NFL Wire News

Broncos running back sharing not yielding results

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos continued to split carries between running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, but neither of them went anywhere Sunday.

Anderson averaged 2.0 yards on his 11 carries, with 10 of his 22 yards coming on a single third-and-12 run in the first quarter. Hillman averaged 3.0 yards by picking up 21 yards on seven carries.

Combined, they mustered just two first downs on their 18 carries — and they only had five runs in the first half.

“We weren’t very committed to the run the first half,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “The way we were playing us, we went ahead and threw the ball. We went some hurry-up and did some things.”

In the second half, the Broncos tried to experiment with a formation that utilized Max Garcia as a sixth offensive lineman. But the line failed to generate any more push, and the tactic was scrapped.

Said Kubiak, “We tried to go back and do some three-tight end stuff and run the ball. You saw us come out. It wasn’t very effective. We got back into some hurry-up. We wanted to get (running back Juwan Thompson) involved yesterday. That’s twice in the last three weeks that we were trying to get him involved, and he got nicked on us, so that went away.”

Hillman’s frustrations weren’t just limited to the ground game, as he dropped a potential touchdown catch under pressure. Demaryius Thomas also dropped what should have been a sure touchdown in the back of the end zone.

These flubs, along with the end-zone interception Peyton Manning threw to Charles Woodson under pressure from Malcolm Smith, left the Broncos with just six of a possible 21 red-zone points Sunday, dropping them to 57 of a possible 91 this year.

“The sad thing is, we do some good stuff and we don’t finish anything. That’s what’s disappointing,” Kubiak said.

“And then everything keeps going back to 18 (Peyton Manning). That’s not fair. We’ve got to get better running the football. We’ve got to get better protecting him. And if we do those things, then we’ll play better offensively.”

Notes: Quarterback Peyton Manning threw a pair of interceptions for the second consecutive game, and his 77.3 passer rating led to a question about whether Kubiak would consider rotating him with Brock Osweiler. “No, Peyton’s doing just fine,” Kubiak replied. … Cornerback Aqib Talib is considered day-to-day after having his ankle rolled during Sunday’s win. Talib was examined in the locker room, but returned. … Tackle Tyler Polumbus played 33 snaps in relief of starter Ryan Harris. Kubiak said he planned to get Polumbus some rotational work during the game to aid Harris, who was limited in practice last week.

Left tackle Ty Sambrailo sat out a second consecutive game because of a shoulder injury. Sambrailo worked out with team strength and conditioning coaches last week during practice and could return this week. … Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware left the game in the first half after his back “locked up on him,” Kubiak said. Ware was taken from the field via cart, but was seen walking around the locker room after the game.


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