CARSON, Calif. — As Phillip Lindsay approached the lectern Sunday, he sheepishly lowered the microphone and explained he’s not quite as tall as Von Miller, who had proceeded him at the stand.
Maybe Lindsay is not quite as tall as the Broncos’ star linebacker — or most of the players he faces on a weekly basis — but his play Sunday made as big an impact as anyone’s. The diminutive running back sparked the Broncos’ offense on several occasions during Denver’s 23-22 come-from-behind victory, and he finished with 79 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, as well as 27 yards on four catches.
Even once he had lowered the microphone to his level, though, he was quick to deflect praise to his teammates, as he has done throughout the season.
“I’m proud of the offensive line, especially in the interior,” Lindsay said Sunday. “We had some major, major [key players] go down with our offensive line, and [their replacements] stepped up. They were physical. They were physical, and they got on top of the linebackers and the defensive linemen, so I had lanes. So I’m proud of them.”
With the Broncos trailing 6-0 in the second quarter, Lindsay took advantage of one of those lanes in a major way, courtesy of two of the backups he praised. He patiently waited in the backfield before spotting a hole between Connor McGovern — making his first career start at center for an injured Matt Paradis — and Billy Turner, making his debut at left guard for an injured Max Garcia.
Once Lindsay got to the second level, he had just one opponent between him and the end zone: Chargers safety Jahleel Addae. And Addae didn’t stand a chance as Lindsay sprinted by him.
Though Lindsay was reluctant to talk about his own accomplishments, his quarterback couldn’t praise him enough.
“Phillip, [he’s] just picking up where he left off,” Case Keenum said. “He’s an explosive guy, and you just find ways to get him the ball in some space, and even sometimes not a lot of space. He makes things happen. It’s fun watching him run the ball.”
Two quarters after he gave the Broncos life with his first score, Lindsay again gave the Broncos the lead. This time, he took the direct snap out of the wildcat formation, angled right and then darted to his left, evading one arm tackle and scooting in for a 2-yard score just minutes into the fourth quarter.
After showing patience and explosive speed on his first score, Lindsay showed the ability to improvise on his second.
“Obviously it wasn’t supposed to go backside, but things happen,” said Lindsay with a laugh. “And we were able to make a play.”
Making plays is nothing new for Lindsay, though. He’s recorded at least 60 yards from scrimmage in every game except one this season, and Sunday marked his fourth game over the century mark.
Still, it did come with one first: It was Lindsay’s first multi-touchdown game. Even with Royce Freeman back in the lineup, Lindsay received the bulk of the work, and he made the most out of those touches. His average of 7.2 yards per carry was his best since Week 2.
“He’s growing before our eyes,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said. “He’s an NFL first-, second- [and] third-down back. It’s amazing at his size what he can do on all three downs catching the ball, protecting, running in the A,B and C gaps. He’s a good little football player, and obviously it’s no fluke.
“We’re in Week 11 and he’s still doing it.”