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Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos

DENVER -- A few thoughts from the Denver Broncos41-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

What it means: The Broncos have slugged it out with half of the NFC West in their first four games and now come away with an overtime loss in Seattle, where their defense began to show its real teeth, and Sunday’s win over the Cardinals, who came into the game as one of the league’s only two undefeated teams. The Broncos weren’t at their best on offense because of a run game that carved out little room for itself, but they continued to plow through a schedule that has included four teams that won at least 10 games in 2013 and sit at 3-1.

Stock watch: By his own admission, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas didn’t play up to the standard he has set for himself over the Broncos’ first three games. Thomas had four drops in those games combined and didn’t have an outing with more than 62 yards. Sunday, however, was a far different matter as Thomas had 226 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Miller time and time again: With each passing game, Broncos linebacker Von Miller continues to gain momentum toward finding the form of his 18.5-sack season in 2012. The Broncos have used Miller, who had ACL surgery this past January, more and more as the season has progressed. On Sunday, he was consistently in the face of Cardinals quarterbacks Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas. Miller had 1.5 sacks and it was a clean hit from Miller that knocked Stanton from the game with a concussion on the Cardinals’ third play from scrimmage in the second half. Miller, at his best, has the potential to take the Broncos' defense into the league's top five.

Game ball: Yes, Thomas certainly deserved one, Miller deserved one and Ronnie Hillman filled in admirably for an injured Montee Ball. But only one guy added another piece of league history to his already full career mantle as quarterback Peyton Manning threw his 500th career touchdown pass to close out the Broncos' opening drive. Manning and Brett Favre are the only players to reach the 500-TD plateau as Manning also threw for three more scores in the game, every bit of which was needed against the stubborn Cardinals.

What’s next: The Broncos take their pass-first show on the road against New York Jets' battered secondary. The Chargers, with an offensive playbook in part penned by former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, piled up the points on the Jets Sunday, including two touchdowns by San Diego tight end Antonio Gates.