Broncos' Jerry Jeudy, Bradley Chubb Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List; Out vs. Chargers

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 2021

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The Denver Broncos will be without one of their top players on each side of the ball during Sunday's AFC West clash against the Los Angeles Chargers.

According to Aric DiLalla of the Broncos' official website, head coach Vic Fangio said both wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and pass-rusher Bradley Chubb were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, meaning they won't be available Sunday.

DiLalla added that Fangio said No. 2 wideout Courtland Sutton may also be placed on the COVID list.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Broncos also announced that wide receiver Tim Patrick, cornerback Bryce Callahan, offensive tackle Bobby Massie, linebacker Jonathan Cooper, safety Caden Sterns, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, defensive lineman Mike Purcell, cornerback Mike Ford, linebacker Andre Mintze, linebacker Stephen Weatherly and wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland were placed on the COVID list.

Denver has the lowest probability of reaching the postseason after a 17-13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last week dropped it to 7-8 and 13th in the AFC playoff standings, but if the Broncos win out and receive a ton of help, it isn't impossible.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are on the brink of a berth despite a surprising loss to the Houston Texans last week that has left them with an 8-7 mark and eighth in the AFC.

The Chargers have the same record as the Miami Dolphins, Raiders and Baltimore Ravens, but the Dolphins currently hold the tiebreaker for the seventh and final playoff spot. That means the Bolts likely need to win out and get some help in order to reach the playoffs.

Los Angeles should be helped immensely by the absence of Jeudy, Chubb, Patrick and potentially Sutton as well.

Jeudy has missed six games because of injury this season, but he has been one of Denver's most productive receivers when healthy, registering 36 receptions for 437 yards, although he has yet to score a touchdown.

As a rookie last season, the first-rounder led all Broncos wideouts in receptions (52) and yardage (856), and he also had three receiving scores.

Chubb is the Broncos' best pass-rusher, but he has been ravaged by injuries this season as well, missing all but six games. He clearly hasn't been himself even when he has played with just 16 tackles and no sacks on the season.

The 25-year-old had a career-high 12 sacks as a rookie in 2018 and made his first Pro Bowl last season after posting 7.5 sacks in 14 games.

In addition to Jeudy, Denver will be without another top receiver in Patrick, who leads the team with five touchdown receptions and also has 47 grabs for 639 yards while appearing in all 15 games.

If Sutton is forced to sit out as well, the Broncos will be without their top three wide receivers. He leads Denver wideouts with 54 receptions for 703 yards and also has two touchdowns.

On top of COVID absences, Denver will likely be missing starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a second straight game because of a concussion.

That would mean a second consecutive start for Drew Lock under center.