The Denver Broncos enter their bye week 3-1, and arrived there after a bounce back win against the Raiders. At 2-0 in the division, the Broncos seem to have set themselves up for a run to the playoffs. The play of the Broncos has surprised many around the league on both sides of the football.
As Ian St. Clair and I discuss on the MHR Radio podcast, no one really expected the Broncos to be this good. Sure, many fans out there believed in their team, but to be this good? Is it a perfect team? Of course not, but seeing the way the Broncos have won games this year is the big surprise.
It’s the run defense that has been such a big surprise. The worst part of the defense in 2016 has become the Broncos strength in 2017. After 4 weeks of play, the Broncos have allowed just 50.8 yards per game on the ground, and lead the league in total defense. Much of the credit has to go to Domata Peko.
Peko has been a major presence on the line, stuffing the run, clearing lanes for Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall. The defensive line has become the Broncos defensive strength, garnering their own nickname, Ground Control.
The combination of Peko, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis, and Shelby Harris have been impenetrable. And the Broncos haven’t played cupcakes. LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliot, Melvin Gordon, and Marshawn Lynch is a list that could devastate most teams. The Broncos emerged from that list as the best run defense in the league.
The flip side of the run defense is just how good the running game has been on offense. The Broncos rushing attack is the third ranked team in the NFL. At 143 yards per game, the offense has been able to control the pace of games utilizing C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles.
If there is a complaint, it is that Denver is not running the football enough. The numbers show that with Trevor Siemian at quarterback, the Broncos are most successful when he throws the ball 25 times or less. In order for this to happen, Denver must be successful running the football.
So far, the Broncos have mostly found success running the ball. If that can continue, a playoff spot is definitely in the future for Denver.