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Running game finds much-needed spark


DENVER** – The Green Bay Packers left Sports Authority Field at Mile High with their heads down after being served a crushing blow from the Broncos' budding 1-2 punch of running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.

Entering the game, the Broncos' running game had failed to launch, ranking 30th in the NFL in net rushing yards per game (85.0), averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and scoring only twice the whole season.

But against the Packers, the Broncos' previously sputtering ground game suddenly became one of the many bright spots in Denver's seventh consecutive victory.

"The thing that I've said all along is that I paint a vision of what I think we can become. We have to keep going," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "We have a long way to go, but I see the work. I think that we're settling down with some of the things that we're doing."

Hillman notched two rushing touchdowns in the first half to help put the Broncos up early, while tallying 60 rushing yards.

Anderson eclipsed 100 yards rushing with 101 and added a career-long 28-yard sprint for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Together, the duo put together 161 yards on the ground and averaged 4.7 yards per rush, giving the Broncos a season-high total on the ground, bettering their previous peak of 147 yards against Minnesota in October. Their three rushing touchdowns marked just the seventh time in 10 years the Broncos have achieved that feat.

"I just think that we finally clicked," Hillman said. "We got the ball going, Peyton threw the ball great today. We ran the ball, the offensive line did a great job of blocking and I think it was the best overall performance we've had as a team."

Kubiak has been adamant in saying that between Hillman and Anderson there is no 'starter' as they both split carries like 1A and 1B running backs. Anderson has got the nod for the first six games, but against the Packers Hillman saw his first start of 2015.

"It was great. Me and Ronnie are helping each other and using each other's eyes and talking to each other on the sidelines," Anderson said. "I think we're becoming more in sync. With his play and my play, we're becoming more in sync with the offensive line and that's a good feeling."

The Broncos ran away with a double-digit lead to triumph over the Packers, 29-10.

The offensive line was a major contributor to the Broncos' success against Green Bay. The bye week was critical in allowing injured players time to heal and granted Denver the opportunity to practice with all members this week. The staff decided to hold Ty Sambrailo out on Sunday after hurting his shoulder, but despite his absence, the line was the most cohesive it has been all season.

"I think they're just buying into the whole scheme and just going with it and if they make a mistake, just make a mistake at 100 miles per hour," Hillman said of the offensive line. "I think that's what's going on right now: making holes and pushing people off the ball."

The rest of November doesn't get any easier as the Broncos will prep to head on the road to Indianapolis in Week 9.

"We can see what we can do," Hillman said of the offense's progress. "I think it's up to us to keep this train going and just build off this momentum that we have and the sky's the limit. We played great today, but we can still get better. A lot better. We left a lot on the field and we go back into the study and get ready for the Colts. They're going to play us tough up there and they always do. We [will be] ready."

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