The Broncos finally put together a complete performance on Thursday night, blowing out the Arizona Cardinals 45-10. The defense played the best it has since the vaunted 2015 unit, and the offense finally utilized Case Keenum on play-action and stuck to the run game.
Most importantly though, Vance Joseph and his coaching staff haven’t lost the locker room which has looked lost since Keenum missed an open Demaryius Thomas against the Chiefs. Joseph now has extra time to prepare for the Chiefs in Round 2, and he better take advantage of it. His seat may have cooled down for now, but losses to the Chiefs and Texans would drop the Broncos to 3-6 entering their bye week. The perfect time to make a switch at head coach.
Let’s take a look at some other Broncos who impressed against the lowly Cardinals.
Von Miller: Von Miller is an absolute freak of nature. After going three weeks without a sack, Miller has turned on the jets as of late. Miller recorded a sack and half against the Rams but managed to blow that performance out of the water by tallying two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery against Arizona.
The most impressive play of the night had to have been Miller’s first strip sack. Coming off the edge, Miller turned inside, ran straight into the guard and blew him up. Then, Miller leapt off the ground in immediate pursuit of Josh Rosen and managed to get the strip sack. It was the type of play that will make Miller’s Hall of Fame highlight reel when the time comes.
Bradley Chubb: Boy, oh Boy, do Broncos fans have something to be excited about in this edge rushing duo. Chubb has been beating his blocker and forcing pressure all season long, but he wasn’t able to finish off the sack early. Whether it be the game slowing down for Chubb or Miller’s tutelage, the numbers are finally beginning to reflect his play.
Over the span of five days, Chubb had five sacks and a Von Miller-esque strip of the quarterback. If Chubb and Von are both finding their stride, the defense could resemble Thursday Night’s dominance with regularly. The duo now leads all pass-rushing pairs in sacks with 14. The next closest duos have 10.
Emmanuel Sanders: As Von Miller was the defensive MVP of the game, Emmanuel Sanders was the offensive MVP. On seven receptions, Sanders led the team with 115 yards, including a 64-yard bomb from Keenum. It was the fourth time so far this season that Sanders has led the team in receiving yards, but the first time he led the team in passer rating.
On Denver’s first offensive drive of the game, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave dialed up a jet sweep to Sanders that ended with him throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to fellow SMU alumnus Courtland Sutton. The play earned Sanders a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
Bradley Roby: Roby has had rough season filling the hole left by Aqib Talib’s departure but, for the first time, looked the part against Arizona. Roby shut Cardinals receiver Chad Williams down entirely. Roby broke up four of Rosen’s passes, including huge deflections in the endzone and on third down. Roby managed to snag an interception late when Rosen tried to uncork a deep ball but was clobbered as he threw, and came within inches of a second. Hopefully, a performance like this helps build Roby’s confidence and leads to similar outings down the stretch.