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Mile High Morning: Facing tough 49ers defense, Broncos' run game showed improvement 


The Lead

In the Broncos' victory over the 49ers, Denver — including its run game — overcame a number of challenges to pull out the win.

San Francisco entered Sunday's game allowing the second-fewest rushing yards in the league, but the Broncos nevertheless found a way to run the ball in crucial moments. 

"They came out with a few different looks that we weren't really expecting, and obviously they have a good defense and a good front seven," center Lloyd Cushenberry III said. "… We just stuck to it, and that's the key, especially in games in Denver at home. Guys can get tired, and as much as we can keep pounding them in the run game, that's going to help us out later in the game. They came through for us last night, but obviously we need to start off better on offense — protection, run game, everything on offense. We just need to be better." 

The Broncos scored their first red-zone touchdown of the season against the 49ers, and it came on a one-yard rush from Melvin Gordon III. Neither running back put up massive numbers on the ground — Javonte Williams rushed for 58 yards, while Gordon rushed for 26 — but it was enough to give them the edge against one of the toughest run defenses they'll face all season. 

Acknowledging the run game's improvement, Cushenberry noted that the Broncos' offense still has room to grow, and it just comes down to execution. 

"We just have to execute," Cushenberry said. "There's no secret remedy that we need. We just have to execute. We have all of the pieces; we just have to put it together and do our job on the field."

Below the Fold

Vintage Russell Wilson emerged in the fourth quarter against the 49ers, as No. 3 showed off his signature ability to scramble and extend plays on Denver's game-winning drive. Cushenberry expressed admiration for his quarterback finding ways to make big plays when they needed it most. 

"It was great," Cushenberry said. "It was kind of a surreal feeling. You see him make those plays in Seattle for so many years and now you're on the field with him and watching him make these plays, scrambling and getting out of the pocket. The great throw he had to [WR] Kendall [Hinton] — I think it was second or third down, one of those. It was one of those moments that you've seen for 10-plus years, and him making those plays, it was vintage Russell Wilson back in his form. It was a great drive. We all executed, [and it was] a big drive that we needed, obviously. We came through as an offense."

The Unclassifieds

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