Even though the Denver Broncos defeated the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday in Dallas, the Broncos’ defense has come under intense scrutiny after allowing 522 yards of offense. However, despite the big chunks of yardage, it was the defense that made the play of the game.
Many have criticized the defensive performance from the Broncos and have pointed out that it may be the downfall of the team’s Super Bowl hopes. I strongly disagree. The astounding numbers were not a result of the defense playing so poorly, as it was the fact that Tony Romo played a nearly perfect game.
The Broncos’ defense was able to put pressure on the Romo and played solid coverage on the Dallas receivers, but Romo used his athleticism to avoid oncoming rushers, extend plays until the coverage broke down, and make pinpoint passes. There is simply nothing a defense can do when a quarterback is playing like that (look at the defenses trying stop Peyton Manning).
The Broncos’ defense did and will continue to allow a lot of passing yards based solely on the fact that the Broncos’ offense is not possession oriented and opposing offenses are forced to throw in order to keep up Manning. The question is can the defense make critical stops at pivotal points in the game? So far this season, that is exactly what they have done.
In the first four weeks the defense forced seven turnovers and only gave up an average of 22.75 points per game – the majority of which were given up in garbage time. Moreover, they have routinely gotten opposing offenses off the field on third down, allowing only a 34 percent conversion rate. These are stout numbers from an understaffed and inexperienced defense and certainly do not represent a weakness.
Obviously the defensive numbers went up in Week 5 thanks to Romo’s incredible performance, but nevertheless, the defense still came though in the clutch. Down 14-7 after the Eric Decker fumble, the defense forced two field goals, a fumble, and punt to close out the first half and give the Broncos a 28-20 lead. Then, when the team absolutely needed a stop on last drive of the game, the defense got pressure in Romo’s face and second year linebacker Danny Trevathan made an eye-popping play on the ball, essentially sealing the victory for the Broncos.
If anything, this win was a huge confidence booster for the defense as well as the entire Broncos team. It proves this team can rely on its defense when it is up against the wall and facing extreme adversity. Moreover, they did so without the help of Champ Bailey and Von Miller, both of whom will be returning very soon.
When the two All-Pro defensive players return, this Broncos’ defense becomes incredibly deep and confident in their abilities. Despite the big numbers given up, there is only one stat that matters: 5-0. Until a team can truly expose a weakness, there is no reason to believe the Broncos can be beat.
Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24