WEMBLEY – Here the early bird gets the pint.
Pints poured at Wembley Stadium for record crowds could fill the Thames.
The Broncos beat the Jaguars 21-17, and the crowd of 86,215 was the largest crowd to ever attend an NFL game in the UK. The NFL has played here since 2007.
The mostly British crowd was engaged from kickoff to final horn, serenading the Broncos and Jags with a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” that would put Fenway Park to shame.
If John Stewardson and his son weren’t the first fans inside the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium, they were among the first dozen. There’s a good reason for that: The Colorado-born Munich resident had waited years for the opportunity to see the beloved in person.
“We’ve been Broncos fans since 1970,” said Stewardson, who grew up in Littleton and has lived in Germany for 30 years.
Munich hosts its first NFL game on November 13, Bucs-Seahawks. Stewardson said “without a doubt” Europe would support several NFL teams. He has “NFL Game Pass” to watch Broncos games and remains a “hardcore optimist” Russell Wilson will be the quarterback the team has been hoping for.
“Give them some time,” Stewardson said.
The Stewardsons’ 1.5-hour flight from Munich to London was shorter than a flight from Denver to Los Angeles – another reason why NFL-in-Europe tickets would be in short supply.
NFL teams are required to play an international game once every eight years. More please.
Hamler’s Big Day
Wide receiver KJ Hamler was the clutch for the Broncos on Sunday. Hamler offered a 47-yard reception to trigger the game-winning run and had a nine-yard run to set up the game-winning touchdown.
It was a key moment for Hamler, who has had a difficult season. Hamler is coming back from an ACL injury and he’s been less involved in the offense, which has led to some frustration, especially after a loss to the Colts in which he threw his helmet.
“Personally, me, I’ve been through a lot this whole offseason. I’ve worked too hard. It was just frustration at the time. I shouldn’t have done it on national television. J I worked too hard to let that stuff get away. You just had to go out there and win.”
Chubb Talks Trade Deadline
Denver’s win on Sunday could be eclipsed in the following days with the NFL’s trade deadline set for Nov. 1. And one player’s future in Denver that seems to be in question is outside linebacker Bradley Chubb.
Chubb has 5.5 sacks this season and is on course to have one of the best seasons of his career. However, the former 2018 first-round pick could be set to leave for Denver as many teams have inquired about the rusher pass and his contract ending at the end of the year.
“Whatever happens happens,” Chubb told The Gazette after the game. “Luckily we have a week off so I can focus on other things. But the main thing is seeing my family and continuing to be the guy I am. It’s all going to take care of itself. and I’m right here.”
Simmons saves his ass
Broncos safety Justin Simmons had a forgettable first half — until he saved the game.
On the same Jaguars drive that saw Simmons commit a pair of terrible penalties, he intercepted Trevor Lawrence on the Broncos 1-yard line. A touchdown would have given the Jags a 14-0 lead.
“We gave them some of the yards there,” Simmons said. “I saw him roll and I was just hoping there was a chance that maybe I could kick the ball. Really, when plays like that happen, it’s just a nod to the whole defence… There was an opportunity to make a play on the ball.
The Broncos defense was good, not great. The Jags had 24 first downs and averaged over 6 yards per carry. Between snaps, Simmons spent much of the first half barking at the officials.
While Denver’s defense was the highlight of the team, most of the damage was done against Matt Ryan, Davis Mills and Zach Wilson. The second half of the season is filled with quarterbacks Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes (twice).
Here is an abridged list of NFL jerseys spotted inside Wembley Stadium: Brady (Bucs), Garoppolo (Niners), Murray (Cardinals), Wilson (Jets), Miller (Bills), Stafford (Lions), Carson Palmer (Bengals), Hill (Chiefs), McMahon (Bears), Barkley (Giants), Prescott (Cowboys), etc.
And so many Elways and Mannings (Broncos).
It’s great, as the locals say. Support 4-5 different teams and your Super Bowl chances increase.