Give this to the Denver Broncos: At least they have a high-scoring defense.
For the second week in a row, the Broncos found a way to overcome a poor offensive showing to leave Mile High Stadium with a 34-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts. This week it’s all thanks to Denver’s defense.
The game Wade Phillips called on Andrew Luck is yet another gem. They hit him and hit him a lot. They forced Luck and the Colts to earn whatever they got on offense, which wasn’t much. When your defense holds Luck to under 200 yards passing, that is a job well done and this defense should be commended.
Von Miller more than made up for not getting a sack on Luck prior to Sunday. Yeah, I’d say so. Miller finished with three sacks, including the game-sealing strip sack that led to a Shane Ray touchdown. On top of Miller’s three sacks, the Broncos finished with five sacks and 11 quarterback hits.
One defensive touchdown is enough for most teams, but, as noted above, Denver isn’t your typical defense. Aqib Talib does what he does and that’s get pick-sixes. His 45-yard return is the fifth in his Broncos’ career - the most in team history. It’s also Talib’s ninth pick-six of his career, tying him for fourth in NFL history. Only Rod Woodson, Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson have more.
Without those two defensive touchdowns, Denver may not win this game.
Yet again Trevor Siemian moved the ball incredibly well between the 30s and, yet again, found a way to turn it over inside the 30. That’s the third such time that has happened and the second interception Siemian has had on a screen pass in two games. There is another quarterback who did that in Denver and his name is Kyle Orton.
As he showed throughout the preseason, Siemian is “meh.” The numbers were there but they mean nothing if the offense is incapable of scoring touchdowns and turns the ball over. This is becoming a pattern, and not in a good way. The fact Siemian didn’t throw a pick-six is a miracle. He protects the ball, they said.
The offense settled for four field goals when it needed those touchdowns. That has to change. Denver no doubt has a special ability to win close games but also keep games close that have no business being close.
Indianapolis out of cornerbacks? Better stick with the check downs and guys covered by linebackers, just to be safe.— The Orange Page (@theorangepage) September 18, 2016
The other aspect that needs to improve is the offensive play calling. As the game wore on, Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison became predictable. Against better defenses, they won’t get away with that. There was a definite Dan Reeves feel to the offense late in the game.
What remains a positive sight for the Broncos offense is their ability to run the football. As a team, Denver finished with 134 yards on 31 carries. The Broncos need to improve in short yardage situations, but that will come. If there was any doubt, Russell Okung is a damn beast at left tackle. The hope for Denver is Donald Stephenson’s calf injury isn’t serious. The last thing this team and offense can afford to overcome is an injury to a tackle.
Make no mistake, the turnovers and inability to score touchdowns on offense are a big concern. However you slice it, this team can’t and won’t win games if this trend continues. No matter how many people convince themselves it’s how this team won last season. If it doesn’t get corrected, a change will need to be made.
I don't think Siemian has been bad but when Lynch is ready, no reason not to play him.— Sayre Bedinger (@SayreBedinger) September 19, 2016
The positive in all of this is the Broncos are still 2-0. There are areas Kubiak and the offensive coaches can turn to that show great things. That’s huge for confidence. The Denver offense knows it can move the ball. It must get rid of the turnovers and finish drives with touchdowns.
If the Broncos do that, these games won’t be close. They won’t have to rely on that special defense to bail them out. They won’t have to use that rare ability to win close games.
It sure would be nice for a change to see a high-scoring Denver offense.