Not one running back had more than 28 yards in the Broncos’ 49-27 win over the Ravens in week one. It’s okay because of Peyton Manning’s 462-yard, seven touchdown performance, but there will be weeks when the Broncos will have to keep it on the ground more whether it’s a wet ball game or the team wants to control the clock.
Knowshon Moreno got the start on Thursday, which came as somewhat of a surprise since the Broncos used Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball more in preseason.
“I think it was just more of experience,” John Fox said of Moreno. “He’s more seasoned. He’s been in that spot a little bit more than our other guys. They are all three very capable. I’m not slighting the other two at all…There’s a feeling out and settling in process that happens in games and so early in the game as a coaching staff we just felt that was our best option.”
There wasn’t one back that stood out in week one. Hillman averaged 3.8 yards on four carries, Moreno averaged 3.1 yards on nine carries, and Ball averaged 3.0 yards on eight carries.
The backs were, well, put on the back burner, and who can blame offensive coordinator Adam Gase for that one?
“There’s going to be times where it’s late in games—if we had to be more efficient in the run game based on what the defense is giving us—you don’t want to be one dimensional,” Fox said. “You want to have balance. It doesn’t mean it has to be 50-50.”
Of the Broncos’ 68 offensive plays, they ran it 23 times (34%). It’s what the Ravens left open that dictated that. Rather, it’s the number of receiving weapons the Broncos have now.
After week one’s air attack, opposing teams will be honing in on the pass for at least the next few weeks. Expect the Broncos’ ground game to step it up a notch.