Despite losing to Rams, Broncos have found their pass rush

Von Miller stares down Jared Goff. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
Von Miller stares down Jared Goff. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

It was a tough afternoon for the Denver Broncos, who lost their fourth game in a row with a 23-20 loss to the 6-0 Los Angeles Rams.

The Broncos were in multiple positions to win the game, remaining within two possessions of the Rams for most of the game. Instead of getting a statement win that could turn the season around, the Broncos instead fall to 2-4 searching for answers.

One of the biggest factors for the Broncos’ struggles this season had been the missing pass rush that had been so dominant in previous seasons. Entering Week 6, the Broncos ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in sacks per game. Despite the loss, the Broncos pass rush showed a lot of life once again.

Their pass rush asserted itself in this game, registering five sacks against Jared Goff and the explosive Rams offense.

The biggest takeaway from the Broncos defense in Week 6 was 2018 first round draft pick Bradley Chubb’s breakout game.

Chubb had began the season without having much of an impact. Against the Rams, Chubb displayed the talented pass rushing traits that made him the fifth overall pick in the annual selection showcase. Chubb terrorized Goff all afternoon, registering three sacks. The defensive end looked explosive throughout the entire game and he lined up as both an outside linebacker and defensive end, making quick work of both Rams’ offensive tackles.

Without a doubt, Chubb played his best when opposite from All-Pro Von Miller. When Miller and Chubb were on the field at the same time, the two gave Goff very few opportunities to drop back and survey the field.

Miller had a fantastic game as well. After starting the season with three sacks in the first game, Miller had been relatively quiet in the Broncos’ next four games. Miller had not registered a single sack during the Broncos’ three-game losing streak, but finally came back to form against the Rams, picking up 1.5 sacks of his own. Per usual, Miller saw multiple double-teams and “chip-blocks” from the Rams tight ends, but was finally able to get to Goff on multiple occasions.

The attention to Miller allowed for Chubb and the rest of the Broncos defense to see opportunities against the Rams’ injured offensive line. Safety Darian Stewart assisted with Miller’s sack and also registered an interception in the third quarter. Defensive end Adam Gotsis provided a consistent pass rush against the Rams, corralling Goff for Chubb’s third sack. And for the first time since their 2015 Super Bowl season, the Broncos pass defense looked like it could contend with some of the NFL’s best passing offenses.

Denver’s desperately looking to snap their four-game losing streak to salvage their 2018 season. While their defense has much work to do in terms of improving their lifeless run-stopping, the Broncos have to be pleased with the way their pass rush performed against one of the NFL’s best offenses.

Next week, the Broncos will face the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. Led by rookie Josh Rosen, the Broncos have a terrific opportunity to snap their losing streak if their pass rush performs like it did today.

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