ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Giving up 147 rushing yards to the Chiefs in Week 2 felt like an anomaly for the Broncos' defense. It was double what they had allowed Pro Bowler Justin Forsett and the Ravens in Week 1, which fell in line with the run-stuffing prowess the Broncos showed in 2014 as the league's No. 4 defense in rushing yards per play allowed.
Understandably, the defense was disappointed.
The Broncos continued to prepare for the Lions on Thursday, and Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster returned after missing Tuesday's practice. (All photos by Ben Swanson unless otherwise noted)
"We just gave up too many big plays," inside linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "We gave up some runs that we've got to definitely clean up. I think that's really what it was, just the running game. They rushed for over 100 yards and that's definitely not acceptable in our eyes."
Charles, to his credit, has spectacular talent. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five of his seven previous seasons, earning four Pro-Bowl and two All-Pro selections.
"He made extra yardage when he needed to," Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips said. "We made a big mistake on the long run and that obviously added to his yardage—a 35-yard run. We felt like, and I still feel like, you've got to stop the running game, number one, but if people can throw it on you, they're going to score more points on you. That's just the name of the game. We've always got to play great pass defense. We need to play strong run defense anytime."
Heading to Detroit for the Sunday-night matchup against the Lions, the Broncos will face a team trying to find its footing, offensively. Detroit's offensive line has had trouble in pass protection and trying to pave the way for its running backs Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick.
Abdullah has received the majority of carries for the Lions, but the team has a league-low 32 rushes. In Week 1 at San Diego, the rookie impressed with seven rushes for 50 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown that showed his explosiveness and elusiveness. But in Week 2, the Lions fell behind quickly and repeatedly tried to catch up through the air. Abdullah finished with six carries for nine yards.
"The first game, they were ahead 21-3," Phillips said. "They jumped on San Diego quickly. Last game, they got behind and had to throw it a little more. They're playing at home. This is their first home game. We know how hard it is to play on the road, and it's going to be a big game. The Sunday night games always [are]. The crowd's pepped up and their team has their backs to the wall."
Even though the Lions' rushing effort has yet coalesce, the Broncos are aware of the danger Abdullah poses.
"He's very quick," Marshall said. "The guy is a special talent, and I think we've just got to contain him. Everybody has to be sound in their gap and we've got to tackle well because he's very quick."