Von Miller reduced a man to a matador, bulldozing Washington's left offensive tackle in the fourth quarter Sunday. When Von hit RGIII, that's when it hit me — these guys are going to beat the Chiefs. Twice.
We know the story, and it's an adorable one. New coach, new season, new attitude and these sack-happy Chiefs have game-managed their way to 8-0. They've beaten five of the same opponents that 7-1 Denver has.
It's hard to talk about the Broncos these days without throwing in the Kansas City caveat. And most fans, who seem to already be talking about the Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 games against their division rivals, revert to the “they'll just split” theory. But watching Denver's defense throw around Robert Griffin.
III like he was a little brother in front-yard football makes you wonder how Kansas City can play up to the Broncos' level on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs have a snarling defense and a game manager at quarterback; Denver has a game-changer at quarterback for a “Star Wars” offense, and now, a defense that appears resuscitated.
Denver's defense is coming off its best game of the season Sunday.
“Without a doubt,” coach John Fox asserted Monday, commenting on a five-turnover performance that included 13 hits on RGIII. Von is back to being Von, Wesley Woodyard is back to barking out plays and then making them, and Champ Bailey should be ready for the stretch run.
And Denver's defense isn't even close to being as good as its offense.
“I think by season's end, (Denver's defense) will be playing as well as any of the playoff teams,” Troy Aikman gushed during the broadcast.
“If that's true,” his TV partner Thom Brennaman said, “the teams in the AFC will be in a world of hurt.”
Right now, the team in the AFC that Denverites are discussing is Kansas City. Make that first-place Kansas City (still a weird phrase to type, as I'm sure it is for fans to say). The Chiefs are one of the coolest stories in sports. And, sure, I would worry about coach Andy Reid's outrageous 13-1 record in games after bye weeks — the Nov. 17 game at Denver follows a bye week.
But I also know that Denver's offense at home means a deluge of touchdowns, and that means Denver's opponent will be passing to play catch-up and that means Alex Smith will be passing to play catch-up (and the Broncos would love for Alex Smith to throw a lot of passes).
The more I think about the Broncos' loss at Indianapolis, the more I think about what that game taught us. There were stupid decisions and weak performances across the board, and Denver, even with a minus-two turnover margin, had a shot to win late.
That's hard to do. Just ask Kansas City, which has watched teams wilt due to its plus-12 turnover margin.
So yeah, the Indy loss was an eye opener, “a blemish on our record,” as Fox said Monday, but it was no cause for panic.
“We're in good shape as far as where our record is at this point,” Fox said. “The next eight will be very critical, especially when we've got a bunch of division games moving forward. ... We're pleased. Are we satisfied? No.”
All fall, the Von stuff has irked me. I've never understood why he would make off-field gambles knowing he was already in the league's substance-abuse program.
But teammate Rahim Moore, among others, vociferously promised that Miller would come back hungrier than ever, that taking football away from him would put football in perspective. Whether he's extra motivated or just simply a human tornado on the field, his big play Sunday was a game-changer. Denver was up just seven in the fourth quarter when Miller breezed by Trent Williams and crunched Griffin, pinning his right arm and forcing a fumble, recovered by Derek Wolfe.
I bet they could hear that one in Kansas City.