ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Corliss Waitman won the Broncos' punting job with booming kicks during training camp, besting veteran Sam Martin.
However, the first two weeks doubt surfaced whether he was the right choice. He kicked those to the curb last Sunday night with a net average of 43.6 yards on 10 punts. The 27-year-old pinned the 49ers inside the 20-yard line six times, his accuracy needed in a low-scoring 11-10 brawl.
Waitman received a game ball from coach Nathaniel Hackett, the first of his career. And the recognition continued Wednesday as Waitman was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
This is a fare feat, and welcome by a franchise that has been plagued by special teams issues since winning Super Bowl 50 in 2015. Waitman joins Todd Sauerbrun (2005), Micah Knorr (2004) and Tom Rouen (2001) as the only punters in franchise history to garner the honor.
With the offense posting eight three-and-outs — a single-game worst for quarterback Russell Wilson — Waitman stepped up. His six kicks inside the 20 represent a franchise single-game record. He is the first punter for any team to pull if off since 2019.
For Waitman, it felt good to rebound after special teams coach Dwayne Stukes called the first two weeks "sickening." Waitman improved when it was needed most.
"Punters are very important, especially when it comes to field position. I just try to do my job and put my team in the best position I can put them in," Waitman said. "This was my first one (game ball), so I'm very grateful for it. I’m grateful for my teammates, my coaches and the organization. It’s a blessing. God is good.”