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Behind Javonte Williams' first career 100-yard game, Broncos' rushing attack breaks out vs. Cowboys


ARLINGTON, Texas — Javonte Williams' first half was already pretty good.

He had found plenty of success in the first two quarters with 54 yards on just seven carries for a 7.7-yard average. But Head Coach Vic Fangio had a feeling more was awaiting him in the second half. A lot more.

"I felt like a little bit of a prophet there at halftime ," Fangio said. "I told him I felt he was going to bust one."

All Williams could do was laugh, but he'd soon prove Fangio right.

After a strange blocked-punt-turned-muff recovery kept the Broncos' offense on the field after their first possession, Denver looked to capitalize on the unique opportunity. Williams received the handoff from Teddy Bridgewater and followed blocks from pulling guards Quinn Meinerz and Dalton Risner to find some room to run to the left side of the field. As three Cowboys defenders made contact, it appeared Williams would simply get the Broncos a great look at a short-yardage third down. And then he kept going.

Williams and Meinerz, still blocking from behind, had bigger things in mind. Williams kept his balance and kept his legs churning, and just as some Cowboys presumed him to be tied up, he broke free, picking up 30 yards before being tackled from behind.

"I really feel like it was Quinn," Williams said later. "I think Quinn was behind me pushing me. And that kind of gave me like a boost. But everybody was just holding on to me; they weren't trying to tackle me or nothing like that. So when I broke, I don't know — I thought I was gone but somebody caught me from the back."

Even being caught, Williams' play encapsulated exactly what the Broncos' 30-16 win over the Cowboys was all about — an unyielding will regardless of odds or expectations, and a run game that chewed up anyone in its way.

By day's end, the Broncos racked up 190 yards on the ground — their best total of the season, and the Cowboys defense's worst. Williams accounted for 111 yards, while veteran back Melvin Gordon III totaled 80 yards and a touchdown.

"Those guys just stayed patient," Bridgewater said. "We knew that we could scheme up some good runs. For us as a unit, an offensive unit, the more we could eliminate the negative plays and going backwards, I think we can be a pretty good offense. You saw Javonte and Melvin just mixin' it up today, that one-two punch — the defense didn't really know what was coming. We did a great job of getting them going on the edge. The guys did a great job on the perimeter of blocking, so it was an overall team effort."

With Denver's offensive line missing three starters by halftime — tackles Garett Bolles and Calvin Anderson, as well as guard Graham Glasgow — the performance was all the more impressive.

"That felt great," second-year center Lloyd Cushenberry III said. "We knew we were due for one of these days, and we've been waiting on it. We've just been putting in a lot of work, just had to get it going and just stuck to it all day. We knew we could run the ball on this team, so it was good to finally break through."

That kind of breakthrough proved crucial for the offense as a whole. Denver's offense piled up 407 yards, which is the team's best total since the season opener in New York.

"I felt like we got off to a hot start, and when you do that with the run game, I feel like Coach [Offensive Coordinator Pat] Shurmur was able to stick with it," Williams said. "Every run's not going to be a big run — we had a couple two- or 3-yarders — but I feel like we had a lot of big plays in the run game, and that really opened everything up."

Behind those big plays, Williams pulled together a career night. He had his first 100-yard game, got his first game ball and he may once again win "Good Morning Football"'s Angry Runs scepter because of that 30-yard run.

With all that and a win, Williams and the Broncos may be at their happiest when he's at his angriest.

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