Broncos win Second Straight

By a score of 16-0 in a dominant defensive showcase, the Denver Broncos dismantled the Tennessee Titans Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High.

To the tune of seven sacks, 10 quarterback hits, three interceptions, five passes defensed and forcing a quarterback change from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill, the Broncos punished the Titans to claim their second victory in as many weeks.

At 2-4, the Denver Broncos defense has seemingly settled into the new Vic Fangio system and they are playing like a defense that, again, can carry this team to victory. They have not given up an offensive touchdown in the last two weeks, their run defense has stuffed Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, and Derrick Henry after being embarrassed by Leonard Fournette, and they are both getting sacks and turnovers that continue to give the team a chance to win games.

With the defense coming back to life, the offense needs to kick it into gear for this team to continue trending upward, as they are still seemingly mediocre at best. Joe Flacco has thrown an interception in four straight games, and he didn’t eclipse 200 yards passing for a second straight week, while the team was a crippling 2/14 on third downs Sunday. Despite the defense playing lights out, the Titans still achieved more first downs and had the time of possession advantage over the Broncos.

The Broncos offense has only managed to score more than 20 points once this season and they average 17.66 points per game. In the offense-heavy NFL of today, where the teams at the top can score at will, trotting out a sub-par offense will not continue to win games.

Garrett Bolles again had a great game, marking three straight since his embarrassment against Chicago in Week 2, but his great play has been viewed with skepticism. The fans can only sit with bated breath after every holding call against Ron Leary, ready to scorn Elway for another bad draft pick.

Leary has taken the team penalty lead with six holding calls and two false starts, making him the second-most penalized player in the league. Between Leary and Noah Fant, the two seemingly have one or two penalties each game. The rookie Fant has to learn blocking schemes, route trees, reading defenses, and offensive alignment, but Leary was a high-cost, veteran, free agent that was supposed to anchor this offensive line, not hurt it.

Penalties, turnovers, and an inability to convert on third downs will continue to have a negative impact on this offense if something isn’t changed soon. Emmanuel Sanders left the Titans game with a knee injury and never returned, meaning that his availability is questionable, and losing a big-time playmaker on an offense that has looked anything but electric will have an impact.

Realistically, the Broncos are two defensive stops away from being a 4-2 team tied at the top of the AFC West. Despite losing Bradley Chubb, the defense has begun to turn it around. Putting Alexander Johnson and Mike Purcell into the defensive rotation has pumped a breath of fresh air into the run defense, and renewed life for a unit that didn’t show up to start the year.

The team has a chance to make a huge statement next week as they host the Chiefs Thursday night. Last season, the Broncos held the Chiefs to 27 and 30 points respectively, which were some of their lowest point totals of the year for the MVP-led team with an unstoppable offense. If the Broncos can go on a three-game win streak against quality opponents, there may be hope, but as it stands, Flacco hasn’t been the answer, and until he proves that he can lead this offense to at least middling quality, it’s hard to proclaim this team as a win-now squad.

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