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BMW Ultimate Performance: Explosive runs abound in ground game

Posted Sep 27, 2017

Good work up front and solid vision from the running backs has led to a dramatic increase in runs of 15 or more yards.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Because the Broncos won on the ground and won at the line of scrimmage in Buffalo, C.J. Anderson saw no reason for panic after he looked at the game film Monday.

“It wasn’t as bad or as terrible as you would think it was after a loss," he said. "There are just some things that we need to clean up as an offense that we know we can clean up."

There were some things to clean up -- but there were also some things that the offense did right, particularly on the Broncos' two longest runs of the game, a pair of carries that showed the explosive potential of the ground game.

On the first, a 32-yard scamper by Anderson in the second quarter, the Broncos successfully exploited the Bills' decision to overload the strong side with defenders. Buffalo had five players stacked toward the right side, with Virgil Green flanking Menelik Watson, with just three on the left side.

The Broncos didn't have a numerical advantage, but by having Anderson take Trevor Siemian's handoff, move left, then cut back to the right behind a Ron Leary block on linebacker Ramon Humber, they created a a positioning advantage. Buffalo's two extra defenders on the strong side -- defensive backs Jordan Poyer and Tre'Davious White -- were out of position to make the play.

Anderson's cut and sprint through a gaping hole created up the middle made Poyer and White non-factors at the line of scrimmage, eliminating the Bills' numerical advantage and giving Anderson a clear path for the Broncos' longest run of the season to date.

"It felt good all the way until I got to Micah Hyde," Anderson said. "The speed meter just dropped. But when I looked up [at the scoreboard], it said 19.3 miles per hour. Jamaal Charles was at 19.3. So I think it was pretty good."

Another explosive run came one quarter later, when Charles used outstanding work from the offensive line and his own individual effort to move the Broncos into field-goal range.

Taking a Siemian handoff out of the shotgun, Charles veered right, following a block from Allen Barbre, then cut back to the left, turning upfield with space generated by Menelik Watson, who blocked Humber at the Buffalo 35-yard line.

Explosive runs like these have helped the Broncos rack up 143.0 rushing yards per game, the third-best average in the league through three weeks. The Broncos have five runs of at least 15 yards in those three games, averaging one such gain every 16.4 attempts. Last season, Denver could only muster one run of at least 15 yards every 37 attempts.

With Charles, Anderson and an improving offensive line, the potential for more runs like this should open more possibilities for the offense in future weeks.

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