ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Last week, the Broncos posted their lowest rushing total of the season as they ran the ball 11 times for 18 yards. This week, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase is will be looking for the numbers to tell a different story.
He said Thursday that he'll be looking for more balance between the run and the pass in the offensive scheme, but that doesn't necessary mean an even split in the play calls.
"When we're able to move the ball efficiently in the running game and the passing game, that's when you get that (balance)," Gase said. "It's never really going to be 50-50. You try to get that. A lot of times it's probably more 60-40 for us. We were fairly balanced in the first half, but we only really had 22 snaps, I think. And then the second half, obviously, a couple of negative runs and then we got away from that very quickly.
"We want to try to do a better job of sticking with it. And that is on me to make sure, hey, make the adjustments we need to make and then stick with the run."
Gase went on to say that play-calling isn't just about mixing up the pass and the run but about finding the right rhythm and letting the play calls help continue that rhythm.
"Sometimes you've got to find that play that can get your guys going," Gase said. "Sometimes it works and obviously, last game, I couldn't find that one. And you're always striving to find that rhythm to get your guys going and that's what we've got to make sure we try to do this week."
CONTAINING WATT A CHALLENGE
In the Texans' 14 games this year, defensive end J.J. Watt has hit the quarterback 42 times – three times per game. He has also registered nine and a half sacks this season to bring his career total up to 35.5 in his three years.
In the game last season between these two teams, Watt picked up two and a half sacks and this time around the Broncos offensive line will be looking to prevent that sort of production.
"At least they've gone against him so they know what to expect," Gase said of the offensive line. "That group knows they've got a tough matchup. This is a good front. This is a good defense, overall. I mean, these guys have put up some good numbers and it's going to be a challenge for us. We're going to have to make sure that we're on it. We've got to bring our A-game and this is going to be a tough matchup for us, especially up front."
Watt was the AP Defensive Player of the Year last season for his 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed and four fumbles. Though his sack numbers are down from his tremendous pace last season, he's getting to the quarterback at a slightly better clip as he finished the 2012 season with 43 quarterback hits – just one more hit than he has through 14 games this year.
Gase said that the stats don't paint the full picture of Watt's effectiveness.
"The sack numbers are irrelevant because he makes teams get rid of the ball quicker – and he does a great job," he said. "He still gets there. I don't know how he gets there so quickly. But he does a great job.
"That guy has got 42 quarterback hits. I've never seen anything like it. He's a really good player. He's a tough guy to stop."
BUBBA BUSTING OUT
With wide receiver Wes Welker out with a concussion last week, Andre "Bubba" Caldwell was called upon to step up and take more reps. He responded with the first multi-touchdown game of his career and his first multi-catch game as a Bronco.
He finished the game with six catches for 59 yards to lead the team.
His increased participation has continued this week in practice as Welker is still recovering.
Caldwell's performance on Sunday and the efficiency with which he worked with Peyton Manning came as no surprise to Gase.
"The way that (Manning) operates – he's going to go to the guy that the coverage kind of dictates to him. He's not worried about who is where," Gase said. "That's what – like I've said before – it's amazing how the balls have been spread out because usually it's dictated by what the defense has done. And he'll find the open guy. Bubba did a great job of getting open when he had his one-on-one matchup."
If Welker isn't fully recovered and ready to go this weekend, Caldwell's number could be called again on Sunday.
"That was really the first big time we leaned on him hard and I thought he played very well," Head Coach John Fox said of Caldwell's performance. "He'll get that opportunity possibly this week and he's definitely gotten a lot of the reps in practice because Wes (Welker) has not practiced the first two days. We'll see what the rest of the week brings around."