When the Denver Broncos are balanced on offense, there’s no doubt that they can run one of the most productive offense’s in the league.
The team’s running game has been in question over the last couple of years. Knowshon Moreno was drafted 12th overall in 2009, but we’ve yet to see the kind of production that was expected out of the one time Georgia Bulldog.
During his career with the Broncos, it’s become clear that he sometimes has issues with fumbles and he’s not an every down kind of back. His history with injuries has dampened his draft status as well as put him on the other end of the learning curve.
That’s why John Fox wanted to bring in a complimentary back that could ease the pressure off of Moreno. In the off season, the Broncos signed 8-year veteran Willis McGahee and also kept Lance Ball on the roster.
Those off season decisions looked promising on Sunday afternoon as McGahee and Ball threw a one-two punch at the Cincinnati Bengals in a 24-22 win. As Moreno was sidelined with a hamstring strain, McGahee racked up 101 yards on 28 carrie and 1 touchdown. Ball provided some relief for McGahee’s tired legs at times and had 6 carries for 28 yards.
With that one touchdown in his first start as a Bronco, McGahee became tied for second place for most rushing TDs (56) from 2004 to the present (He’s tied with Thomas Jones).
McGahee and Ball kept the chains steadily moving 3-4 yards at a time. McGahee picked up 5 first downs while Ball got 3 first downs.
“They are both bigger guys,” Fox said of McGahee and Ball. “They knew we were going to lean on them heavy through all week of preparation. I thought they came up big.”
Their production also took pressure off of Kyle Orton and his depleted group of wide receivers.
“We stuck with it,” Orton said of the run game. “The line did a great job. Willis (McGahee) making yards, making downhill yards, making tough yards. Lance (Ball), the first drive of the game – third and three – I handed it off to him and he plows forward to get the big first down.”
With Moreno’s game status in question, the Broncos may have to put the load squarely on McGahee and Ball’s shoulders again in Tennessee.
As they showed last week, they can handle the weight.