DENVER -- Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen has been working to change the mindset of the Broncos defense since he took over.
Saturday night against the Buffalo Bills, that new, aggressive mentality was on full display.
The first-team unit set the tone for the night, swarming to the ball, playing with a physical edge and ultimately allowing just a field goal and 90 yards of total offense in a half of play against the Bills' starters.
"It's an attitude. That's what we want. That's what we're trying to give - violent, relentless, swarming, attacking, just nasty defense," defensive tackle
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick felt the full force of the Broncos' inspired defensive effort.
On the opening drive of the game, Allen sent a blitz in the red zone that got right to the Bills quarterback, forcing an incompletion and an eventual field goal attempt.
Towards the end of the first half, the Broncos kept the pressure coming and it forced the Bills into a mistake.
During the same series that included a crushing blow from
Allen has emphasized the importance of turnovers as a byproduct of his aggressive system and his defense produced the takeaway he was looking for.
"He wants us to go out there, play fast, get the ball back to our offense," linebacker
The front seven made Fitzpatrick uncomfortable throughout the night, and Miller was quick to credit the work of the secondary for blanketing receivers and limiting the options for the Bills signal caller, which in turn allowed he and the other Denver pass rushers to wreak havoc in the backfield.
"Our secondary was doing a heck of a job, holding everybody up and disguising their looks," said Miller, who had a second sack called off due to an offsides penalty. "What else can we do when you've got great coverage like that? You've just got to get back there."
"When you have guys like Von and Elvis, Vickerson and (Robert) Ayers - those guys thrive on getting to the QB," Moore said. "It's like food."
The Broncos are confident Saturday night's performance is just a taste of what's to come for their new-look defense this season.
"From the first game to this game we improved, and the intensity is where it needs to be as far as us flying around on the defensive side of the ball," Dawkins said. "We just have to continue to grow and correct the mistakes that we did make in this game, but I'm definitely excited about tonight's effort."
Dumervil echoed those sentiments and is impressed with the tone the defense has set through the first two weeks of the exhibition slate.
"We've got to use these preseason games to establish what we want to be during the regular season," Dumervil said. "To define who we want to be, we've got to start off early.
"I think we're headed in the right direction."