Next-Day Notebook: Booker scores first NFL touchdown

“Book” the rook gets a good look

After 10 games, including preseason, rookie running back Devontae Booker finally experienced the moment he had been dreaming about since he first began playing football — he scored his first NFL touchdown.

“I thought I should have had it back in preseason or a game before, but tonight I ran hard and got my first NFL touchdown,” Booker said. “It felt great.”

At the end of the third quarter, Booker found pay dirt on a one-yard run set up by a 31-yard reception by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. A balanced offensive attack had been missing during the Broncos’ two-game losing skid, and the run game hadn’t been the same since the Broncos’ first two games of the season. However, that changed Monday night. Booker and veteran running back C.J. Anderson set season highs, racking up a combined 190 yards on the ground.

“I think it was really important because you can see he has some young juice to him,” said Head Coach Gary Kubiak of Booker’s performance. “He gives us the ability to make some big plays.”

Booker shined in the spotlight of Monday night’s game, recording his first NFL touchdown, as did Anderson, who led the team in rushing yards with 107 rushing yards. The veteran running back posted his fifth career 100-yard rushing game while also eclipsing 2,000 career rushing yards, becoming the 12th Bronco to achieve that career milestone.

Sack streak snapped

Entering Monday’s game, outside linebacker Von Miller had recorded a sack in the previous seven regular-season games; however, that streak came to an end Monday night despite the defense’s rattling of Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.

“There was a sack streak? I wasn’t paying attention to it. My bad, guys,” Miller said. “I’m all about wins. I’ll take a win any day. Sacks are great, that’s what I do. That’s my job. I wasn’t able to get it done today, but we got the win, so that’s even better.” 

For Miller, the numbers that fill the stat sheet don’t always tell the full story and Monday was just another example of that.

“I take pride in great defense,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly how many passing yards or rushing yards [they had], but I think we did a really good job in the passing department and the rushing department. They got a couple runs on us, but we did a great job on defense. For us to do a great job on defense, we have to have a great pass rush.”

No Fly Zone back in business

The Broncos boast that they have the best secondary in the league, and week after week it’s getting harder and harder to argue against this notion.

In Monday night’s 27-9 victory, Aqib Talib led the Broncos with a season-best three passes defensed, and Chris Harris Jr. helped contain DeAndre Hopkins, one of the league's top wide receivers — and one of Harris' toughest opponents — to five targets, two receptions and nine yards. 

The No Fly Zone shut down the Texans’ passing attack, limiting Osweiler to 3.2 yards per passing attempt — the lowest mark allowed by a team this season. 

“[In the] first half, they tried to go deep with us, so we knew we had to take away the deep shots with Brock,” Chris Harris Jr. said. “We know he has a really strong arm so we wanted to eliminate that off top. Once we were able to take away his deep shots, we knew he couldn’t beat us going short all night.”

And he didn’t. The Texans did not score a touchdown in Monday night’s loss, settling for three field goals. It was the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that the Broncos’ defense held their opponent without a touchdown, and the first time it accomplished this feat since playing the Chargers on Dec. 6, 2015.

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