Australian Adam Gotsis knew he had to step up for the Denver Broncos this week with injuries depleting the defensive line, and the big defensive end delivered to help his team hold off the Los Angeles Chargers in their NFL season-opener.
The Broncos won 24-21 in Denver on Monday, after holding a 17-point lead midway through the last quarter.
Gotsis, the 6-4, 287 lb defensive end and Broncos second round draft choice in 2016 from Melbourne, Australia, had five tackles and was involved in the decisive play of the game when teammate Shelby Harris blocked Chargers’ rookie punter Younghoe Koo’s field goal attempt.
Gotsis and Harris leapt in the air with five seconds left, with Harris getting his hand on Koo’s 44-yard attempt to prevent the game going into overtime.
The Broncos’ defensive line has been rocked by injury with defensive ends Zach Kerr and Jared Crick ruled out of the game. Head coach Vance Joseph called on Gotsis and Harris to step up. They responded with Gotsis recording five tackles, a third of his entire total for 2016.
That result left Joseph praising the work of his defensive lineman:
“I thought Shelby (Harris) played, again, really, really solid. I thought (Adam) Gotsis played well. Gotsis played the point of attack very strong on double-teams. You could see his quickness; you could see his length and size. I think Gotsis is coming along. If he stays healthy, he’s what he should be for us. He could be a starter for us. He can rush the passer and he can play the run game.”
Gotsis played on 31 of Denver’s 59 defensive snaps. He faced 11 run plays and made four stops, according to Pro Football Focus. That run stop percentage of 36.4 was the highest among interior defensive lineman in Week 1.
“We just did a great job of not losing our heads and not losing our cool. We just sat in there and played our defense and did what we had to do.”
Denver’s two other international players, offensive tackle Menelik Watson from Great Britain and Germany’s Kasim Edebali who plays linebacker, both saw action. Watson started at tackle while Edebali was active on special teams.