stressed that there are still plenty of games remaining. “We just have to get better,’’ said tackle Mike Mcglinchey. “We can’t pack it in. There are 15 games left in the season, but we have a really good football team and a really good opportunity to still fight and turn this thing around.” Wide receiver Courtland Sutton said the Broncos can’t pay attention to what anyone is saying about their continued inability to close out games. “It’s on us to be able to rally and find a way to turn this thing around,’’ he said. “I know you all hear it and have been hearing it, and no one wants to continue to say the same things, but that is all we can do, control the controllable and move to next week and be ready to go down to Miami (next Sunday) and take care of the Dolphins.” Briefly Payton said the Broncos were “poor” on defense, especially in the second half. The Commanders had 94 of their 122 rushing yards after intermission. “I didn’t like the rushing numbers,’’ Payton said. … Denver running back Javonte Williams had 12 carries for 44 yards in his second regular-season game back after suffering a serious knee injury last October. Backup Samaje Perine had just one carry for four yards and No. 3 back Jaleel Mclaughlin had one carry for a first-quarter touchdown run of five yards. Mclaughlin never touched the ball again after that. … Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy had three catches for 25 yards after sitting out against the Raiders due to a hamstring injury. … After putting tight end Greg Dulcich on injured reserve Saturday with a hamstring injury, the Broncos didn’t complete a single pass Sunday to a tight end. ... The Broncos before the game honored former star linebacker Demarcus Ware, a 2023 Hall of Fame inductee, and at halftime had a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1998 Super Bowl-winning team.