DENVER – If there was ever any doubt why the Denver Broncos paid Von Miller like a franchise quarterback this offseason, you can pop in film from this Week Two meeting.
Miller did to the Colts what he has done to virtually the rest of the NFL---to the tune of three sacks, three more quarterback hits and a forced fumble, which sent the faithful at Mile High into a frenzy on Sunday afternoon
When crunch time arrived, there was Miller ushering a game-clinching strip/sack of Andrew Luck and putting a stamp on an afternoon that had escaped him in previous meetings with the Colts.
"He got me around the edge," right tackle Joe Reitz said of Miller sliding by him to thwart any potential game-winning drive for the visitors.
"He got to Andrew, and the rest is history. I need to be better, especially in critical situations."
It was a dilemma every offensive coordinator faces when the Broncos appear on the schedule.
How do you attack a defense with so many playmakers, at every level of the unit?
Down by six with 1:51 remaining on Sunday, the Colts took the field needing to go 75 yards without any timeouts.
In offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's mind, there was a decision to make.
Should a running back or tight end stay in to help against the humming Miller?
Or, was the entire skill group needed for passing routes, with time precious and a weaponry group already without Donte Moncrief?
As Luck reached the top of his drop on the drive's first play, Miller was there to do what fans of the Colts have seen Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis do to others so often.
"He's a very good player and we have the utmost respect for him," Luck said of Miller recording a strip/sack that was returned for a touchdown by fellow linebacker Shane Ray.
Coming into Sunday, the Colts had silenced Miller in three previous matchups. In fact, Luck hadn't been sacked in 79 prior pass attempts against the Broncos.
Those stats didn't sit well with Denver and they made sure Sunday wasn't a repeat of them.
With the pass rush dialing up timely pressure, the secondary blanketed a receiving group that lost Moncrief for the game in the second quarter.
The Colts could not win first down (averaging less than a yard on first-down plays) leading to prime pass-rushing situations for the Broncos.
Luck, who finished Sunday just 21-of-40 for 197 yards, admitted he had an errant day throwing the football. After the game, Luck wanted to make sure and also credit the play of Denver's secondary.
"They're very good," Luck said. "They can cover multiple ways. They defend well in man, they defend well in zone and they defend well in blitz and dog. They do a really nice job of that."
When Luck and the offense dissect film this coming week, they will know where the win/loss standings have them through two weeks.
The good news?
Denver's defense, one unlike any other in the NFL, isn't showing up again this season.
Spotting the defending Super Bowl Champions 15 points on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of offensive mistakes, has the Indy offense knowing that the elimination of such friendly fire will get the unit back to the rhythm needed, especially with the defense banged up early in 2016.
"We've done some good things in the first couple games but we've got to finish," Reitz said on Sunday.
"Obviously you'd like to be 2-0, but we've been 0-2 before. A couple years (2014) ago we were 0-2 and played in the AFC Championship game. We've got a lot of ball left. There's no magic potion, no secrets or anything. You go back and you get to work. We'll find a way to play a better game (this) Sunday."
Photos from the week 2 game against the Denver Broncos.