Well, Von Miller predicted an ass-kicking, and that’s what we got tonight. The Arizona Cardinals league worst offense led by Mike-up the middle-McCoy was just the cure for what ailed the Broncos. Here’s what we learned.
Denver can actually play good football
While some of the points and big plays came off of the Cardinals just being bad, Denver looked much better in overall technique and discipline. Corners were playing tight, the run defense looked solid, all three receivers made big plays, and young running backs ran well.
The quality of opponent and the defensive turnovers aren’t necessarily sustainable or replicable, but Denver’s play tonight was. This is something I think Denver needed to prove to themselves, that they were capable of good football, because we haven’t seen much of that from them lately. Tonight’s performance was definitely something to build on.
Before tonight, Denver had scored 30+ points only once in the last 36 games.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) October 19, 2018
Denver’s run defense isn’t that bad
After the last two weeks, fans and media have derided Denver’s run defense as if they’re absolutely incapable of stopping anyone and the coaching staff was incapable of coaching a good run defense. While it certainly looked that way the last two weeks, Denver began the season with a stout run stopping attack, and finished the season as a top five run defense last year.
These last two games were an aberration that Denver would love to put behind them, mainly caused by horrible tackling technique, poor run fits, and teams exploiting Denver’s nickel defense.
Tonight, Denver was disciplined in their gaps, tackled better, and made some tweaks that I had been calling for, staying in there base defensive front, even when the offense goes into 11 personnel, and letting Justin Simmons play the slot in those situations. When the Broncos are in their base defense, they are just fine against the run, and showed that tonight.
Von Miller has lost zero steps
Von Miller’s promise to kick the Cardinals ass tonight has been well documented, and he backed up the talk tonight.
There have been whispers throughout the fan base during this losing streak that Von Miller might be losing a step as he hasn’t been very effective the last few weeks. Well, tonight he proved that he is just as much a game-wrecker as ever when given ample opportunity.
.@VonMiller lived up to his word. #BeatTheCardinals pic.twitter.com/tmK1ALbEZF— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 19, 2018
Once the Broncos got up to a nice lead, where the Cardinals were one dimensional, Miller was able to just line up and rush the passer. His first step and snap anticipation is still second to none in the NFL.
Broncos LB @VonMiller's sack and forced fumble leads to the team's third takeaway of the night.— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) October 19, 2018
No NFL player has more forced fumbles than Miller (24) since he entered the league in 2011.
Good things happen when Denver establishes the run and then runs play action.
The fanbase has been screaming about this, and I wrote on Tuesday how the Broncos weren’t doing what they were good at.
Why the Broncos are not giving Case Keenum the chance to succeedhttps://t.co/HApsCIN4yk pic.twitter.com/L1YJkiaOBG— PFF DEN Broncos (@PFF_Broncos) October 18, 2018
The Broncos finally got in a game script that allowed them to run the football, and they actually stuck with it. Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay each scored a touchdown.
Additionally, Case Keenum, who has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league off of play action, showed why Denver needs to start incorporating more play action and bootlegs into their games.
.@ESanders_10 goes 64 YARDS on the deep ball from @CaseKeenum!#BroncosCountry TOUCHDOWN. #DENvsAZ— NFL (@NFL) October 19, 2018
: @nflnetwork + @NFLonFOX
+ : https://t.co/DJUityQHC9 pic.twitter.com/qDR6HEtOHA
This win doesn’t really change a whole lot
Not to be a downer, but this was a game Denver was supposed to win. The Cardinals are a bad team, if Denver didn’t win this game, we were in trouble. The Broncos need to build on this win and the strong play tonight to ensure this win isn’t just a blip on the radar of another losing streak.
The team needs to rally behind this performance and use it propel them to a big game against the Kansas City Chiefs on a long week to rest up and (hopefully) scheme up something good.
To be clear, I’m super excited we saw a great game from Denver, I just want to see them continue this type of play moving forward. They’ve proved they can be a force when everything is clicking.