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AFC West: Broncos seek turnaround Sunday against Chargers

Broncos tight end Noah Fant wanted to make himself clear when discussing his team’s play during a virtual press conference earlier this week.

“I don’t have a bad attitude about it, but I’m not happy with the results that we have right now,” Fant said. “We have so much ability and so much talent on the offensive side of the ball, and we have to figure out how to make things work. … Still positive about it, but at some point, it’s like, ‘Put up or shut up.’ It’s time to buckle down and get these things going.”

Point taken.

The Broncos appear to be mired in mediocrity yet again during a 2-4 start filled with struggles on both sides of the ball. The offense has sputtered throughout the course of the regular season. Starting quarterback Drew Lock, who has missed two-plus games with a shoulder injury, hasn’t thrown for a touchdown since Week 1 and has one TD pass against four interceptions this season.

But the defense and special teams have been leaky, too, having allowed 36 points last week in a 43-16 home loss to the rival Chiefs that an interception return for a touchdown by the Chiefs.

“I just feel like we need to make a lot more plays and turn the ball over,” Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb told reporters earlier this week. “I feel like if we give the ball to our offense as much as we can and keep us off the field and keep them on the field as much as we can, then that’s going to be another catalyst to things turning around. I know those guys are willing to do whatever.”

That kind of synergy is certainly something to aspire to for the Broncos, who rank 28th in scoring offense at 19.3 points per game and 16th in scoring defense at 25.5. They’ll stay within the division Sunday and host Chargers and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, who is already among the league’s most prolific passers with 12 TD passes, three interceptions and a 108.1 quarterback rating.

“He’s a rookie, but he’s back there comfortable and confident,” Chubb said. “He’s throwing the ball like a guy who’s been in the league for years. He’s running it with confidence. It’s going to be a good challenge for this defense. He’s a young guy, but like I said he’s playing with poise and like he’s been in the league for some time now.”

More on Herbert

Herbert is enjoying an historically great start. He’s thrown for more than 250 yards his first five games to join Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes as the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with that distinction. He also leads the NFL with a 138.2 passer rating on third down, per Pro Football Focus.

Mahomes is second at 132. All other quarterbacks are at 120 or lower.

Herbert also ranks second in the NFL in passing TDs of 2o or more yards with eight, per Pro Football Focus. He threw for three TDs Sunday to become the second rookie quarterback to throw three or more in three consecutive games.

Chiefs WR earns weekly honor

Chiefs wide receiver and kick returner Byron Pringle earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his play during a 43-16 victory on Sunday over the Broncos. Pringle returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown to ignite a 28-0 scoring run.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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