Over its past three games, the Broncos' defense has given up a total of three touchdowns and has played a pivotal role in securing two home wins. The strong play is rooted in the Broncos' early-season games, even though those results didn't align with the Broncos' expectations or standard.
In an interview with NFL Network, safety Justin Simmons gave insight into a key moment before the Broncos' game against the Jets that sparked the defense's belief in itself.
"[Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph] puts up all the clips of all the negatives we had … and then he puts up clips of all the positive plays we had, the negative plays the [opposing] offense had," Simmons said on NFL Network on Nov. 2. "Just showing the minute differences and one or two guys not being gap-disciplined or not reading their coverage right in the first few seconds of their coverage responsibilities, and then it's just a trickling effect. Sometimes guys try to do too much, they try to make up for another guy's mistake and those can go for big plays.
"The moral of the story when he was going over this [in the] meeting is, the difference maker is we were able to get takeaways and we were playing sound, disciplined football. It's not always pretty, it doesn't always mark up the stat sheet … but when you play as a complete unit, all 11 to the football, you guys can be really special and it's on tape. … We've really bought into that these past few games. By no means has it been perfect, but the level of consistency has stepped up."
Simmons also talked about a major reason behind the defensive turnaround: the return of outside linebacker Baron Browning. Against the Chiefs in Week 8, Browning forced a fumble and recorded two sacks.
"We're getting some key guys back — Baron Browning coming back and especially in that game [vs. Kansas City], and how he came back was absolutely [monstrous]," Simmons said. "We need him and the talent that he brings. I know Zach Allen was on an interview shortly after the Kansas City game and he said that Baron has Von Miller-esque movement, and you don't get that type of praise for no reason. So [I'm] really excited to have Baron [back]."
The Denver defense face some talented opposing offenses in the second half of the season, starting with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on "Monday Night Football" in Week 10.
Still, Simmons is confident the Broncos can convert their consistency on offense, defense and special teams into more wins and the opportunity to contend down the stretch.
"I really do think we can make this push," Simmons said. "We're playing well in all three phases, and that's what it's going to take to win games, especially against the teams that we play in the second half of the season."