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Pass Rush Takes Control in Fourth

Posted Dec 23, 2012

The Broncos' pass rushers were able to tee off and record three sacks in the fourth quarter.


DENVER – The Broncos’ comfortable fourth-quarter lead made the Browns one-dimensional.

With Cleveland forced into obvious passing situations, Denver could have played it safe and emphasized preventing the deep ball. Instead, the Broncos’ pass rushers set their sights on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, who entered the game in the third quarter in relief of injured starter Brandon Weeden. The attacking mentality paid dividends, as Denver was able to increase its sack total from three to six sacks in the game’s final quarter.

“It gets nasty at the end of the game, especially when it is a clean-up effort,” linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “(Defensive end) Elvis (Dumervil) is one of the best closers in the NFL when it comes to getting tackles, sacks, and forced fumbles. It is exciting when we get that chance to pin our ears back and go after them.”

After linebacker Von Miller established a new Broncos single-season record with his 17.5th sack of the year earlier in the game, it was his teammates in the front seven that sealed the deal. As Miller and Dumervil have throughout their first two seasons together, they once again fed off each other’s success in Sunday’s win.

“It’s great whenever you have a guy like Elvis on the other side, a savvy veteran who knows how to get there and knows how to get there with a bad attitude,” Miller said. “I learn from him and I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to get to this spot right here, right now by myself. Elvis is a huge catalyst involved in my success.”

On the Browns’ final two possessions, McCoy was sacked for a loss of eight yards by defensive end Elvis Dumervil, a loss of seven more by both Dumervil and Woodyard, and finally, a loss of another seven yards on a vicious hit from Woodyard on Cleveland’s final offensive snap.

“You've got him (Miller), Elvis, you've got guys just teeing off on the quarterback out there,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “Von is a special talent, so you always have to know where he is. Once you find out where he is, here come the other guys. It's a great team effort. All those guys have great individual talent."

Of the team’s six sacks on the evening, it was Woodyard’s finale that arguably featured the biggest collision. Racing in untouched from his linebacker position, he buried an unsuspecting McCoy to turn the ball back over to the Denver offense for the final time.

“Just a good call, I saw him right there, he was left alone and I had to take a chance,” Woodyard said.

Another factor in the success of the team’s pass rush was solid coverage on the back end, which has helped Denver accumulate 48 sacks on the year.

“We have a great secondary, I’ve said that all season long,” Miller said. “(Cornerback) Chris Harris is playing with his hair on fire this season. Champ Bailey is still looking like Champ Bailey for all the games that we’ve played this year and I have (safety) Rahim Moore – unfortunately they took away that touchdown – but our secondary is playing lights out this whole season and I think that’s a huge part of our success to be able to get there and get sacks.”