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Broncos will need more than a win vs a bad team to quiet doubters

There are two areas from Thursday night’s game that will make the winning formula sustainable.

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Good morning, Broncos Country!

Was the Denver Broncos ass-kicking against the Arizona Cardinals a desert mirage or is it sustainable?

It’s a question that’s been asked repeatedly since Thursday night. In fact, I asked it in the “winners and losers” story right after the game. Given how putrid the Cardinals are, it’s understandable if you think it was an optical illusion caused by Arizona’s impressive lousiness.

But as I told Adam Malnati on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, as well as Michael Klahr and Mark Knudson for my weekly Saturday segment (it starts at 24 minutes), there are two areas of Thursday night’s game that are sustainable for Denver. The first is what fans have called for since the four-game losing streak started — run the damn football. It’s what the Broncos do best and bolsters Case Keenum’s effectiveness, allowing him to utilize play action and get out of the pocket.

The other is the rise of the Orange Rush. When Denver is able to dominate and wreck games with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, it sets up the rest of the defense. It takes the pressure off of the unit, allowing it to play more freely. Not only does it force an offensive line to pick its poison and make the quarterback uneasy, it enables the defense to create turnovers. Miller and Chubb have combined for 8.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, 7.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery over the last two weeks. The Broncos harnessed the power of the Orange Rush on Thursday to force five turnovers.

If Chubb and Miller continue to dominate, and Bill Musgrave builds off of the creativity he showed in Arizona and keeps the offensive focus on the rushing attack, the winning feeling is absolutely sustainable; especially against the Kansas City Chiefs.

We’ll find out next Sunday if either of these factors become trends. Whether the coaches get out of the way and put the players in the same situations to succeed remains the biggest speed bump at this point.

The pieces are there to build off of what the Broncos did on Thursday. But until it happens, it’s fair to question how credible the win really is. Was this just a desert mirage giving us false hope that this team is finding its way out of a football wasteland?

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