The Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos added another chapter to their rivalry on Sunday. Here are three things we learned.
The Denver Broncos are now 2-0 after the first two weeks of the season, and their defense appears to be just as dominant as it was a year ago. After beating defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers in Week 1, they welcomed Andrew Luck to town on Sunday, and quickly disposed of the star quarterback. The Broncos were in control throughout, and reestablished themselves as the class of the AFC West.
It is still very early in the season, but one this is clear, the Denver Broncos are going to be able to go toe to toe with anyone. They have faced Cam Newton and Andrew Luck through the first two weeks of the season, and have come out unscathed. Not bad for a team that has Trevor Siemian as their quarterback.
Here are three things we learned from Sunday’s Colts/Broncos tilt.
1. Denver’s defense is the best in the league
It may not be even close, but the Broncos have the best defense in all of football. Through the first two weeks, they have played arguably two of the top five quarterbacks in the league, and they have dominated on the defensive end. It is not often that Andrew Luck gets held under 200 points, but that certainly happened today.
The defense does a little bit of everything, as they continuously put pressure on the offense. They can get after the quarterback, cover anybody, and they are stout against the run. Not only do that have star players, but their role guys play big, and there is really no weakness on the unit. Most people felt the Broncos would not win the AFC West, but they certainly look like they aren’t ready to pass the torch.
In Week 3, the Broncos will head to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. Andy Dalton is another quarterback who can put up big numbers, but he may need some extra time in the film room this week. Denver will have to check on DeMarcus Ware, who left the game with an elbow injury, but even without him, they should be able to get after Dalton all game long.
2. C.J. Anderson is the truth
Last season, the Denver Broncos made it to the Super Bowl with C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman splitting carries in the backfield. The team released Hillman before the season, and handed the keys to Anderson. Through the first two games of the season, Anderson has proven he can carry the load, and is a legitimate starting back in the NFL.
After scoring a touchdown on both the ground, and in the air in Week 1, Anderson once again for paydirt on Sunday. He ran the ball 20 times in the contest, racking up 74 yards and a touchdown. He also got involved in the passing game, helping to be a good security blanket for Trevor Siemian.
Anderson is having a solid start to the season, and will be headed to a Pro Bowl if he keeps it up. The Broncos knew they were going to have to get something out of him with an inexperienced quarterback, and he has delivered. He has a tough matchup in Week 3, but he also had one in Week 1, and we saw what happened there.
3. Indianapolis looked a lot better on defense
Last week, the Colts’ D looked atrocious, as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions hung 39 points on them. Quarterback Andrew Luck did everything he could to keep them in the game, throwing for four touchdowns, but it was not enough. Heading into their game against the Denver Broncos, the Colts knew they would struggle to score points, and their defense actually hung in there.
Though the Colts allowed 34 points in the contest, they actually only allowed one offensive touchdown. While the final Broncos touchdown came on a fumble while they had the ball, it was really only C.J. Anderson’s second quarter run that should be counted. Indy’s defense did bend a lot on Sunday, but it did not break, and the Colts were in the game up until late in the fourth quarter.
Indianapolis plays in the AFC South, and aside from maybe Jacksonville, these teams do not have high-powered offenses. Luck is always going to keep his team in games, and if Colts defense can play the way they did on Sunday, a playoff appearance may not be out of the question.