I’ve never walked into a game thinking I couldn’t be the game-changer.
A Thursday night prime-time NFL season opener doesn't change that. There’s always an opportunity for me to make a difference. Prime time, things like that don’t bother me, I’ve played in big games and I’ve scored in big games. Thursday night was just another game for me. My touchdowns were just points that put my team back in the game.
I was having a successful first half — 52 yards on 9 carries and a 21-yard reception. Yet, when I ran to the locker room at the half, we were down by 10 points to a team that went 17-2 last season.
I knew our time was coming. I found my offensive line and was telling them, ‘We just need to be patient.’ I found my running backs coach, Eric Studesville, and told him the same thing. I knew if we could just wait and pick our spots then eventually something would spring and get us in the end zone.
We have an incredible level of comfort with this system. We know where cuts should be, what needs to happen and how plays should be ran. Our line’s more physical this year. I knew something big was coming for us and if we were going to get back in this game, it was going to come from me. We ran 58 plays on offense and I was in on 49 of them. I knew my opportunity was coming.
Then, it came.
At the end of the third quarter, we were driving still down by 10. It was first-and-10 at the 25, first play of the fourth quarter. The play call was perfect. The execution by the offense was even more perfect. I knew I was a pretty good pass blocker and I had picked up Thomas Davis twice that night. I had to make him feel like he was beating me.
I saw my opportunity. As soon as I caught the ball, I looked up and saw Matt Paradis and Max Garcia clearing a hole in front of me. They made great blocks and I just burst through with Demaryius Thomas nailing the sealing block to get me in the end zone.
It was a 25-yard touchdown reception that brought us within three at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It revitalized our offense, which hadn’t seen the end zone since early in the second quarter.
Expect this from the Broncos’ offense week in and week out. We’re different than last year, more comfortable, more experienced and adding a fullback like Andy Janovich just gives us another dimension.
I enter every game thinking I have the potential to be a game-changer. Thursday night, on this play, I changed the game.