Things didn’t go according to plan for the Denver rushing attack in Week 1.
After working to establish balance offensively throughout training camp and the preseason, the Broncos opened the season against the Raiders and ran for just 38 yards total – the team’s lowest rushing output of the season.
“That was the one game looking back the entire year that we really struggled running the football,” Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy said. “It was just one of those deals where we came out and they beat us up front.”
The Broncos ran the ball just 13 times and averaged 2.9 yards per attempt in a 23-20 loss.
“In that first game we abandoned the run too quickly,” Head Coach John Fox added.
“We probably started throwing the ball a little too often too early in the game,” he said. “We got away from the run and when you look back you kind of say, ‘Hey, this is a football team that you have to just keep pounding the rock against.’”
But since then, the Denver ground game has emerged.
With the help of free agent running back acquisition Willis McGahee, the Broncos have averaged 125.9 yards per game on the ground entering Week 9 – good for the eight-best mark in the NFL.
And as the Broncos prepare to face the Raiders again Sunday, they expect the running game to play a larger role and produce.
McCoy’s key to continued success on the ground since the opener? Patience.
“You just have to stay patient,” McCoy said. “From that game on, we’ve gotten a little better each week in the running game, and we have to continue to get better this week.”
To win round two against the rival Raiders, Fox knows he needs his running game to be at its best to give his offense the best chance to thrive.
“We’re going to have to do a better job of balancing the attack this time around,” he said.