Remember a few weeks ago when the Broncos gave up 36 points to the Dolphins in Denver? That was pretty surprising and, in some ways, pretty embarrassing.
Well, the Broncos have allowed an average of just 14.3 points in their last three games – all wins. They even held the Chargers to just 10 points in a 22-10 win this past Sunday in San Diego.
“I think we answered the bell defensively,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We came out and got some crucial turnovers. Philip Rivers, he’s a great quarterback. He knows our defense inside and out. We’ve played them so many times. Just to go down there and get a win on the road was huge.”
The Broncos (11-3), who have won four straight, picked Rivers off twice and held the Chargers to just 288 total yards. Harris finished with four tackles and played lockdown defense throughout.
If you don’t know a whole lot about Harris, perhaps you should. He might not have the name recognition of Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis, but he is – according to Pro Football Focus – the No. 1 cornerback in the NFL this year.
“It’s not just this year,” Harris said. “If you look at all my years on Pro Football Focus, I’ve been in the top 10 – except my rookie year. I’ve been very consistent in my four years. This year, coming back from (a torn) ACL, I made a faster return than Adrian Peterson. I was determined to come back and prove I was the best. That’s really what I’ve been trying to do this year.”
Harris, 25, played at Kansas. He has 48 tackles, one forced fumble and three interception this season. He, along with Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, Rahim Moore and Bradley Roby, have been one of the top secondaries in football this year. Denver is also second in rush defense and sixth in sacks.
“We’ve improved tremendously,” Harris said. “We found out (our) identity. The offense might not be putting up (as many) points as they (have) in the past, but right now, we’re shutting people down on defense. We’re relying on a low number of points. That’s what we got to continue to do.”
Even in Foxboro. Yes, if the Broncos hope to play in the Super Bowl, they’ll likely have to defeat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in January. New England beat Denver, 43-21, at Gillette on Nov. 2.
While the Patriots are awfully good at home, especially in the playoffs, the Broncos won’t be intimidated. In fact, Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton – you might know him as “Pot Roast” – guaranteed the Broncos would win the rematch. He said it doesn’t matter who the Broncos play or where they play; they’re winning.
Knighton then added, “Write that. And put a big period after that one.”
Mr. Harris, your thoughts?
“He said that?”
Yes, he did – right after you beat the Chargers.
“Oh, man,” Harris said. “I missed that one. But hey, I got to ride with my boy. If that’s what he’s going with, I mean, I believe him. I’m going to do whatever I can to make plays to make sure we go out and prove everybody right. I expect T-Knight to take his game to another level.”