Hot Topics: Broncos Get Pressure

After weeks of waiting, the Denver Broncos were happy they finally got a good pass rush against Arizona.

The Broncos had five sacks in their four games previous to playing Arizona. They sacked Matt Leinart three times on Arizona and pressured him often.

"The thing I was pleased with on defense was our pass rush," Shanahan said. "It was the best pass rush in a game we've had since ... for a long time. We got three sacks, but easily could have had six sacks or seven sacks."

The Broncos like using end Ebenezer Ekuban at tackle in their nickel defense. That gives Denver more speed and quickness on the line.

The Broncos didn't blitz the Cardinals much. Denver has given up some big plays when blitzing this season, so getting a pass rush from the front four has been crucial. This week the Broncos need to get some pressure on Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer.

Not coincidentally, the Broncos played one of their best defensive games in a few weeks on Sunday. Arizona didn't score a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.

"If we get that type of pressure, everyone else is going to look good," Shanahan said.

PLAYER NOTES --QB Jay Cutler was comfortable going into last Sunday's game at Arizona. In turn, the coaching staff was comfortable with him, allowing him to do a few more things within the offense. One example was a deep post pass to Javon Walker on the third play of the game. That pass went for a 54-yard touchdown.

--RB Tatum Bell saw his playing time decrease against Arizona after he lost a fumble in the second quarter. Bell didn't have a good game, but he has been Denver's most effective back this season and his bad game against Arizona shouldn't affect his playing time too much going forward. However, he could continue to lose some carries to Mike Bell.

--RB Mike Bell had a better game than Tatum Bell against Arizona. Mike Bell is learning as he goes as a rookie, and has played better this season off the bench. He should continue to get a few carries in relief of Tatum Bell.

--WR Javon Walker caught a long touchdown pass from Jay Cutler. It was Walker's first catch longer than 17 yards from the rookie. As Walker and Cutler get their timing down, Walker should benefit from Cutler's ability to throw deep.

--WR Rod Smith caught a touchdown against Arizona, his first since Nov. 5 and the third all season. Smith has 46 catches for 448 yards this season, the worst numbers of his career since becoming a starter.

--WR Brandon Marshall caught a career-high five passes against Arizona. Marshall has come on strong late in the season, especially since fellow rookie Jay Cutler took over as Denver's starting quarterback.

--TE Tony Scheffler had three catches for 58 yards against Arizona. Jay Cutler has confidence in Scheffler, his roommate in training camp. Scheffler should continue to see a lot of passes thrown his way.

--K Jason Elam has hit 92 percent of his field goals this year, which would be a career high. That is impressive considering the career Elam has had, and that he has dealt with a hamstring injury since Dec. 3.

--CB Champ Bailey had two passes thrown his way against Arizona. He intercepted both passes. Bailey is having a phenomenal year and faces a big challenge this week against Cincinnati's Chad Johnson.

--DT Gerard Warren's solid game against Arizona was a big reason the Broncos pressured Matt Leinart so well. When Warren gets penetration in the middle, it opens things up for Denver's ends.

--CB Darrent Williams has a toe injury that will be evaluated this week. The Broncos need Williams this week because Cincinnati has a deep, talented receiving corps.


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