Denver Broncos | News

Day-after takeaways from Broncos-Chiefs

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **With every game C.J. Anderson plays, the sight of him breaking through tackles and gaining yardage after contact becomes more familiar -- and more frustrating to the opponent.

Nearly two-thirds of Anderson's 168 rushing yards came after contact during the Broncos' 29-16 dismantling of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. ProFootballFocus.com credited Anderson with forcing 13 missed Chiefs tackles on his 32 carries -- one more he forced over his 66 previous carries in the season's first 11 games.

Yardage after contact and making tackles miss has been his forte since he entered the league. It was evident as early as last year's training camp, and he took it to a dazzling extreme on a 51-yard catch-and-run against Oakland in Week 10 after he replaced the injured Ronnie Hillman.

"He's got a low center of gravity and he has good vision," said Head Coach John Fox. "He does have some wiggle to make people miss in tight spots. His abilities allow him to do that."

But on Sunday night, it was the dominant part of his game, and allowed him -- and the entire offense, to grind down the Chiefs' resistance.

"It's always been in my arsenal, just running hard and just letting people feel my story, just being that tough, nasty running back that the O-line loves," Anderson said. "It just feels so good when you're getting tackled, when you're running through people and the O-line is going 'Good run, great run,' and who doesn't want to run behind an O-line like that who's excited about running the ball?"

RUNNING ON THE RISE

In the last two weeks, Anderson's performance has allowed the Broncos to soar up the league's rushing ranks. Denver was 26th in yardage per carry (3.70) and 27th in yardage per game (89.9) after the Week 11 loss at St. Louis; the Broncos now stand 18th in both categories, with per-carry and per-game averages of 4.07 and 109.5 yards, respectively.

The Broncos sent the message of intent with their starting lineup once again. For a second consecutive week, they opened the game with six offensive lineman, with Paul Cornick again joining the now-regular quintet up front as an extra tackle or a big tight end, depending on your perspective (he had to check in with referee Walt Coleman as an eligible receiver).

Cornick remained in the line for the first four offensive snaps of the game, all Anderson runs. The Broncos opened each of their first three series with Cornick and Virgil Green outside the offensive linemen, and ran on the opening snap of each of those possessions, never gaining less than 5 yards on those three drive-opening runs, which averaged 6.3 yards.

"It kind of gives the defense a little bit something different to look at," said tight end Julius Thomas, who was inactive Sunday but saw some work in six-lineman packages with Cornick before being injured. "You've got an extra lineman on the field, and you think, 'Is this going to be a run play?' It's probably a run-heavy personnel, then you're able to do some passes out of that.

"It just gives us another thing that we can do out there, another guy that you have to game-plan for throughout the week, another personnel set that you're going to have to figure out how to defend. I'm sure that even when I get back, we'll continue to see some of those big tight-end sets."

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Look through the best moments captured on film from Sunday night's big divisional win at Arrowhead Stadium.

QUICK HITS:**

  • Wide receiver Cody Latimer was the intended target on his only play, running a go route late in the second quarter that fell incomplete. It was the second time he was targeted this year, but the first by Peyton Manning.
  • Two Broncos made ProFootballFocus.com's All-Star team for Week 13: Anderson and left guard Orlando Franklin. Longtime PFF fave Chris Harris Jr. was an honorable mention choice for the week and ranks first among all cornerbacks the site ranks this season.
  • For the sixth time this season, linebacker Brandon Marshall led the Broncos in total tackles, sharing the distinction Sunday with safety T.J. Ward. Each player had six total stops. Marshall also added his second sack of the season -- both of which came at Alex Smith's expense. "Hopefully they'll blitz me a little more, because I like to blitz," Marshall said.
  • The Broncos had just five penalties for 32 yards, their fewest -- in yards and infractions -- since Week 3. The Broncos had averaged 9.2 penalties a game in the eight weeks heading into the trip to Kansas City.

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