DENVER** – Running back C.J. Anderson only needed to give the Broncos one yard to keep them alive in overtime against the undefeated New England Patriots.
Instead, he gave them 48 yards and a touchdown to hand the Patriots their first loss of the season Sunday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
And the play on third-and-1 also may never have come to be had it not been for quarterback Brock Osweiler calling an audible and checking into their second play.
"Brock changed it. I said, 'Man, this has a chance,'" Anderson said of what would be the game-winning play. "And as I got a toss--and I just saw [left tackle] Ryan [Harris] deep for me--and I thought, 'If he can get to the hole, I better be able to get to the hole.' You just got to get it to the big boys up front; they pretty much create the play and [they] got me a chance to get on the safeties and make them miss, and the next thing you know is history."
The play was just a snippet of the impact the Broncos made on the snow-packed ground against the Patriots. With help from Anderson, running back Ronnie Hillman, Osweiler and fullback Juwan Thompson, the Broncos rushed for a season-high 179 yards. Anderson led the charge with 113 yards and two touchdowns, while Hillman clocked 59 yards and a touchdown.
In comparison, as a team, the Patriots rushed for just 39 yards.
"We just went out there and made our reads and we made something happen. C.J. made some plays and then I came in and did some big things too," Hillman said.
The one-two punch of Hillman and Anderson not only worked to put points up on the board, but also helped wear down the New England defense as it battled the freezing temperature and altitude.
Broncos rally to top the New England Patriots 30-24 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
"After his first touchdown, Ronnie came to me and he said, 'Hey man, you're going to grind them out and I'm going to get all the glory,'" Anderson said. "And I said, 'Hey, I'm not worried about it if we win.' We just kept picking out spots and being decisive and I just kept trying to be the punishment, especially in the cold. There's not a lot of people who want to tackle you. They start getting tired in this altitude and you can see that, and that obviously paid [off] for us."
Together Hillman and Anderson helped setup the overtime play fans, and players alike, are not likely to forget for years to come.
"Oh man, it's great," said outside linebacker Von Miller of the game-winning run. "When you see him running and he's got 30 yards to go for the end zone, there isn't anything like it."