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Broncos, Briefly: Friday, Oct. 19, 2018

"That's our formula," said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, who contributed a pick-six of his own. "If we get up on teams, we can turn the dogs loose. That's how we're built."

But this much we know is true: The spring is definitely back in the Broncos' step. What had seemed like the football equivalent of a death march has been replaced with tangible reasons for Denver to keep fighting.

Instead of looking at the calendar with dread, the team can now circle Oct. 28 in red, for a date with the first-place Chiefs. With a 3-4 record, Joseph can now stand in front of his players and tell them if they overcome the odds and win at Kansas City, the Broncos can not only stick it to the doubters, but enter the midway point of this season with renewed hope of qualifying for the playoffs.

"I mean it felt like a home game there for a lot of it,'' said Broncos quarterback Case Keenum. "That was impressive. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had to go on a silent count for a few series. That was really cool. I haven't been around that very much.''

The Broncos were up 35-3 at halftime, the third-largest lead at the intermission in team history. Despite all the noise surrounding his job status, Joseph had his team ready to play. Did the coach feel a sense of relief by the dominant win?

"Me? No,'' Joseph said. "That's more about our football team. I'm not concerned about me. It's a good win for our football team. It has been a tough, tough two weeks. We had a tough loss on Sunday. We had a short week, so it's really good for our football team to win a game. These guys work so hard. They came in on Monday night and practiced and didn't complain about a short week and played their best football game of the year. So, it was never about me, it's about our team."

But the Broncos were falling to temptation, en masse. Peko, filled with joy after the game, believes anything is possible for the Broncos, even victory Oct. 28 against the Chiefs.

"We just needed one to get the wheels turning," he said. "I can't wait to get those wheels to KC."

If the Broncos keep those wheels turning in Kansas City and upset Patrick Mahomes and the mighty offense he leads, it will be time to start believing in these Broncos.

Before thousands of Broncos fans at State Farm Stadium who roared in approval from start to finish, the players responded with their most complete performance of the season (and probably the Joseph Era) in a 45-10 win over the Cardinals.

What a time to be at their best.

"Von set the tone early with the comments he made and we kept talking about how we're a family and a team and we had to back him up," safety Justin Simmons said. "And that's what we did."

Not since Super Bowl 50 had the Broncos recorded five takeaways in a game. And not since 2012, when Peyton Manning was their quarterback, did they rout a team by as many as 35 points.

And not since Week 1 of this season, when the Broncos owned one of the league's top rushing defenses, did they allow as few as 69 yards on the ground.

The Broncos finished with six sacks, 11 quarterback hits, 10 pass-breakups, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), three forced fumbles and two recoveries. Rosen was held to 21-of-39 passing for 194 yards and a 44.2 rating.

The Cardinals might not have gotten the best the Broncos could offer, but it was far better than what the Broncos have served this season.

The Broncos were both creative, including a 28-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to Courtland Sutton in the first quarter, and bruising on the night. The defense was at its disruptive best with six sacks, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns, the first coming on the second play of the game.

"We got back to what we do best," Joseph said.

Coaching — A

All coaches look better when the defense produces two touchdowns in the first quarter. But the playcalling appeared to be all-around solid. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave dialed up a trick play that had Sanders throwing a 28-yard touchdown to Courtland Sutton and also re-introduced the screen game, something future opponents will have to acknowledge. On defense, the Broncos knew Arizona was playing without both starting guards and their two first-half sacks (by Zach Kerr and Shaq Barrett) came up the middle.

Back to Miller, who generated a Rosen fumble that was reversed, only to turn around and force another fumble from the young signal-caller plays later. The amazing Miller dialed up a second fumble off Rosen in the game's dying moments. There's nothing wrong with a player making public promises when he backs it up the way Miller did Thursday night.