Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
On Sunday afternoon, Broncos fans got a taste of what the running game is capable of. The big moment for the running game came in the second quarter when Ronnie Hillman ran up the sideline 72 yards for a touchdown.
That play, as well as his performance, might have given him the chance to make even more of them. Gary Kubiak announced that C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman will be splitting carries going forward. This will begin when the Broncos travel to Oakland to play their AFC West rivals, the Raiders.
In the limited action from Ronnie Hillman and the lack of production from C.J. Anderson, it was only a matter of time that this was going to happen. But this could be what the Broncos offense needs in order to get things going in the run game. Having a bruiser and a speed/change of pace back will make it so that defenses will have to prepare for both.
Looking at the stats for both players, Anderson is currently at 117 yards rushing on 43 attempts. For Hillman, he has 39 attempts for 191 yards. It is not very often that a backup has more rushing yards than the starter. But, as we have seen in the first four games, Hillman is making the most of his chances.
Both running backs will have a tough task next week. The Oakland Raiders might have a defense that is next to last in passing yards and total yards. But where the team excels is their run defense, which is currently tenth in the league allowing 93.2 yards per game.
Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) runs for a touchdown during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
It will be interesting if the split in carries will help excel the running game. The offensive line appears to be improving, so it is now on the shoulders of Anderson and Hillman to bring about phase two and that is finding the holes that the offensive line creates.
The Broncos have something special in Anderson and Hillman. Let us see what they are capable of as the season progresses. I, for one, have not given up on C.J. Anderson and with the help of Ronnie Hillman, we could see these two develop a huge 1-2 punch in the running game.