Denver Broncos hit on all keys to victory in win over Giants

Denver Broncos defense. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos defense. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Malik Reed, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Malik Reed. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Winning the turnover battle

Kind of.

For a long time in the first half against the Giants, it seemed like, for all of their promise in the preseason, the Denver Broncos’ offense was going nowhere fast. Teddy Bridgewater was solid, keeping plays alive and not giving the ball up, but when they got to the red zone there was nothing doing.

Those feelings must have been compounded when a good drive was ended by an Albert Okwuegbunam fumble just inside the five-yard line. As he reached for the first down marker, Logan Ryan ripped the ball away and recovered the ball all, seemingly, in one motion.

With a defense designed to play from in front, it feels like they have the personnel to generate turnovers. Yet, they were not forthcoming from a quarterback that entered the game with 31 giveaways including 22 interceptions and nine lost fumbles.

As a matter of fact, the secondary as a unit looked strong but also far from their potential. Ronald Darby needlessly gave up a pass interference penalty on third down, extending a drive that looked dead in the water. Then just a few plays later, rookie Patrick Surtain would have a rookie moment, as Sterling Shepard got open on a deep crossing route and the first-round pick missed a tackle. Shepard would scamper up the sideline for a touchdown.

But the defense stepped up in a crucial spot to generate a takeaway and that is where they can be so dangerous. Daniel Jones decided to attempt to run for a first down late in the third quarter. It looked like he would pick it up as Josey Jewel and Alexander Johnson closed on the former Duke quarterback. But Jewell was able to punch the ball loose and the defense would have their first takeaway of the NFL season in a huge spot.

A turnover-on-downs may not go on the defensive stats as a takeaway but in this instance it was huge. Kyle Fuller who had been beaten by Slayton early in the first quarter had just given up a defensive pass interference penalty to keep the Giants’ drive alive in the red zone in the fourth quarter. But he would come up huge on the goal-to-go stand as he knocked away a fourth-down pass attempt to Kenny Golladay.

There is clearly room to grow for this defense and as they do, those turnovers will come, especially with the quality at Donattell and Fangio’s fingertips.