Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Trouble on the Horizon

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 12, 2010


Photo by Larry French/Getty Images


Honestly I really could just cut and paste my post from last week about the running game.  The only difference this time is, the Broncos did not win the game.  Last week the Broncos beat Tennessee despite rushing for just 19 yards.  On Sunday, the Broncos actually doubled their rushing output, posting 39 yards on 13 carries as a club.  In the second half, the Broncos called just three running plays totaling just one yard.  By contrast, the Ravens carved up 233 yards on the ground on 47 carries, an average of five yards per carry.  From those numbers even a football novice should be to tell who won the game.

Sure, Kyle Orton threw two more touchdown passes and continued to pad his stats with another 300 yard passing effort, but it has been long proven that passing numbers don’t tell the whole story.  I am definitely on the Orton bandwagon and he is rapidly becoming a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl, but he can’t do it all by himself.  The Ravens game proved that the Broncos can’t win every week being a one dimensional team.  At some point they are going to have to establish some kind of running game in order to sustain success.  If they don’t, defenses know they don’t have to respect the running game.  The Broncos rank dead last through five games with just 259 yards rushing as a team (this even ranks behind eight teams who have had a bye and have played one fewer game), and they are averaging just 2.3 yards per carry.  Every other NFL team is averaging at least 3.0 yards per carry.  Even the winless 49ers are averaging 3.7 yards per carry.  Needless to say, the Broncos are threatening to be the worst team running the football in NFL history.

What’s worse than the numbers is the fact that the Broncos offensive line got completely dominated along the line of scrimmage against the Ravens.  We know that Baltimore has long been one of the more physical teams in the NFL and they wear down a lot of teams.  That said, the way the Broncos got physically manhandled Sunday was alarming in more ways than one.  I realize they are battling injuries along the line and they are starting several rookies, but Josh McDaniels has talked about building a physical team ever since he got here, and on Sunday the Broncos were anything but physical.  I have been perfectly willing to give McDaniels the benefit of the doubt, but he’s going to have to start getting results soon to avoid the wrath of Broncos fans who are watching Mike Shanahan get surprising wins with the Redskins and are getting ever the more ancy about McDaniels’ personnel decisions.  McDaniels does seem to know football and many of his decisions have worked out, especially in the passing game.  It remains to be seen however if he can truly build a successful franchise over the long term.

The Broncos schedule is still very rocky coming up.  Next week they host the Jets, who have not lost since week one.  The good news is standout cornerback Darrelle Revis may not play due to injury.  The bad news is five Broncos defenders, including Brian Dawkins, have been declared out.  The Jets defense did a very nice job last night against Adrian Peterson, so I shudder to think what they will do against the Broncos’ running game.  The good news is the AFC West is still there for the taking, with the Chiefs leading the way at 3-1 and everyone else coming in at 2-3.  If the Broncos can figure out the running game, the passing attack is more than good enough to put points on the board.  Knowshon Moreno is getting much closer to returning and could be activated on Sunday so that will help, but the much bigger issue is the offensive line.  Here’s hoping that next Tuesday I’m not writing about the running game for the third week in a row.



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