Peyton Manning hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass as a Denver Bronco yet, but he led two scoring drives (good for 10 points) against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night. The touchdown scoring drive was punctuated by Willis McGhee when he punched the ball in from the one yard line as the first quarter came to a close.
“You’re just showing the capabilities our offense has,” McGahee said after the game. “We can run the ball, we can throw it in. We showed a glimpse of what we can do when it comes to the real, live bullets. I think we’re going to show up. We will show up, I don’t ‘think’ we will show up.”
McGahee led the team in rushing with 28 yards on 8 carries and the one touchdown.
“Seattle played some defenses where the run looks were there,” Manning said of the touchdown drive. “We were in two-down territory. Coach [John] Fox said he was going to go for it had we not made it. So, it was nice on that third down. The offensive line had a good push, and Willis did a good job getting in the end zone.
In 2011, McGahee led the Broncos with 1,199 rushing yards and tied for the NFL lead with seven individual 100-yard rushing games.
He’s a guy that can take the pressure off of Manning as he continues to familiarize himself with a new team 14 years into his NFL career.
In fact, McGahee said after the game that he’s out on the field to get the team’s receivers yards.
“It’s good to help the guys out regardless, as best I can, whether running the ball or pass blocking,” McGahee said. “I’m trying to get those receivers 1,000 yards this year. We’re trying to have a little fun.”
The Broncos had just 38 yards rushing against the Seahawks, but the five Broncos’ receivers had at least 20 receiving yards which by preseason standards is pretty good (Brandon Stokley led the team in receiving with 3 receptions for 41 yards).
Just like the threat of McGahee helped Tim Tebow in 2011, his presence is going to aide Manning, especially once the season begins and the offense is seeing more complex defenses.
McGahee is particularly valuable near the goal line. He owns the fourth-most rushing touchdowns (59) in the NFL since his first season with the Buffalo Bills in 2004.