The Denver Broncos looked like a team without fight, without a fire lit underneath them in the first half as they trailed 10-0 to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.

And then it happened.

Near the end of the first half in which the Broncos had very little to hang their hat on for either side of the ball, Von Miller injured his ankle in a collision with teammate Dre’Mont Jones. Neither were really that close to Browns backup quarterback Case Keenum, and the severity of the injury — in which Miller stayed down on one knee for a while before limping off the field — was a worst-case scenario to end the half.

It looked like Miller’s knee flexed sideways from the hit, but the team labeled it an ankle injury and he was questionable to return early in the second half. It was also announced that Miller was having X-rays performed in the locker room as the second half began and he was later ruled out in the third quarter.

Miller is arguably the greatest defender in the history of the Broncos and he missed a good amount of the 2013 season with a knee injury and then missed all of 2020 with an torn tendon in his ankle.

The Broncos defense struggled even with Miller in the lineup for the first half, getting gashed on run after run as they have gone deep on the roster to find inside linebackers to play. And there’s been mostly a lack of a pass rush in this current game, as well as most of the games during the team’s current three-game losing streak.

Without Miller, the Broncos are missing their top two edge rushers as Bradley Chubb was placed on the Injured Reserve much earlier in the season. Hopefully for Denver, Miller’s deemed OK to continue playing this season.

And the Broncos — trailing 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter at the time of this publishing — have to hope they can come back and win this game and not turn it into a four-game losing streak.