Sunday’s 42-17 rout of the Dallas Cowboys, gave Broncos Country a friendly reminder of something they already knew: C.J. Anderson is the lifeblood of the Denver Broncos offense.
After Anderson suffered a meniscus injury that ended his season just seven games into 2016, the Broncos offense was not the same moving forward. Two games into the 2017 season, Anderson has been exactly what the Broncos need him to be. Simply put, Anderson has been the Broncos’ workhorse.
In their 24-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in their season opener, Anderson spearheaded the Broncos rushing attack with 81 yards on 20 carries. With the help of Jamaal Charles and Trevor Siemian, the Broncos ran for 140 total yards.
During Sunday’s win over the Cowboys, Anderson once again took on the role of the workhorse and boy did he deliver. He had 58 yards rushing on 12 carries in the first half alone, and the Broncos took a 21-10 lead into the locker room. It didn’t stop after halftime either. When it was all said and done, Anderson went home with 118 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown.
Sunday not marked Anderson’s first 100-yard game of the season, but the first time a running back went over the century mark against the Cowboys since Alfred Morris did it in Week 17 of the 2015 season.
Anderson was a force on the ground on Sunday, but he was also a thorn in the Cowboys’ side through the air as well. His 36 yards on three catches were third-most for the Broncos on Sunday, and he was one of the four recipients of a Trevor Siemian touchdown pass.
The beautiful thing about the Broncos’ offense in 2017 is that Anderson doesn’t have to do it by himself. Yards weren’t easy to come by in 2016, but they seem a tad bit easier 2017. The addition of Jamaal Charles has been just what the Broncos and Anderson needed, as well. Having another running back capable of taking some of the stress off of Anderson while garnering similar results will be one of the keys to keeping Anderson healthy for a full season. Charles added 46 yards on nine carries (5.1 average) and a six-yard reception to balance the load.
A good running game opens up the rest of the offense, and that’s exactly what the Broncos have been able to do through two games. Anderson has had no trouble on the ground so far. If he can keep it up, the Broncos will be in great shape as the season progresses.