CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – What a difference 60 minutes of football makes.
The Denver Broncos’ offense, stumbling after two routs in three games including what some players dubbed an “embarrassing” loss to the St. Louis Rams, bounced back with a 39-36 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
And the Dolphins’ defense was not the JV squad. Entering Sunday’s game, Miami was second in team defense, giving up only 303 total yards per game, and was second in passing yards. They’d allowed just 180 points through 10 games, fourth-best in the NFL.
But the Broncos blew up that 18-point per-game average on Sunday.
It started with the running game. The Broncos rushed 35 times for 201 yards, including C.J. Anderson’s 167 yards and one touchdown.
“I definitely think we have the guys in place in order to make the running game successful on this team,” tackle Orlando Franklin said on Xfinity Monday Live. “Adam Gase and Peyton Manning do a tremendous job of checking into those runs, and they put us into a great position to succeed as an offensive line.”
After the defeat to the Rams a week ago, Broncos’ offensive linemen addressed concerns to the media, something they rarely do. Franklin said they needed to own up to their mistakes.
“We just felt that as an offensive line we needed to step up and take a lot of the heat,” he said. “To be honest, you got guys like Peyton Manning that are sticking their necks out for us, and guys like C.J. Anderson and the running backs sticking their necks out there for us, saying that it’s not the offensive linemen’s fault. But there were definitely things we needed to clean up in the previous 10 games.”
Part of that was achieving offensive balance. In 70 plays on Sunday, the Broncos threw it 35 times and ran it 35 times. Against St. Louis, they rushed only 10 times for 28 yards, while Manning threw the ball 54 times.
Running the football makes throwing the football much easier, Franklin said.
“To run the ball in this league, it makes pass-blocking a lot easier. To be a 320-pound, 325-pound person going backward, trying to block a person that’s smaller than you, that’s a lot faster than you, it makes it a lot harder when you’re going to throw the ball a lot of times. Being balanced is ideal, and it definitely makes offensive linemen a lot happier,” he said.
He said he hopes the team strives for offensive balance going forward — “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” he asked — but he said he knows one game doesn’t make them a running team.
Before Sunday’s game, the spotlight shined so uncomfortably on the Broncos’ offensive line that team brass brought in controversial but talented guard Richie Incognito for a workout. They didn’t sign him, but it’s possible they could look at him again later in the season.
Franklin said he wouldn’t mind.
“Absolutely not. We’re paid to play football. Those guys in the front office are paid to make those types of coaching decisions and bring in whoever they feel is going to help us. It wouldn’t offend me. It would just motivate guys. As long as I’m one of the starting five and I’m out there, I’m happy,” he said.
But he said he’s more focused on an integral division matchup in Kansas City on Sunday night. The Broncos hold a one-game lead in the division and the tiebreaker over the Chiefs with a win in Denver in September. He said he knows the raucous crowd won’t make it easy.
The Broncos have won three in a row at Arrowhead, a stadium Franklin said is “neck and neck” with Seattle for the loudest place he’s played. A fourth straight victory there would give Denver a huge two-game cushion.
“It’s hostile, one of the loudest stadiums we’ve ever played in. It’s a big rivalry game, so it’s always great to go out to Kansas City and battle it out for 60 minutes,” he said.
– Written by Tim Skillern for CBSDenver.com
Watch more video with Orlando Franklin in the Xfinity Monday Live section.
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