The Denver Broncos could not overcome the lengthy number of Cleveland Browns injuries on Thursday Night Football. Despite being without Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Baker Mayfield, the Browns walked away with the victory. Unfortunately, the Broncos suffered an injury to star pass rusher Von Miller.
The Denver defensive stud left the game early with an ankle injury days after dropping a massive warning to the Browns. But, Miller expressed his frustration after having to leave early on Thursday night.
Von Miller’s confession after his stern warning
Miller’s warning was a big one heading into Thursday night’s showdown in a must-win game for both teams. Due to that, the Broncos star was not thrilled after being removed from the game with the ankle injury and voiced his thoughts after the loss (h/t Nick Kosmider of The Athletic).
“My pride hurts more than anything. I talked a lot of s*** before this game. I wanted that animosity. … I feel like I was on the way to doing some big things.”
Von Miller after suffering ankle injury vs Browns
Miller was undoubtedly talking big heading into the game — and rightfully so. On the year, Miller has compiled 4.5 sacks and been a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
He promised a couple of sacks against the Browns, but the ankle injury put a damper on those expectations.
The Browns punched the Broncos in the mouth without their stars
Cleveland came in with a depleted roster and suffered another blow right before kickoff as Donovan Peoples-Jones was ruled out. No Chubb, Hunt, or Mayfield, but backup Case Keenum and starting running back D’Ernest Johnson stole the show and sealed the deal.
The Browns’ ‘next man up’ routine worked wonders on Thursday night, and the Broncos had no answer. Keenum played well, throwing for 199 yards on 21-of-33 with a touchdown pass. But the night belonged to Johnson, who stunned the world with 22 carries for 146 yards and a score, also adding two catches for 22 yards.
The Broncos started the year 3-0 and have suddenly lost four straight, putting question marks around Teddy Bridgewater and head coach Vic Fangio.
Some positive news for Miller going forward
At the time, the injury to Miller was a massive concern. However, some positive reports came out after the game, and all signs — for now — point to Miller being ready for Week 8 against the Washington Football Team.
That is excellent news for Miller and Denver, who need their pass rusher available if they want any chance to turn this season around.
The next three weeks for Denver are games against Washington, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles before their bye week. It won’t be an easy path, and Fangio’s name has popped up on the hot seat after a disappointing start to the year, especially with Bridgewater being named the starter over Drew Lock.
If the Broncos want any chance to turn this thing around, Miller will need to be healthy and continue to impose his will on opposing quarterbacks, especially with a daunting schedule going forward.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference