In addition to having an astonishing 6-0 start, the Broncos’ defensive stats are even more jaw-dropping.
Currently, Broncos are on top of the NFL in yardage defense, second in scoring defense, they are #5 against the run and #3 against the pass. What’s more, they also have a league-best record of 26 sacks, and have matched seven interceptions with an equally stunning seven fumble recoveries. Broncos have also scored four defensive touchdowns resulting in wins for three of those matches.
However, despite all these accomplishments in that short time, most people are still focusing on how much Denver has been struggling offensively with Peyton Manning, and how this is going to be a limiting factor in their bid to being successful in their AFC season.
Given the fact that they are in a period when pass-happy clubs are registering weekly-point explosions more often, that attitude just ignores championship-level superiority on the other side of the ball.
No other team has shown this kind of defensive superiority across all fronts since Seattle in 2013. In fact, they even went on to thrash Denver 43-8 in that year’s Super Bowl XLVIII. And just like that fully-loaded Seahawks team, it is very difficult to spot any weaknesses across all levels of the current Broncos team.
Having combined for 7.5 sacks, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware have also been rated Pro Football Focus’ #1 and #5 outside linebackers, in a 3-4. Rookie Shane Ray comes behind them with two sacks to his name.
On the other hand, Malik Jackson and Vance Walker have been PFF’s #12 and #18 3-4 defensive ends, with Antonio Smith behind them also playing well. Derek Wolfe, who has recently returned to active play from suspension, further enhances this rotation.
Both Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., who are their top cream of cornerbacks, have returned one of their double interceptions for touchdowns.
Just behind these two, Bradley Roby has a pick and he is the one who scored the touchdown that won the match against the Chiefs on his fumble return.
While Darian Stewart has shown a lot of quality and distinction as a coverage safety, T.J. Ward has also been a run-stopping and blitzing two-sacks force, with David Bruton, who has one sack and INT to his name, excelling behind them.
With such statistics from all those players highlighted above, it is not fair to have Brandon Marshall tie everything altogether as PFF’s most distinguished inside linebacker with his 48 total tackles so far, or the fact that the equally fast Danny Trevathan has 41 more tackles playing adjacent to his position.
Under Wade Phillips, all kinds of numbers are making the Broncos’ defense look fantastic currently, though this also enables them to have credentials to put them up there among the most successful Super Bowl clubs from the last one and a half decades.
The Ravens of the year 2000 were the 1st team to score defense as well as 2nd yardage defense; the Buccaneers of 2002 were the 1st in both categories; the 2005 Steelers were 3rd and 4th; the 2008 Steelers were 1st in both; the 2010 Packers were 2nd and 5th.
When we come back to the Seahawks, the twice reigning trendsetters in both yardage defense and scoring, most people will recall that they had fallen just one yard short of achieving back-to-back victories in the Super Bowl.
All that the Broncos’ defense is doing right now will not be of value to them if they fail to break through to assist Manning in getting that 2nd ring. The team is going to have a great window of opportunity to prove to the world just how historically good they are prior to the playoffs, with Colts, Patriots, Packers, Bengals and Steelers all on the schedule after the week 7 bye.
However, the clear concerns about Broncos’ offense still remain. But it is not going to take too much more help from Peyton Manning to believe that this team is capable of getting that title because there is a lot of offensive talent.