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Broncos, Briefly: Monday, Oct. 22, 2018


Defensive Players of the Week

Von Miller, outside linebacker, Denver. His play cashed the check that his mouth wrote. After saying during the week his Broncos would kick the Cards' hiney, he played his best game of the year, albeit against a supremely flawed offensive team. Two sacks, two more quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery. The 45-10 Denver win was not that close.

Coaches of the Week

Tom McMahon, special teams coordinator, Denver. Not that the Broncos needed much of an edge against the feeblest offense in football (Arizona's), but the kicking game gave it to them. McMahon has designed a perfect kickoff play to pin foes behind their 25, where they'd get it on touchbacks. Brandon McManus does a high pop-up kick landing inside the five-yard line, and by the time it's received, the kick-coverage team has enough time to pin the receiving team back. Against the Cards, Denver did this five times, and pinned Arizona at its 17, 16, 14, 21 and 13-yard line. Good design by McMahon (a Montanan whose coaching career began at Carroll College in Helena), good execution by McManus and his 10 friends on the kickoff unit.

The Denver Broncos got a much-needed win over the Arizona Cardinals, one that snapped the team's four-game losing streak and gave it a reprieve from the growing migraine the season had become.

Now comes the hard part.

"We have to do something from here," linebacker Todd Davis said. "... We got the win and it was just a glimpse of what we can do. But it's just one and we don't want just one, we want to put something together and be the team we know we are."

The early line for Sunday is Kansas City minus-9 1/2. But we like the matchup. The Broncos should have won the teams' Week 4 game; they blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. A key change for the Broncos' defense should be to play more zone coverage. In fact, play it most of the game. In the first K.C.-Denver game this month, quarterback Patrick Mahomes extended the play time after time, stressing the Broncos' man coverage, which could "plaster" for only so long. By playing zone, receivers can be passed along in coverage. By our game charting, 27 of Mahomes' 45 attempts in Week 4 came against man coverage.