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BMW Ultimate Performance: C.J. Anderson runs to the end

Posted Dec 27, 2017

C.J. Anderson and the ground game got the Broncos going early in Washington, and then after the game was all but lost, he helped the team retrieve some dignity on a late drive.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- From start to finish last Sunday, C.J. Anderson and the ground game did their best to do their work and set a tone for the Broncos' offense.

With sizable holes from the offensive line, Anderson ripped through Washington's defense for a pair of 21-yard runs in the second quarter en route to a game that saw him average 5.5 yards per carry. It marked the second consecutive game in which he has averaged at least five yards per attempt, and the eighth time in 15 games this year that he has averaged 4.5 yards per rush.

Only Todd Gurley II of the Los Angeles Rams and New England's Dion Lewis have more games of 5.0 or more yards per carry with at least 10 attempts.

A variety of concepts proved key to the big runs that fueled Anderson's per-carry average last Sunday and kept Washington off-balance.

"I just think switching up the runs, switching up the schemes, how we're doing things, picking the right spots for the most part, and our O-line is just playing nasty and moving people against their will," Anderson said. "I think that's something that we've seen, and if we don't get down early, who knows how this game [would have turned] out?"

But Anderson didn't stop just because the team struggled. In the game's dying moments, with the Broncos down 27-3, he accounted for 27 of the last 41 yards on Denver's 11-play, 75-yard drive to its only touchdown -- Anderson's 5-yard score. He then added the two-point conversion for good measure.

The effort from Anderson, Devontae Booker, Austin Traylor, the offensive line and others on the possession provided a reminder of why it is essential to play until the end, even when the result is all but decided.

"You play the game the right way," Anderson said. "If you love the game, it's disrespectful to the game of football if you play it the wrong way.

"At the end of the day, we're grown men playing on television every week. I guess myself personally, I'll be damned if I'm getting embarrassed out there. So I'm going to play hard, I'm going to play the game the right way, because at the end of the day, I love what I do and I love the game, and it'd be disrespectful to the game of football if I don't play with all my love and heart."

That professionalism extends to Anderson's quest for 1,000 yards -- a mark that he needs 54 yards against the Chiefs to reach. He wants it, and he knows what it would mean for himself, for the team and for everyone who has thrown a block to help make those yards possible. That doesn't mean he has discussed it with his linemen.

“It’s just unspoken. I think it’s just the right way to play the game," he said. "We've all got jobs. My job is first downs and touchdowns. Their job is to block the guy in front of them and create running lanes for [the running backs].

"I think if we all do our job accordingly, we’ll be fine."

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