Broncos lean on defense (again) to stay undefeated

The Denver Broncos remain undefeated, getting another monster performance from their defense in a 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Here's what you need to know:

  1. In case you needed a reminder, this Broncos' defense is for real. Not only did they keep Adrian Peterson mostly in check, they consistently made life difficult for Teddy Bridgewater. Denver piled up seven sacks, the biggest coming on T.J. Ward's strip for a turnover on the game's penultimate play.
  1. Ronnie Hillman's second quarter 72-yard touchdown run down the sideline might have served as the exact moment C.J. Anderson lost his grip on a starting job. Hillman went over 100 yards and clearly was the preferred choice of Gary Kubiak down the stretch.
  1. Let's call the hyped matchup of A.P. and Denver's D a draw. Peterson struggled to find running room for much of the day, but his 49-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 changed the complexion of the game with nine minutes to play. Credit goes to the Minnesota line, which opened a huge hole for the star rusher.
  1. We've seen enough now to know what we're going to get from Peyton Manning at this point. The quarterback threw a pair of ugly interceptions and repeatedly demonstrated his limited arm strength. And yet, all he'll need to be is a league-average starter if the defense keeps up its tremendous play. That feels doable.
  1. Consider this another great learning experience for Bridgewater, even if it didn't turn out his way. The second-year quarterback was far from perfect and often under siege in hostile territory, but he never seemed overwhelmed by the moment. It didn't end well, but Bridgewater still inspires confidence.
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