For years, the Broncos have played their home games in “enver.” That's right, no “D”.
Sure, 70-yard bombs, trick plays and ultimately touchdowns put butts in the seats. In this offensive-oriented NFL, scoring at will seems to be the best way to win, but as the saying goes, “defense wins championships.”
Offense is flashy and sells tickets.
Defense is gritty and wins games.
Ever since Pat Bowlen took the reins of the Broncos in the '80s, Denver's focus has been on offense. But this year's team seems to have bucked that trend.
Sunday versus the Bengals, the Mile High Maniacs preserved one drought (Cincy hasn't won in Denver since '75) while creating another one (Denver's D stymied Cincy's offense, holding them to 1-11 on 3rd down.)
Denver's defense was dominant Sunday; they flew to the ball, hit hard and with authority, plugged holes and dominated the line of scrimmage.
All that without three of their best defenders as Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams were sidelined due to injuries.
Football is simple, run the ball (which Denver did much better Sunday than in the season opener) and stop the run. Control the line and you will win far more often than not.
Fill-in middle-linebacker Joe Mays was a-Mays-ing against the Bengals.
After playing discouragingly in the opener, Mays hit hard and often, blowing up Bengals' back Cedric Benson repeatedly. Mays was the heart and soul of Denver's D Sunday, something that's been missing for far too long. He's a hard-nosed middle-linebacker that can lead his teammates in the heart of battle.
Like Mays, fellow linebackers Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard played well also. Miller used his speed to put pressure on QB Andy Dalton and earned his first career sack, the first of likely many more to come in the future. Woodyard flew to the ball, just as Brian Dawkins does every week, and both of them made big plays in the Broncos' win.
Overall, the defense swarmed ball-carriers, gang-tackling tremendously. And when defensive coordinator Greg Allen dialed up a blitz, the Broncos busted through and put Dalton under duress.
In the fourth quarter, when football games are won and lost, Denver's D stepped up and preserved the lead when the offense failed to convert even a single first down.
No, the game wasn't pretty and the Broncos barely held on to beat a bad Bengals team at home, but it was an encouraging performance.
Despite a multitude of injuries—which kept five starters sidelined—the Broncos proved they could persevere.
As the offense struggled, the defense stepped up.
It could be a sign of the times, a sign that the culture in Colorado is changing.
A sign that the Broncos don't have to only depend on the offense anymore, that this team will be built to compete on both sides of the ball.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Swoosh Nation.
Follow Rich on twitter for breaking news, need-to-know retweets and interesting insight on the Rams and everything Colorado sports related.
Follow Rich on facebook to links to all his pieces and breaking news.