All Shane Ray needed was an opportunity. He got it Sunday with DeMarcus Ware nursing an elbow injury when the former Mizzou linebacker recorded three sacks, the most in a first career NFL start since 2002.
The Broncos first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft had back-to-back sacks in the third quarter, beating Jake Fisher off the line to beat Andy Dalton.
WEEK 3 STATISTICS:
OLB- Shane Ray
— The Broncos Nation (@2015Broncos) September 25, 2016
Denver could be better than they were a year ago. In his first start for the injured @DeMarcusWare Shane Ray picks up 3 sacks. They're deep
— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 25, 2016
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak also took notice of Ray’s abilities after the game.
“I think you’re going to see that from Shane and Shaquil Barrett,” Kubiak said. “They’re stepping in for DeMarcus Ware, but they’ve really been working as starters since April 27 when we went to minicamp. They’ve worked for their opportunities and they’re taking advantage of (them).”
Ray also returned a fumble for a touchdown in Week 2, so it’s clear he’s starting to find the type of success he had in Columbia with the Tigers. He already has nine combined tackles this season, almost half way to his mark of 20 from last year. His three sacks Sunday put him just one short of his 2015 total. If he can continue to produce, he’ll be difficult to keep off the field going forward.