The Good and the Bad in the Denver Broncos Win Versus the Arizona Cardinals


Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) and Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) celebrate a touchdown in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos played their most complete game of the season on Sunday beating the Arizona Cardinals 41-20. There was a lot to like, so let’s get right to it.

What I liked:

The Broncos found their identity: The Broncos remembered who they are on offense and got back to it. They threw the ball early and often, and spread the Cardinals out on defense. For better or worse, this is who the Broncos are and they must continue to play that way. Throw it early, get a lead and use the running game as a compliment the passing game.

Demaryius Thomas: It’s safe to say that the Broncos number one receiver is out of his early season slump. He set the Broncos single game record for receiving yards and looked unstoppable. With Wes Welker back in the slot, Thomas is back in his comfort zone on the outside and it showed on Sunday.

Emmanuel Sanders: Just a quick note on Sanders. His performance got lost in all the other gaudy offensive numbers but Sanders put up another 100 yard game, and continues to show why the Broncos pursued him in the offseason.

Chris Harris Jr.: When people start talking about the best cornerbacks in the NFL; the list always includes Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, Aqib Talib, Darrelle Revis and others. It’s time to put Harris Jr. on that list. He was outstanding on Sunday. He allowed no receptions and had four pass breakups and if you look at just the numbers for the season, Harris Jr. ranks at the top in every category.

Von Miller: Miller continues to get better every week and he was dominant again on Sunday. The Broncos were more aggressive on defense and Miller and DeMarcus Ware are starting to take over games.

Ronnie Hillman: I can’t believe I’m writing this but Hillman played well on Sunday. After Montee Ball left with a groin injury, Hillman provided a spark to the running game in the second half. He showed burst through the hole and had several impressive runs. With Ball likely out for at least a couple of weeks, Hillman has a real chance to make this job his.

Defense: Outside of a four yard drive following a turnover and a fluke play for a long touchdown, the Cardinals did nothing on offense. The pass rush was relentless and the secondary played well all day.

Peyton Manning: He could be on this list every week but I think it’s important to take a minute and appreciate what you are watching. Every Sunday, I watch a lot of bad quarterbacking around the league and then I watch Manning. He was special on Sunday and it deserves to be noted.

What I didn’t like:

Running game: The Broncos did run the ball better in the second half but it still needs to be better. Again, the Broncos are going to be a pass first team but the running game has to be effective when they do run it. It will be interesting to see if Hillman is the guy who revitalizes the running game.

When a team wins 41-20 over a good football team, there’s not a lot of things to be critical of. As with every game, there are things the Broncos could have done better but Sunday was a complete effort.