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Notebook: 100-Yard Game Boosts Ball

Posted Dec 5, 2013

Montee Ball gets a boost of confidence, Eric Decker is honored for his performance and the Broncos don't mind the cold.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Everything is "finally starting to click" for Montee Ball.

The rookie running back said as much three days after he had the most productive game of his young career. Last Sunday in Kansas City, he ran the ball 13 times for 117 yards -- an average of nine yards per carry.

"You could tell he was running determined," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said. "A lot of those big runs he had, we had free runners. It wasn’t well-blocked and he’d make a guy miss and make an explosive play."

Ball said the performance gave him an extra surge of confidence that he had been lacking, and Gase said the rookie did a great job of putting his fumble against New England in Week 12 behind him.

"It’s like everything -- the more you do it, the better you get," Head Coach John Fox said. "That’s why there’s no substitute for experience."

As far as the team is concerned, Gase noted that that type of production gives the offense a chance to rest running back Knowshon Moreno from time to time.

"We have four regular season games and hopefully more than that – three more after that -- and we need him for the whole way," Gase said. "We need to make sure he plays the rest of the way out and if Montee can cut those reps in half for Knowshon, that would be big for our offense.”

WHAT COLD?

Wednesday, heavy snow forced the Broncos indoors.

Thursday, the elements weren't keeping Denver from running through practice outside.

"Our guys had great focus and great concentration," Head Coach John Fox said of the session in single-digit temperatures. "It could be game-like conditions as it was today, so I thought we had outstanding focus and it was an outstanding practice.”

Fox said the team "more than likely" will practice outside on Friday and Saturday as well to prepare for Sunday.

Gase agreed with Fox's assessment that it was a productive practice, noting that things move too quickly for players and coaches to worry about the cold.

"This was good," he said. "Probably the best thing about it was, no wind makes a big difference to me. It can be as cold as you want it but the wind has always been the biggest factor any time there are cold conditions.”

DECKER HONORED

Through 13 weeks of football, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are all within five catches of one another.

Welker leads the team with 68, Thomas is right behind him with 67 and Decker has 63. All three have at least seven touchdowns -- Thomas leads that category with 10 -- and at least 717 yards -- Thomas has that lead as well with 1,061.

That's not to mention Juilus Thomas' 45 catches, 590 yards and 10 touchdowns or Moreno's 42 receptions for 414 yards and a pair of scores.

“I think it’s just the way it has worked out for the most part," Gase said of the even distribution. "It seems like every game somebody will focus on one guy over the other, and Peyton (Manning) has done a good job of finding the singled guy."

Against the Chiefs, it was Decker's turn to break out, hauling in eight catches for 174 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns. The performance earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

“It was great to see him get recognized for that," Gase said. "He made the plays. He won on whoever was on him and he caught the ball."

"I’m happy for him because he’s been doing everything we ask of him to do, and to see him recognized -- that was great.”