Defense secures Broncos' 34-20 win over Colts

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[September 19, 2016]  DENVER -- Cornerback Aqib Talib gave the Denver Broncos some breathing room and outside linebacker Von Miller slammed the door on another win.

Miller sacked Andrew Luck and forced a fumble that teammate Shane Ray returned 15 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos benefited from two defensive scores in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 34-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Earlier in the fourth, Talib returned an interception 46 yards for a score. Still, with just under two minutes left, Luck and the Colts were in position to launch a potential game-winning drive, touching off one overriding thought in Miller's mind.

"Time to close," said the Super Bowl MVP, who had two strip sacks of Cam Newton in the Broncos' win over Carolina.

Miller swept around right tackle Joe Reitz and slammed into Luck, knocking the ball loose from the Colts quarterback for Ray to pick up and return for the score with 1:42 remaining.

"He got a good jump and got around the edge, got to Andrew," Reitz said. "The rest is history. I need to be better."

Talib also delivered a telling blow to Indianapolis (0-2). Moments after extending a Colts' drive because of a holding call, Talib jumped the route by wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and snagged Luck's pass on the run, returning it 46 yards for the touchdown and a 23-13 lead. He dodged tacklers and sprinted down the left sideline for the score with 13:52 remaining.


"He made a good play," Luck said. "He obviously got the ball before our guy did. You guys saw what happened after that."

Talib said pressure on Luck from the defensive line helped to set up the interception as Denver improved to 2-0.

"I kind of just sat down in my zone anticipating a seven-stop (route), and that's what he ran. I was able to make the play, make a guy miss and go home."

Luck came back to lead a 12-play, 80-yard drive that running back Frank Gore finished with a 7-yard touchdown catch. The veteran tip-toed the sideline for the last few yards and before extending the ball one-handed over the pylon as the rest of his body fell out of bounds.

But the Denver offense, gaining some traction late under quarterback Trevor Siemian, drove inside the red zone, leading to a 35-yard field goal by Brandon McManus, his fourth of the day.

McManus' third field goal, a 33-yarder with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter, put Denver back on top 16-13.

Trailing by seven, the Colts pulled into a tie at 13-all on Robert Turbin's 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

Denver kept the drive alive with three defensive penalties, the last an offside against safety T.J Ward that set up the Colts with a first down at the 11-yard line. Four plays later, Turbin took a pitch and swept around left end for the score.

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Colts running back Frank Gore (23) scores a touchdown in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.The Broncos defeated the Colts 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts missed a chance earlier to even the score and trailed 13-6 at halftime after a hamstring injury felled cornerback Darius Butler moments after he picked off a Siemian pass in the flat. Butler had open field in front of him but managed just a few strides before falling to the ground and grabbing in pain at his right hamstring.

It was just one in a string of injuries that befell the Colts. Cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Antonio Cromartie, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway and wide receiver Donte Moncrief all either missed time or were knocked out of the game with injuries.

The Colts salvaged a 52-yard field goal from the possession by Adam Vinatieri, his second of the day, but the Broncos answered with a 43-yard field goal by McManus just before the end of the second quarter, also his second of the day.

The only touchdown of the first half came on a 4-yard run by C.J. Anderson. The drive was aided by a 16-yard pass interference against Melvin that gave the Broncos a first-and-goal at the Indianapolis 9-yard line. Anderson scored two plays later.

Broncos tackle Donald Stephenson was sidelined in the first quarter with a calf injury. He did not return.

NOTES: The Colts came into the game without CBs Vontae Davis (ankle) and Patrick Robinson (concussion) as well as S T.J. Green (knee). OLB linebacker Trent Cole did not make the trip to Denver because of a back injury. ... Broncos TE Jeff Heuerman, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, missed his second game to start this season because of an ankle injury. The Broncos have had only two tight ends in uniform, Virgil Green and John Phillips, for both of their games. ... Broncos OLB DeMarcus Ware registered half a sack in the first half, boosting his career total to 136.5. He took sole possession of ninth place on the NFL's career sack list, ahead of Jared Allen (136) and Julius Peppers (136). Ware left the game later with an elbow injury and did not return. ... PK Adam Vinatieri has made 29 straight field goals, surpassing Mike Vanderjagt (28) for the third longest streak in Colts history.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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