With that, Dumervil had his NFL-leading 10th sack, putting him on pace to surpass Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2.
"It's hard to get to 10 [sacks]," said Dumervil, who was surrounded in the crowded visitors' locker room at Qualcomm Stadium by teammates hooting and calling him the next Strahan. "Every sack guy knows it's hard to get to double digits.
"But this ... it's a new team, a new regime, and everything is new. We're just trying to innovate. We're trying to build a brand of football here, what we want to be as the Denver Broncos."
It's not easy building a 6-0 record -- but it's a lot more feasible with plays like inside linebacker D.J. Williams' fourth-quarter, 11-yard sack of Rivers, and linebacker Darrel Reid's drilling Rivers in the game's final minutes for the team's fourth sack. Rivers lost the ball on both hits.
They've crafted a defensive masterpiece in Denver, and the art of the sack is on full display. The Broncos are tied with the Vikings for the NFL lead with 21 total; in 2008, Denver had 26 sacks the entire season.
It's quite a renaissance from the past few years, when Denver's defensive units were among the NFL's worst. In 2008, Denver's defense surrendered 28.0 points per game (30th overall). Now the Broncos are the league's stingiest team, allowing only 11.0 ppg.
"What you're seeing out there are a bunch of guys just playing for each other," said Williams, one of the three holdovers from last season [along with Dumervil and cornerback Champ Bailey] on a defense that features eight new starters in 2009. "The last few years we weren't successful, for whatever reason it was.
"This year, we changed a lot of things around, our philosophy, our scheme, changed a lot of players. It's working. It's productive. You can't really go against it, because it's working."
Is it as simple as making the head coaching switch from veteran Mike Shanahan to the fresh face and message of Josh McDaniels, 33, and the subsequent hiring of defensive specialist Mike Nolan as coordinator?
"That part of it, but it's so much more," said former NFL personnel executive Michael Lombardi, who spent the 2007 season with the Broncos as an advisor and is now an NFL Network analyst and columnist for National Football Post. "They also changed the scheme and stuck to the 3-4, rather than switching back and forth. They brought in a lot of new players -- smarter guys who understand how to play the game of football. They're just solid players who know what the game is all about and what it takes to be successful."
Colorado Springs Gazette / MCT
Newcomers such as veteran safety Brian Dawkins, cornerback Andre' Goodman, safety Renaldo Hill and nose tackle Ronald Fields epitomize these types of intelligent leaders.
When McDaniels was hired last Jan. 12 after spending the past eight seasons with the Patriots -- and rising to become Bill Belichick's trusted offensive coordinator -- he knew the Broncos' pitiful defense was only one of many areas in need of an overhaul.
"There were so many things we weren't doing well, in every phase -- offensively, defensively -- we were bad in a lot of areas," McDaniels said. "It just started with hiring a good staff. That was No. 1 on the list. Mike's [Nolan] obviously done a great job with his staff, and the coaches have done a nice job of getting their players ready and prepared.
"And we made the decision to go to the 3-4 system, which is really my background. Mike, of course, is versed in both or either. We could have gone in another direction, but we just felt like, with where we were at, we wanted to go ahead and make that transition quickly and try to get as far as we could by the time the season came around."
Monday night, the Broncos blitzed Rivers continuously, keeping one of the NFL's strongest and toughest quarterbacks under siege. But a lot of the straight pressure masquerades as blitzing, which keeps offenses off-balance. Denver's swarming attack neutralized the Cowboys' Tony Romo and New England's Tom Brady as well, so it's pretty darn effective.
"I don't know the exact percentage that we're blitzing," McDaniels said, "but we've actually created blitzing without blitzing ... I think that's a combination of good coverage and great effort up front. It isn't every time that we have a free run at the quarterback because we brought one more guy that they can block. That really hasn't happened much all year."
Dumervil, for example, often gets matched up against a blocking fullback or running back in Nolan's scheme and he typically wins that battle. Williams calls the signals for the group. The push up front has made the secondary effective again. And much of what Denver does defensively is just sound tackling and powerful hitting.
In the 17-10 Week 4 victory over the Cowboys, Williams made a crushing fourth-quarter tackle of Dallas receiver Roy Williams that looked like a full-body clothesline hit to the big receiver's midsection. Williams the receiver crumpled to the Invesco Field turf in obvious pain with three injured ribs and cartilage damage. He didn't return.
"Never in my life have I ever been hit like that, from Pop Warner through my six years in the league," said Roy Williams, describing the blow.
Said McDaniels, "D.J. is just a very good linebacker. The weak-side of a 3-4, some people think that the ball runs away most of the time ... but D.J. has some coverage responsibility and he's capable of doing that. We've done a decent job of mixing that up. We've blitzed some and created some problems in the backfield.
"And when he has a chance to run and get to the ball carrier where it's tough for somebody to get a body on him, he usually makes the tackle. And that's the sign of a good linebacker, when somebody is struggling to get onto you and because of that you're making a bunch of tackles, you're a dependable player and that's what he's shown the first four weeks."
A McDaniels/Nolan blitz is not a four-man break. "No, it's five. It's gotta be one more than a four-man rush," McDaniels said.
As they bask in the glow of a 6-0 record and enjoy their bye, the rest of the NFL has to wonder: Can the Broncos continue at this pace defensively?
"I had that same question after Week 1," Nolan, the former 49ers head coach, said with a laugh. "But it's pleasing that we're able to help the football team win, rather than hope the offense can overcome you. Our players take a lot of pride in it -- Elvis Dumervil is doing a good job, as well as many other players. Our secondary is experienced, very professional. Hopefully we just keep this going.
"If you ask me that question again in Week 16, then I'll give you a better answer."