DENVER –Even though no running back had more than 45 yards or 15 carries, for the sixth time this season the Broncos racked up more than 100 yards on the ground on their way to a 45-21 win against the Redskins Sunday night.
It was a complete effort by the entire unit – Knowshon Moreno had the most yards with 44, Montee Ball pushed one across the goal line and C.J. Anderson posted a healthy 5.5 yards per carry in his NFL debut.
"I thought all those guys ran well," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Knowshon was solid again, great run on the screen pass for the touchdown. C.J. gave us a spark when he popped in there and I thought Montee was solid. (Running Backs) Coach (Eric) Studesville rotates all those guys in there and whoever is in there at any given time, we're calling the same plays and we expect them all to be able to handle the run plays and the pass plays and catch the ball out of the backfield.
"I thought those guys did a real good job today."
Moreno was also threat catching passes against the Redskins as he caught each of the six passes thrown his way for a career-best 89 yards and a crucial touchdown. Moreno took a screen pass 35 yards to the end zone in the fourth quarter that put the Broncos in front 28-21 – their first lead since 7-0.
Moreno caught the pass just on the left side of the hash marks and made a cut upfield. After getting some extra room from a block by Manny Ramirez he cut back inside of a Wes Welker block near the goal line to make the last two defenders miss.
"The linemen got out and got their hats on some blocks out there," Moreno said. "I was just following them. The rest, I was just trying to get as close as I could to the end zone. Made a cut and (Welker) was there, made a block, and it was a touchdown."
The fifth-year back went on to say that the running backs pride themselves on catching passes out of the backfield and that becomes even more important when the receivers downfield are being tightly covered.
Filling that role of both rusher and receiver was especially important once the Broncos found themselves in a hole early in the second half.
"You don't want to panic," Moreno said. "You want to kind of be composed and just try to put that drive together. You don't have to get it all back in one play. You just have to keep on cutting away, cutting away and hopefully get down there and put points on the board."
Ball was also a big part of putting points on the board as he scored his first career touchdown and pulled the Broncos back to within a touchdown of the Redskins. He finished the game with 37 yards and a he also pulled in a catch.
"As those young guys get more comfortable and their teammates get more comfortable with them and the coaching staff gets more comfortable with them – there's no doubt Knowshon has been a great guy in that room," Head Coach John Fox said. "We went with a little different combination today with C.J. Anderson up. I thought he had a couple nice sturdy runs in there, same with Montee Ball.
"We're just going to lean on those guys more and more. We're still just halfway through the race."