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The Takeaway: Complementary football leads to a Broncos win

The Denver Broncos have been searching for the right combo for years, and now they just might have it.

When the Denver Broncos started the 2021 season, there was talk that they could start the season 3-0. After beating the New York Jets 26-0 in their home opener, the Broncos completed the trifecta.

It may seem cliché, but the takeaway has to be that the Broncos are playing complementary football. When Ian St. Clair and I recorded the MHR Radio postgame recap we discussed how important it is that the offense and defense seem to be playing in synch.

For the last few seasons the defense has been asked to carry the load for the Broncos. The offense struggled to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the defense. In these first three games Teddy Bridgewater has turned the offense around.

During the the game against the Jets it was obvious that the Broncos were the better team. There was never really a moment of concern. The defense never allowed the Jets offense to get comfortable. The Broncos offense put points on the board, which took pressure off the defense.

Offensively, there were some issues. The red zone efficiency was lower than expected. Brandon McManus, who continues to be perfect, was the biggest weapon. The Broncos only scored two touchdowns in five trips inside the 20. Some of that came from interesting play calling from Pat Shurmur. Some of it came from a Javonte Williams fumble near the goal line.

With just four 3rd down conversions in 11 tries, there are still some areas of concern. It’s not all candy canes and rainbows. Still, there is a confidence with this team. The game was never in doubt. The defense was going to continue to do what the defense has always done.

But the change is the offense. Aside from the Williams fumble, the offense is has been excellent protecting the football. Turnovers will destroy teams. The Broncos had one that cost the team points, but it resulted in a 4 play turnover on downs that was capped by Alexander Johnson’s second sack of the day.

When it was time to pick up the offense, the defense was still there. But what we saw from the offense was an ability to move the ball, and put the team in a position for success. The schedule only gets harder from here on out, but if the Broncos can continue to play complementary football, they should be able to continue to find ways to win.