Broncos top-ranked defense set for ultimate test
By Jahmal Corner
(Reuters) - It took a blowout loss in the Super Bowl two years ago for the Denver Broncos to transform from an offense-heavy attack to a defensive juggernaut better suited to winning the championship Vince Lombardi Trophy.
When the Seattle Seahawks routed Denver a 43-8 in that Super Bowl game they also gave the Broncos a reflection of everything they were not and needed to become: young, fast and physical.
Denver's defense has since fully realized that vision, and cemented their status by swarming Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and New England's Tom Brady to set up a clash with the Carolina Panthers in the Feb. 7 NFL championship game.
"They are the No. 1 defense on the planet, and everyone says defense wins championships," Broncos running back C.J. Anderson said of his defensive unit. "They have embraced it all season."
The Broncos organization embraced defense even before this season, starting two years ago when they signed defensive end DeMarcus Ware, added cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward and drafted cornerback Bradley Roby.
The winds of change continued after Denver suffered a divisional playoff loss last season.
They hired head coach Gary Kubiak, who promised the Broncos would get tougher and not simply rely on the arm of aging Peyton Manning, and brought aboard defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
The result has been devastating to opposing offenses. The Broncos finished first in total defense, pass defense and sacks this season while carrying the team through all adversity. Continued...