It’s hard to complain about offense if you’re a Denver Broncos fan, but I think the team learned an important lesson against the New England Patriots that can help them the rest of the season.
All throughout this year, the Broncos have been absolutely absurd with their conservative approach to offensive football. Is that an outrageous statement? Go ahead and check the facts. The Broncos want to be a running team, and they have accidentally slipped into the best passing offense in the league.
Don’t believe me?
The Broncos are FIFTH in the NFL this season with 340 rushing attempts, and fourth with 448 pass attempts. I didn’t capitalize the ranking for pass attempts because that is probably to be expected. The fact that Denver is fifth in the league in rushing attempts (also, second in touchdowns) is a very key reason why this team has struggled to dominate like they are capable of, especially since Von Miller returned in week seven.
As I had previously stated, the Broncos want to be a running team. There’s no question about it. The passing game is the clear strength but Denver has a clear game plan week in and week out to establish the run, even sometimes running the ball in third down situations that would otherwise clearly call for a pass play.
Why am I putting up such a fuss about this? Well, as the headline clearly states, the Broncos proved against the New England Patriots that even when the running game is as good as it could possibly get, it wasn’t enough. Meaning Knowshon Moreno carrying the ball 37 times for an incredibly efficient and effective 224 yards and one touchdown would have probably earned him MVP honors for the week had the Broncos won, but it came in a losing effort.
The Broncos dominated the Patriots up front, especially in the running game, and came away with only inflated statistics to show for it.
You have to wonder if this will prove to the Broncos’ coaching staff that no matter how good they can be running the football, the ratio of pass/run plays should be more like 5-2 rather than 4-3.
Now, obviously Peyton Manning didn’t have the hot hand against the Patriots and the Broncos should have been able to make enough plays to beat New England. I get that. But what cost the Broncos was a lack of aggressive play in the second half. They made no halftime adjustments and decided to play out the rest of the game as if they were playing not to lose rather than trying to embarrass the Patriots on their home field.
The Patriots were fired up offensively, proving that whether they were with the wind or going up against it, they could move the ball through the air if by no other way than pure will power.
The Broncos looked like they were struggling to design a play that could net a completed pass.
Let’s face it, everything went wrong for the Broncos in the second half against New England, but a lot of it could have been prevented with a more aggressive offensive game plan coming out of the locker room, because scoring seven points in the third and fourth quarter is unacceptable for this Broncos team.
The Broncos are not a running team, nor should they continue to try to be. The running game should be a nice complement to the Four Horsemen in the passing game, but if they insist on the running backs touching the ball, it should be on screen passes more often than it has been.
I’m not saying the Broncos should abandon their run game strategies, but quit trying to make it a focal point of the offensive game plan. It’s getting old watching the Broncos put the ball in Knowshon, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, and C.J. Anderson’s hands when they should be sticking to what works best, which is the right arm of Peyton Manning.
Kudos to Knowshon Moreno on his great game, but I hope he never has to carry the ball 37 times in a game again.