With their starting safety duo, T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart, out for the game, the Denver Broncos needed David Bruton and Josh Bush to step up Sunday vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. And step up they did. Bush picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the first half, which led to a Broncos touchdown.
As for Bruton, he gave the Broncos stability on the back end of the defense and finished the game with five solo tackles and a pass defensed. What's remarkable about Bruton's performance is that he played most of the game on a fractured fibula, head coach Gary Kubiak said Monday.
The team believes Bruton's injury came with 1:58 left in the first quarter, as he ran to give Aqib Talib support over the top on a deep ball. The two players collided. Talib left the field for a short spell, but Bruton stuck it out and finished the game with 77 defensive snaps and 18 more on special teams.
Unfortunately, you can't keep truckin' with a broken leg. Kubiak said Monday that Bruton's injury will cause him to miss "extensive time". It's a tough break for a total team player, like Bruton, who's had a career year as the Broncos No. 3 safety.
Last Friday, Kubiak was optimistic that the Broncos would get T.J. Ward back this week. If Darian Stewart can return as well, which is likely, the Broncos will be okay. But if either player has to miss any more time, it will put Wade Phillips' unit in a very precarious situaiton with the playoffs coming up.
Of course, the Broncos still haven't clinched a playoff berth. They can not only win the division, but the AFC's No. 2 seed and a first round bye, if they win their next two games at home vs. the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers.
Bruton will likley end up on season-ending injured reserve. If so, he finished the season with 48 tackles on defense, a sack, two forced fumbles and two interceptions .
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Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.