Just like the best offense can be a good defense, maybe the best running back can be made by a running quarterback.
Willis McGahee and Tim Tebow combined for 281 rushing yards against the Raiders. Like rabid Raiders fans, they fed off of one another’s energy.
Without a doubt, the Broncos are a running team. They’re John Fox’s team. They’re led by a quarterback that could double as a fullback. It only made sense that the Broncos ran 38 times against the NFL’s 16th ranked rush defense. It would open things up even more for the Broncos later in the game when they attempted to pass against the league’s 25th ranked pass defense.
The decision to primarily run the ball produced an astounding 7.9 yards per carry for the team as a whole. That’s what happens when your quarterback breaks out for a 38-yard run and your running back breaks loose for a 60-yard touchdown run.
Because the Raiders’ focus was on the Broncos’ running threats, Tebow was able to throw two touchdown passes. The first was a 27-yard pass to Eric Decker. The second a 26-yard pass to Eddie Royal who had been hiding behind the orange curtain for most of the season until this game.
It didn’t look like McGahee was just two weeks removed from hand surgery. The extra hardware in his ball-carrying hand must carry extra power.
In reality, the Raiders had to respect Tebow’s ability to run the ball. Against the Dolphins and the Lions, a linebacker was used to shadow Tebow, and the defense was throwing extra men into the box. The Raiders were doing the same thing in the first half, but then they had the team’s real running back to deal with. Tebow would run the option, attract some extra attention, and shuffle the ball or pitch it back to McGahee who would shoot the gaps or run to the outside.
“We’ve been in the process of adjusting for the last three weeks,” John Fox said of his option offense. “It’s a different style, but it can be effective.”
Effective it was. Perhaps McGahee’s best so-called blocker is Tebow. His presence changes the layout of the field and creates large holes. McGahee’s eyes were bugging out of his head all day. He had 163 yards on 20 carries and 2 touchdowns. Darren McFadden didn’t play, but McGahee put up McFadden-like numbers.
Fox had “Smash and Dash” (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) in Carolina. Now he has “Run and Gun” in Denver with McGahee and Tebow.
Let the destruction begin.