The Denver Broncos looked like a complete train wreck last week against the Raiders. Drew Lock and the offense looked abysmal. Phillip Lindsay only touched the ball 4 times. The special teams was a dumpster fire. The only saving grace was that the defense still looked good. Good, not great. That was last week against the Raiders. This week against the Miami Dolphins it was a whole new story.
The Broncos actually looked good this week. Good, not great. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Pat Schurmur actually coached a solid offensive game plan. After last week I didn’t think Schurmur could coach and execute a game plan if the opposing defensive coordinator gave Schurmur their defensive scheme for the week. Well I was wrong. Todd Bowles, defensive coordinator for the Dolphins, didn’t give Schurmur his game plan and Schurmur was still able to devise and execute a winning game plan.
What a pleasant surprise for Broncos fans to find out that Schurmur actually can make a good game plan. Schurmur must have realized that the easiest way to take pressure off your young quarterback is to run the ball. Because Schurmur and the the Broncos ran the ball down the Dolphins throats all game. To the tune of 189 yards rushing. 81 yards from Phil and 84 from Gordon. Watching Garret Bolles pull to become a lead blocker and spring the running back was a thing of beauty. Then you find out that Schurmur specifically designed that play to attack the Dolphins defensive front? *Chef’s kiss*
Against the Dolphins the Broncos running game was their bread and butter. The pleading and crying of Broncos fans to just run the ball with Phillip Lindsay no longer fell on deaf ears. Broncos fans are right to bitch about how little Lindsay has been carrying the ball. Yes, Phil is a home grown fan favorite so the bias is high, but stats don’t lie.
Obviously those are some awesome stats. The Broncos are 10-4 when Phillip Lindsay touches the ball more than 15 times in a game. These are the numbers that keep Broncos fans up at night when the team doesn’t run the ball with Phillip Lindsay. Last week Lindsay got a grand total of 4 touches and the Broncos were blown out of the water. This week they feed Phil and the Broncos win a game almost no one thought they would. Sure Phil didn’t make it in to the end zone this week, but he was a big part of keeping the offense moving and on the field.
It’s true that the Broncos run game is what won them the game. But Drew Lock actually played well. I’m not sold on him like I was in the offseason, but this game gives me cautious optimism. Drew started the game off poorly going 0-6 with an interception, but he quickly turned it around. Drew didn’t have to throw the ball nearly as much thanks to the ultra productive running game led by Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon, but when he did throw the ball he stepped in to his throws and delivered quick and accurate passes. Lock looked good, not great, but he made legit progress in the right direction. Lock looked like a quarterback that can be coached in to being great. Drew Lock looked good, but it was the running backs that shined the brightest against the Dolphins.
Phillip Lindsay was awesome. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry against the Dolphins. Averaging a first down every two carries is a great way to keep the offense on the field and the defense rested. It’s such a simple recipe to win games. The other running back Melvin Gordon found the end zone twice. Gordon almost found it a third time at the end of the game. That didn’t happen because the fumble bug has hit Gordon HARD.
If Gordon hadn’t fumbled I would say he had a damn near perfect game. He was solid in pass protection, he was good catching the ball and he got the Broncos only two touchdowns on the day. Yet for some reason Gordon just can’t keep the ball in his hands consistently. That’s a pretty big flaw for a running back to have. One that Phillip Lindsay doesn’t have at all. Gordon dropped the ball on the Dolphins one yard line and gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a chance to drive the ball 99 yards for a game tying touchdown.
Luckily Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be able to drive the ball down the field to win the game. The Broncos defense was too good all game to let that happen. The Denver defense was able to completely suffocate the Dolphins offense all game. It was so good that the Dolphins had to bench Tua. The Dolphins offense hasn’t been their strength this season, but holding them to 223 yards is still impressive. Plus holding a team to under 14 points is a really easy way to win a game. Something the Broncos offense was able to do as they held the Dolphins to 13 points.
Overall it was a good performance from the entire Denver Broncos team. It wasn’t the most fun and exciting game offensively, but there’s nothing more fun than winning games. So who cares if the offense didn’t look high powered. They looked and played competent enough to win and that is all that matters. The most important stat in the world is how many W’s a team has and the Broncos got one more this season.
Broncos beat the Dolphins 20 to 13. Next on the schedule is the New Orleans Saints.