If there’s to be a backbone in the Denver Broncos offense come Sunday when the team hosts the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers, Willis McGahee has to be it.
The Steelers have the No. 1 ranked pass defense allowing just 171.9 yards through the air per game. That spells trouble Tim Tebow who went 6-of-22 for 60 yards with two turnovers in the Broncos 7-3 loss against the 7-9 Kansas City Chiefs.
“We just need some work in the passing game,” John Fox said. “It’s something that has plagued us most of the season, and it’s something that if we’re going to do anything in the playoffs, we’re going to need to improve at.”
McGahee was one of the few bright spots on the offensive side of the ball Sunday as he put up 145 yards on 28 carries. With his help the Broncos broke a franchise rushing record with 2,632 yards on the season.
“I think our running backs have done a tremendous job all year,” Fox said. “There have been some pretty good teams around here in the past, and to break a franchise record rushing the football, it has a lot of people’s signatures on it.”
McGahee finished the regular season 8th in rushing with 1,199 yards on the season in 15 games. Had he played in 16, he likely would have finished in 4th place among backs.
The Mile High scoreboard looked more like a baseball game had been played rather than a football game. The Broncos’ defense did their part by holding the Chiefs to 7 points, but the Broncos’ 3 points just doesn’t cut it, especially going into the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” McGahee said. “The defense played great. The thing is, I feel like we need to step up our game more on the offensive side and just play on their level because they’re playing lights out.”
The Broncos may be backing into the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean that they’re flopping over.
“I think we’re going to make a lot of noise in the playoffs,” McGahee said. “You’ve got to look at Seattle a year ago when they got in and made a lot of noise (the beat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the first round). That’s what we plan on doing.”