Although it’s hard to be critical of the Denver Broncos defense through the first month of the season, there has been a drastic difference between the Broncos run and pass defense.

The pass defense, lead by the relentless pass rush and “No Fly Zone,” seems unbeatable. However, in front of them, the run defense has been very hit or miss. Fortunately, in Sunday’s 27-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Broncos run defense was a hit.

On Sunday, not only did the Broncos finish the game with impressive statistics against the run — 26 carries for 72 yards, a 2.8 average — they looked good doing it, too.

After giving up 157 yards on the ground in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers and 143 to the Cincinnati Bengals last week, the defensive line took it upon themselves to stop the run game. Not only did all three starting defensive lineman — Jared Crick, Sylvester Williams and Derek Wolfe — have great games, but backup Billy Winn continued to emerge as a playmaker as well.

In a 3-4 defensive scheme, which the Broncos run, the primary job of the three defensive linemen is to occupy as many offensive linemen as possible, not necessarily to fill up the stat sheet. Not only did the defensive line occupy blockers, but they also did very well on the stat sheet.

Wolfe finished with his best game this season, compiling six tackles, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss. Crick and Williams combined for four more quarterback hits, two tackles for a loss as well as one more sack.

Whatever defensive line coach Bill Kohlar did differently this week worked.

Along with the defensive line’s play stepping up, the Broncos were able to contain quarterback Jameis Winston from scrambling. Earlier in the week, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that the key to the run defense was containing quarterbacks from scrambling.

On Sunday the Broncos held Winston, who is very capable of running with the ball, to five carries for 19 yards, the fewest amount of yards given up to an opposing quarterback all year.

In the best performance by the run defense this season, the defense’s potential showed loud and clear only allowing seven points and 215 total yards to the Buccaneers.

If the Broncos continue to build on the success against the run like they did on Sunday, it’s difficult to imagine how teams will move the ball, yet alone score, against this defense.