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A look at the Broncos’ fake punt against Chargers

Days later, Colby Wadman was still popular in the Broncos locker room for his completed fake punt pass against the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday.

“Colby!” linebacker Joseph Jones yelled with a laugh as Wadman did an interview after Thursday’s practice.

Making a key play that leads to a touchdown in a game the Broncos eventually won should have Wadman showered with praise. So, what was the process?

Wadman had not thrown a pass in the NFL or in a four-year career at UC-Davis so it’s not like special teams coordinator Tom McMahon had previous game video to present to coach Vance Joseph.

“My freshman  year (in college), I tucked it and ran for 20 yards but I hadn’t thrown a ball in a game since my junior year of high school,” Wadman said. “We had it installed every single week of my senior year (of college) but it was never called.”

McMahon first had to establish Wadman could throw a serviceable pass.

“They’ve got to throw the ball around to us and you’ve got to get them moving,” McMahon said. “We got somebody in his face, (like) a (tackling) bag (because) a lot of times, we don’t have any practice players to do that. But we tested Colby pretty well.”

Wadman said the punt team ran the fake in practice “probably 9-10 times throughout the week. … Each and every time, we got more comfortable running it.”

Added McMahon: “It didn’t work every single time in practice.”

But Joseph was confident enought to to approve of the fake. Trailing 6-0 in the second quarter, the Broncos faced a fourth-and-5 from their 47.

Andy Janovich was lined up four yards behind the line of scrimmage and on the right side of the formation. Because the Chargers had two punt returners deep, they had only one blocker on Broncos gunner Isaac Yiadom. When Yiadom took off from his spot wide left, the Chargers player followed, leaving the flat wide open.

Janovich ran laterally right to left before turning up the field. A Chargers player would have been in position but Matt LaCosse took off up-field to give the impression he was the intended receiver and was covered accordingly.

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