It was not a game that many people expected the Broncos to win. Yet, they went to Tennessee and defeated the Titans, 26-20, on Sunday.
On defense, they did it the old fashioned way, stuffing Titans’ running back Chris Johnson and bottling up their mobile quarterback Vince Young.
On offense, they did it whatever way they could, overcoming the complete lack of a running game, getting dominated up front most of the game, yet still finding success going to the air.
Whatever it takes.
Before too long, the Broncos will have to find a running game, or at least something resembling one. Teams do not win consistently in the NFL if they can’t run the ball.
For now, the Broncos are getting away without being able to run the ball. Against the Titans, head coach Josh McDaniels finally gave up trying, deciding that the passing game was the way they were going to try to win.
While the utter lack of a running game is problematic, quarterback Kyle Orton’s success throwing the ball is impressive. Through four regular season games, Orton has 1,419 yards, the second-highest total in NFL history over the first four games.
He has shown a the ability to move the offense, distribute the ball to a group of receivers and on Sunday, he did a better job of producing touchdowns in the red zone.
For now, expect more of the same.
“Until we get things fixed in the running game, the burden has to be placed somewhere,” McDaniels said on Monday. “Kyle has readily accepted that challenge along with the rest of our offense. We have to work hard to fix that other element of our team and our offense but right now, that’s the best way for us to move the football and we’re going to have to continue to do it.”
I am under no illusions. Playoff football teams can run the ball. Playoff football teams get tough yards by grinding them out. They keep opposing offenses on the bench, especially in the fourth quarter.
For a variety of reasons, including health, youth, and continuity up front, the Broncos are struggling mightily in the running game. If that continues all year, it will be difficult for them to make the playoffs.
But I’m not going to race off and live weeks down the line. They won a game on Sunday doing what they had to do. They don’t have to apologize for winning a certain way. If anything, they deserve credit for being resourceful and beautifully executing the part of their offense that was working. Shame on the Titans for making a team one-dimensional and then being unable to stop the one dimension.
And kudos to the Broncos for getting the job done while still not playing their best.
Finding some sort of running game would be a big help this week against Baltimore. But the bottom line is the Broncos will take a win any way they can get one.
Feel free to post your thoughts about the win over the Titans. Thanks for reading and posting.