Film review: How Broncos’ Miller and Gordon broke the backs of New York Giants

Sep 12, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon (25) leaps over New York Giants linebacker Tae Crowder (48) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Ah, that winning feeling.
 
The Denver Broncos won their season kickoff matchup against the New York Giants as a result of making the most of their opportunities, like key plays from Melvin Gordon and Von Miller which helped ensure the Broncos’ victory in their season opener in the Big Apple.
 
To come out with their first September victory since 2018, the Broncos needed their stars to play just like that, stars. Gordon and Miller sure answered the bell and we invite you to enjoy the film breakdown of each of their best plays from Sunday.
 
Until the Broncos’ running back raced for 70 yards, the Giants had effectively bottled up the running game. But late, Gordon put a nail in the Giants’ coffin.
 
What makes is more impressive is the Giants knew the Broncos were going to run the clock out and stacked the box. However, the line was too much for New York, executing their blocks perfectly, and Gordon showed tremendous patience to find a crease.
 

What goes unnoticed is offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s commitment to the run game. The mix of play calls and a consistent dose of Gordon and Williams wore down the Giants, leading to the Broncos’ game-clinching score.

It was said all offseason that the Broncos would commit themselves to the running game, and to maximize the effectiveness of Teddy Bridgewater, the team had to remain balanced.

Shurmur did just that.

Gordon breaks the game open

Pounding the ball early and often called for Shurmur to be multiple in his personnel groupings. He also simply needed to be stubborn and call run plays even when there had been minimal success.

For example, early in the second half, Gordon took the ball towards the three-hole on the left side. Giants defensive end Leonard Williams did a good job clogging the hole. Gordon shows good patience and was able to make a small gain.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and the Broncos needed to run the ball to close out the game. 

Shurmur adjusted his personnel from 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) to 13 personnel (one running back and three tight ends). The play works the two-hole on the right side, away from Williams. Gordon saw a crease and worked backside as Garett Bolles sealed off the Giants star defensive end. 

The same patience Gordon used in the previous clip paid dividends as he took off through the Giants defensive front and the worn out New York defenders were unable to catch the Broncos back as he took off down the sideline.

Rotating Williams and Gordon resulted in Denver’s starting back remaining fresh. The Giants remained on the field often as the Broncos won the battle of time possession 35:08-24:52. 

“It keeps us healthy, keeps us fresh,” Gordon said of Shurmur’s rotation between him and Williams. “But going out there fresh, like I said, you never know when a big run will come from because we both can break. We both have the speed; we both have the juice to be able to get the job done.”

No. 25 bursted down the sideline at more than 21 MPH. The game-clinching run was faster than any ball carrier in week one.

In the end, the nail in the coffin for the Giants was a perfect mixture of execution and commitment by the Broncos.

“Well, I mean, the [offensive] line opened it up pretty well,” Gordon said of his big run after the game. “I mean, it’s a pretty easy run. They made it really easy for me. [They] doubled-up to their guys, tight end moved a guy out the way–you know, just a really easy read. Cut it back, and it was off to the races.”

Broncos’ Von Miller gets home

Denver’s defense was suffocating Sunday versus the Giants, headed up by their leader.

Miller was a man on a mission Sunday, and each of his moves were designed to set up the next. Whether he was rushing the passer or stuffing the run, the ability to win his individual matchup was necessary for the Broncos defense. 

In totality, he was a force to be reckoned with from the first snap. 

Here, Miller creates pressure by dipping around the edge, almost getting to quarterback Daniel Jones.

 

This created doubt for Nate Solder, the Giants’ right tackle. He began to sit back to prepare for Miller’s quickness. Miller utilized a bull rush to create another pressure on Jones, and as a result, Jones’ pass hit the ground harmlessly.

Miller’s total domination led New York to make a change at right tackle, which was a move they should not have made.

When the Broncos needed to close out any Giants’ comeback late in the fourth quarter, Miller went to work. New right tackle Matt Peart was frozen and Miller took advantage; the former Super Bowl MVP burst around the edge for his second sack of the day.

The backbreaking plays by Gordon and Miller helped seal the victory and move the Broncos to a good start on the 2021 season. This week, Denver faces the Jaguars in Jacksonville with an 11 a.m. MT kickoff.

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