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.
Broncos running back Melvin Gordon is responsible for the fastest speed of the week by a ball carrier, reaching a top speed of 21.52 MPH on this 70-yard TD run in the 4th quarter against the Giants.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 13, 2021
No other ball carrier reached 21+ MPH league-wide.#DENvsNYG | #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/V5fXMGKHqg
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.
Von Miller looked fresh in his first game back since 2019, generating a pressure on 7 of his 22 pass rushes (31.8% pressure rate).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 12, 2021
Miller's pass rush get-off of 0.79 seconds was faster than his average get-off in 2018 & 2019 (0.85 seconds).#DENvsNYG | #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/oRz0x1Mhsy
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.