Broncos starting Jarrett Stidham at QB in finale

Field Level Media

January 01, 2024 at 9:27 pm.

The Denver Broncos announced that Jarrett Stidham would remain the starting quarterback for the Week 18 finale Sunday against the host Las Vegas Raiders.

Russell Wilson will again serve as QB2.

Stidham led Denver to a 16-9 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. However, the Broncos (8-8) were eliminated from playoff contention by virtue of Kansas City’s win over Cincinnati.

“No. 1, our job is to score,” Payton said Monday. “We had opportunities (Sunday) … that’s the first thing. I thought Jarrett did a good job after seeing the tape, with his decisions, ball security, all the things you want to see from that position. … A lot of positives to build off of.”

Stidham’s start in Week 18 could also signal the end of Wilson’s short tenure in Denver. Payton benched Wilson this past week for football reasons, looking for a spark, but reports last week surfaced that the Broncos don’t want to risk injury to Wilson in the event they decide to release him in the offseason.

Stidham, 27, threw for 224 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, earning his first victory in the NFL after 15 career games (three starts).

Wilson, 35, has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 3,070 yards and 26 TDs against eight interceptions in 15 starts this year. He has not experienced the level of success he reached in Seattle, where he went 104-53-1 as the starter, throwing for 37,059 yards and making nine Pro Bowls in 10 seasons from 2012-21.

“Everyone responded well. It’s our job,” Payton said when asked how the team responded to the quarterback change. “It’s the NFL.

“This team has been resilient. They’ve been tough. We’ve battled through adversity, and I liked how the response was last week.”

Payton was also asked if the final two games of the season can impact his vision for Stidham’s role with the team moving forward.

“That’s the case with every player, right? We are constantly evaluating how they play, and then, it would definitely carry over to how we feel about next year, relative to their role,” Payton said. “The answer would be yes. I think these are important snaps and games for him.”