Miller leads ferocious Denver defense to win over Colts

Von Miller led a ferocious Denver defense that accounted for two touchdowns in the Broncos' 34-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Here's what we learned:

  1. The Colts simply don't have the talent on either side of the ball to knock off the defending champions. Already down three cornerbacks, they lost Darius Butler and Rashaan Melvin during the game while Antonio Cromartie battled through a shoulder injury. Butler was about to finish off a spectacular pick-six when his hamstring snapped, leaving him in a heap at midfield. The defensive issues aren't limited to the secondary. The front seven lacks the speed to generate a pass rush, leaving the occasional blitz by safety Mike Adams as the only way to manufacture heat on quarterbacks. A major issue in the season opener, missed tackles came back to haunt the Colts defense on a late fourth-quarter Broncos drive after Andrew Luck pulled to within three points with just over four minutes remaining.
  1. Minus a viable ground attack -- as usual -- the deck was stacked against Luck in a matchup with Denver's dominant defense. By halftime, he had been hurried on half of his dropbacks and hit on a third. Luck is 6-foot-4 with one of the NFL's highest releases. It's telling that he had a series of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, as Denver's defensive front consistently pushed the Colts' offensive line back. With the cornerback trio of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby tying up Indy's receivers, Luck was too often forced to hold the ball and use his legs to bail out of trouble. Losing Donte Moncrief to a first-half head injury didn't help the matter, as the undersized duo of T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett have trouble winning at the catch point versus physical cornerbacks.
  1. Miller showed Super Bowl MVP form with three sacks, highlighted by a game-clinching strip sack that resulted in a Shane Ray touchdown. Luck had the ball down six points in a two-minute drill at the time of Miller's turnover. The Broncos will likely need more impact plays from Ray and Shaq Barrett after losing DeMarcus Ware to an ulna fracture in the third quarter. Ware was ruled out for the game shortly after going down.
  1. With a chance to blow the game wide open in the second half, Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison played this one too close to the vest. It's understandable that the coaches would take a conservative approach with Trevor Siemian making his second career start, but there was plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the Colts' cornerback woes by attacking downfield. The Broncos won an NFL-record 11 games by a touchdown or less last season. While Kubiak and defensive boss Wade Phillips have developed a winning formula, it's also a philosophy that keeps the score tight versus lesser opponents.
  1. Miller's strip sack wasn't the only game-changing play for Denver's defense. Talib made a great read to jump Dorsett's curl route for a pick-six, giving the Broncos a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Talib's nine career touchdowns on interceptions are tied for the fourth-most in NFL history. Only Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson and Darren Sharper have more.
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