Denver Broncos: Running the Football Too Much

By Joe Morrone
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have won the AFC West for the second straight season and they are currently on a seven-game winning streak. As with every contender, the Broncos are not perfect, but there is one area that most people have wrong. Many believe that if the Broncos do not start running the ball better, they are in trouble. The sentiment is understandable because as football fans, we’ve had that pounded into our football DNA for years. Great teams run to set up the pass and if you can’t run, you can’t win. When it comes to the 2012 Broncos, that way of thinking just doesn’t fly. If anything, the Broncos are running the ball too much.

When the offense finally got it going in their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was because they started throwing the football after halftime. They struggled through the first half, in large part, because they try to run the ball way too much. It’s almost as if the Broncos are caught up in the idea that they have to run the ball because that’s what everyone tells them to do. Then they go into the locker room at the break and someone, probably Peyton Manning, says “That’s not working, we are going to throw the ball and run when I want to.” The Broncos are an average running team at best and that’s OK.

The Super Bowl Champions in the past two seasons have been awful running the football–the New York Giants were dead last in the league in that respect last season. The Broncos offense is set up around Manning and that’s the way it should be, so use him. They are getting off to these slow starts because they continually come out with the idea of establishing the running game, just stop and play to your strength. If they come out throwing, get a lead then they can run the ball in the second half. My guess is the run-pass breakdown would end up being about the same–it’s just a matter of when they run.

The Broncos and their fans need to get away from that establish the run first mentality, because it’s not who they are. There was a situation in the second quarter when the Broncos had a 2nd and 2 in Buccaneers territory, and failed to convert. They ran it on second down for no gain and Knowshon Moreno dropped a pass on third down. The Broncos are terrible when it comes to running the football in short yardage, so they should quit doing it. The odds of Manning getting two yards on two passing plays are very high, so play the odds.

No one is saying that the Broncos should not run the ball at all, but let’s forget the idea that they should be a 50-50 team. The fact is they should be throwing the ball at least 60 percent of the time. The Broncos did not sign Manning to be a running team. Manning is one of the great quarterbacks of all time, so let him fling it.

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