The Defense was Dominant for the Denver Broncos on Sunday


Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals tackle Bobby Massie (70) and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) battle for position on the field in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos turned in their best defensive performance of the 2014 season on Sunday. It’s the offense and all of the records they set versus the Arizona Cardinals that is getting the most attention, but it’s the defensive performance that should have fans excited.

The Cardinals scored 20 points but that number is misleading. Seven of those points came on a four yard drive following a Peyton Manning interception, and can’t be blamed on the defense. That means they held the Cardinals to 13 points and with the Broncos offense, that kind of effort will win every game.

The other Cardinals touchdown was a fluke, it was a ball thrown into triple coverage that the Broncos simply misplayed. Everyone was in the right position but somehow the ball got through, the odds of that happening on a regular basis are extremely long.

In reality, the Broncos gave up two scoring drives that only resulted in field goals in the first half. Aside from those and the fluke play, the Broncos were dominant versus the Cardinals.

They only gave up 215 total yards and that includes the 81 yard touchdown pass. If you take that away, the Cardinals would have walked out of Denver with less than 140 yards of offense. That’s beyond dominant, that’s unheard of in this day and age. Yes I understand the Cardinals were playing with a backup quarterback and then a third string quarterback, but those numbers are still extremely impressive.

As impressive as those numbers are, this one might be the most impressive. The Broncos defense missed two tackles on Sunday, two. That’s an amazing number. There are times when defenses miss three or four tackles on a single play, and the Broncos missed two in 60 minutes.

The Broncos never allowed the Cardinals to get their running game going, holding them to 37 yards for the game. The Cardinals came into the game running the football well and it was one of the big reasons why they were undefeated.

The defensive line including; Terrance Knighton, Sylvester Williams, Derek Wolfe, DeMarcus Ware and Malik Jackson controlled the line of scrimmage all day, and kept the linebackers clean. They also provided a push up the middle and spent much of the afternoon collapsing the pocket on the Cardinals quarterbacks.

The Broncos ended the day with only three sacks but had 10 quarterback hits and forced a handful of bad throws. Von Miller is quickly regaining his form as one of the most disruptive defensive players in the league and combined with Ware to make life miserable for the Cardinals.

Then there’s Chris Harris Jr. who we’ve talked about on a number of different occasions. He is playing as well as any cornerback in the league and if he had better hands, he would have had three interceptions. Harris did not allow a single catch and had four pass breakups.

Harris is obviously very good at covering his own man but what makes him special is his anticipation.

Two of his four pass breakups were because he read the quarterback and came off of his guy to make the play. There’s only a handful of cornerbacks who can make those types of plays and the Broncos have two of them in Harris and Aqib Talib.

Throw in the return of linebacker Danny Trevathan and the continued strong play of safety TJ Ward and the Broncos have the makings of a top five defense.

Defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio is getting more aggressive with each passing week as the players become more comfortable together. Ward has blitzed in each of the last two games and look for that to continue in the coming weeks. Ward has the ability to ruin offensive game plans and I expect Del Rio to start moving him all over the place.

There are not there yet but based on the progress the Broncos defense has made from week one to now, it won’t be long before people are talking about the defense as much as the offense.

All statistical information provided by Pro Football Focus.