ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Prior to Sunday, the Broncos went nearly 22 months without notching at least six sacks in a single game.

But the pass rush’s performance was far more impressive in the 42-17 win over San Francisco than it was against the Browns in Week 16 of the 2012 season, given the quality of the opposition and the mobility of the quarterback on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

Sunday night, Broncos dismantled the 49ers’ protection scheme, and were so quick to breach the pocket and so effective at bracketing Colin Kaepernick that he often had neither the time, nor the space, to scramble. His opportunities to operate in comfort were slim, and the 49ers’ offense bogged down as a result.

When Executive Vice President and General Manager John Elway sought to rebuild the defense, he had a performance like this in mind. The offense grabbed an early lead, and freed the defense to be aggressive. With blitzes and creative pressures, that happened consistently in Week 7.

It helps to have an elite pair of bookend pass rushers like and DeMarcus Ware, who are now one-two in the league’s sack rankings with eight and seven, respectively — an accomplishment heightened by the fact that the Broncos have already had their bye week. But as an examination of their six sacks reveals, their success is a reflection of the entire pass rush.


Ware finished with the first-possesion sack after getting 49ers left tackle Joe Staley turned around, creating separation that allowed him to await Kaepernick’s step to his left, which put him in Ware’s grasp. But this was made possible by the Broncos gaining a manpower advantage against the left side of San Francisco’s line.

This began with <a class="colorbox" rel="nofollow" href="https://www.denverbroncos.com/team/roster/brandon-marshall/50224e48-91ca-40e0-9c01-042327dce97c/" rel="/cda-web/person-card-module.htm?mode=data&id=50224e48-91ca-40e0-9c01-042327dce97c" rev="player" title="Brandon …read more