It wasn’t quite the Mile High Miracle. It was more like Mile High Madness.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High had not seen that level of excitement in years. It was dancing for defense and twirling for Tebow. Forget the thrill that Bono evokes at a U2 concert, forget about the Fourth of July fireworks show. A 17-13 victory over the crashing Jets put the Broncos and their fans on top of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak.
Tebow may have Justin Beiber popularity, but Von Miller is the team’s MVP. When all was said and done and Miller left the field for the locker room, he could enjoy his 10-tackle, 1.5 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass deflection game. His partner in crime, Elvis Dumervil, added 3 tackles and 1.5 sacks. It was the third straight game that Miller and Dumervil combined for a sack.
The Broncos defense held a Jets team that was averaging 23.9 points per game to just 13 points. They held the run game to 83 yards. They sacked Mark Sanchez three times, and forced him to go 24-of-40 passing. They created two turnovers, and for the third straight week, the team held their opponent to zero points on the opening drive.
“We just wanted to play solid defense,” Miller said after the game. “It is the same formula we have had every week. We have to replicate the same thing that the other defense is doing. If they get a three-and-out, we need to get a three-and-out. If they get a defensive score, we need to get a defensive score. I think we had that mindset today.”
The Jets didn’t even need to come up with a defensive score for the Broncos to have one of their own. With 4:25 left in the third quarter, Andre Goodman came up with the first pick-6 of his 10 year career.
“Goody’s interception for a touchdown, pick-6, was big,” John Fox said.
Rex Ryan has seen that kind of stuff pulled on his Jets team all season long.
“If we give up the ball, we’ve got to find a way to tackle people too because I don’t know how many returns we’ve given up this year for scores but it seems like a bunch and when you’re in a tight game like that, that can’t happen,” Ryan said.
That play put the Broncos and Jets in a deadlocked game, at 10 points each. The Broncos then came up with another stop when they held the Jets to a Nick Folk field goal. From there, it was up to a stagnant Broncos offense to pull off a score in the final six minutes. Once again, they did. With Tebow as the starter, the Broncos have overcome deficits of 17, 15, and 10 points, but the defense has as much to do with that as Tebow does.
“Their defense won the game for them,” Jets G Matt Slauson said.
As happy fans filed out of the stadium, proudly wearing their orange and blue colors, they thought about the turnaround that this team has made. Winning four of their last five and half a game behind the division leading Raiders means that there could be an extended Broncos season.
“When everybody is against you and doubting you, I mean it is all you hear all week – how bad we are,” Champ Bailey said. “Now we are a .500 team. We have to look to the next one but we are going to enjoy this one because it is big.”
It’s big and it’s booming, just like the rising stars on this defense.