Denver Broncos Score Twice on Defense, Beat Colts 34-20

The No-Fly Zone came up big and the Super Bowl MVP added three sacks in a 34-20 victory for the boys in orange.

The Denver Broncos appear to have shaken off the curse of the horseshoe in their first battle with the Indianapolis Colts since the retirement of Peyton Manning.

In extremely unsurprising news, this contest was a bit of a nail-biter at times, but Denver ultimately prevailed with a late defensive touchdown and held on to win, 34-20. Here's how it all went down at Mile High:

D.T. and C.J. Pace Offense

It was vitally important that the Broncos control the ball with Andrew Luck looming on the other side. That was the case for the offense today.

They started off hot with a quick drive down to Colts 36-yard line. Trevor Siemian opened three-for-three, mostly targeting Emmanuel Sanders, but stalled on third down as Siemian was sacked at the line of scrimmage. Brandon McManus came on to attempt his first field goal of the year, but pulled the 54-yard try left.

On their next go, Denver caught a break. Siemian had a quick bubble screen tipped, but Demaryius Thomas caught the ricochet and hit the accelerator for 44 yards. Again, the offense was bogged down, but McManus connected on a 23-yarder.

Although the Broncos passed 25 times in the first half for over 200 yards, the ground game was running smoothly as well. On a drive highlighted by a laser throw to Jordan TaylorC.J. Anderson ran hard on three carries and scored from four yards out, his third touchdown of the season.

Denver threatened to score once more after Virgil Green got involved and DT grabbed 17 more yards, but Siemian telegraphed a screen to Sanders and Darius Butler picked it off. Butler had all green ahead of him, but he pulled up lame and the Broncos caught a massive break.

Denver finished off the half with three more points, building a 13-6 lead going into the second half.

After the Colts strung together a touchdown drive that spanned half of the third quarter, it was imperative that Denver answer the bell and give the defense a rest. They did just that as McManus tacked on his third field goal, taking advantage of a potent rushing attack from Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker.

Indy eventually drew within three points and the onus was on the offense to grind down the clock with four minutes to go in the game. The Broncos came out throwing; Siemian hit a big-gainer to Green for 18 and then found Thomas for 11 yards on third-and-ten.

The Colts, however, held on third-and-one with just under two minutes and McManus added his last field goal.

Siemian threw for 266 yards and a pick, while Anderson added 93 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

The defense did the rest.

Miller Time and Talib'd

This game was won on the defensive side of the ball.

In the first half, the defense was their usual stout self. Luck couldn't complete half of his passes, it was tough sledding, on the ground, and the hitters were doing some hitting. All the Colts could muster was two Adam Vinatieri field goals.

On the first drive, Luck began to look like himself again. He led a tremendous drive in which the Broncos just could not get off the field. They suffered a couple of penalties on third down and let Luck convert a third-and-20 with his legs. Infuriating.

The drive ended with a Robert Turbin touchdown from five yards out. All tied up.

Colts get the ball back, they're faced with third-and-long. The defense sends a mush rush, and Luck forces a pass that gets jumped by Talib. 46 yards later, it's Talib's fifth return touchdown since joining the Broncos.

Luck and the Colts pulled it together on their next series, and Frank Gore tip-toed for a seven-yard score. 

Even as the offense ground the clock below two minutes, Luck had one last shot down six. It was hard not to envision a one-point Colts victory.

Von Miller had other ideas.

On the first play of the drive, Miller turnstyled Joe Reitz and slapped the ball from Luck's right hand. It came loose and Shane Ray was Johnny on the spot, taking it back to the end zone. Two defensive touchdowns for the Broncos.

Ultimately, Miller was able to pick up the slack and did his best work after DeMarcus Ware left the game with an arm injury. He didn't have a single career sack of Luck entering the game, but he totaled three (two solo sacks and two half sacks) today.

To some extent, Luck will almost always get his over the course of any game, but the Broncos tightened up at the right times and put up their best performance against any Indy team in years. Seriously, beating the Colts is a bit unprecedented.

It's an impressive victory for Denver to say the least. With the Chiefs and Raiders both losing, the Broncos take sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

They did their job and won their first two home games. If they can survive a two week road trip, they'll be in excellent shape in the top-heavy AFC.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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