"It was 32 teams, 254 picks, and 22 running backs in my draft class," Anderson said, with nary a hint of hesitation. "That motivates me every day."
So deep is the Broncos' trust in Anderson that for a play that was arguably the biggest of the season to date, they called his number.
It was fourth-and-2 from the Miami 41-yard-line, and after a third-quarter marred by penalties, miscues and squandered opportunities, the Broncos trailed by 11 points and appeared at the precipice of a third defeat in four games. Two of the previous three plays saw
With 19 seconds left on the play clock, the Broncos aligned for the crucial play -- and stared across from a white-clad wall of seven Dolphins defenders, one yard back of the line of scrimmage and one yard in front of the line to gain.
Green turned to his right to seal his side.
At the time, it looked like a brilliant audible. However …
"To tell you the truth, (Offensive Coordinator) Adam (Gase) made the change," said Manning. "We got to the line of scrimmage pretty early and we had time on the clock and so Adam actually made the change from the sideline.
"It was critical. We ran the ball to the left and it was a good thing that we changed it because we really didn’t have a good play based on the look that they were showing early and we did make the change. I think it was what Adam wanted to get to all along."
"C.J. is a baller," said Franklin. "He's hungry. He's (an undrafted) free agent, and he's been doing all the right things."
And with every run, his confidence -- and that of the entire offensive line -- grew.
"Coach Gase came to me and said, 'If you give me four here, we're going to call another one.' And if the O-line is like, 'Man, keep calling them,' the O-line wants to keep punishing, they want to keep pushing, they want to keep grinding," said Anderson. "That's just amazing."Franklin sprung Anderson for a slew of runs Sunday, including the 10-yard touchdown that gave the Broncos their first lead of the game, with 5:01 left in the fourth quarter.
With a dose of power from
"Those guys are studs. They're downhill runners," said center
But Anderson has book smarts and field smarts. This is, after all, the player who advocated caution as he returned from a concussion suffered in training camp by telling reporters, "I'm a Cal guy, so I love my brain."
So he fell to the ground, to the chagrin of fantasy owners and the relief of the Broncos. It was appropriate that on Anderson's last run of the day, the only way his fire would extinguish is if he put it out himself. But it was for the right reasons. As long as he draws strength from his initial snub, more sizzling performances should come from the Broncos' hottest set of hands.
"I have a lot of confidence in myself, and I play at a high level, and I expect big things, no matter where I went -- first round, fifth round, seventh round, undrafted," he said. "You've got to give it to the big boys up front, but I've got a lot of confidence in myself to make it happen."
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