The Broncos’ one-two-rushing stroke of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combined in 90 yards and two touchdowns Sunday, enough to pace Denver to a route of the Jets at Empower Field.
While that may have been good enough to beat the humble Jets, Gordon stressed that the roaring attack is not good enough if the Broncos will fight long-term this season.
“(Javonte and I) have been okay – and just okay – but I feel we can get better,” Gordon said after the match. “I am certainly not happy with how we did (today) … We should have done better. Our expectation for our group is far higher than today.
“We have some tough matches on the way, where we really have to see what we are about. There’s no time to be content with scoring – we should have had two touchdowns each, and those are the expectations we have. Today was not good enough, but it was good enough to get the victory, and that’s all that matters. ”
Gordon had 61 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown in the second quarter, while Williams finished with 29 yards on 12 carries after getting the Broncos early ahead with a score. Both tailbacks’ touchdowns were one-yard power runs, and the Broncos had 121 yards rushing total.
It’s not quite the ground production the Broncos expected against New York, but for the third week in a row, the opponents’ focus on Gordon and Williams opened up the passing game for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“Keep blitzer our running game and that’s why we’ve had success in the passing game,” said coach Vic Fangio. “Teddy was 19-of-25 at 235 yards and over a 104 rating, so they go to great extremes to play our running game, these first three opponents.”
Williams paired the joy of his first NFL touchdown with the anguish of his first fumble that came on the finish line as the Broncos looked for another TD late in the fourth of a 26-0 blowout. He called the play “the doom” of an otherwise promising performance. The novice has consistently shown eruptions in cramped spaces along with slipperiness in the open field.
“I just need to jump back and get better ball safety,” Williams said. “Absolutely the fumble will stick more in my head (than TD) and I will see it again (Monday on film) … I’m just glad we were up at 23. It teaches me that in important situations I have must be locked inside the details. ”
Meanwhile, Gordon’s touchdown run avenged an almost identical game from the opening quarter that did not result in Denver’s advantage. On that 1st-and-goal run on the Jets’ 1, Gordon ran off-tackle to the left and then cut it back, right into a perfectly timed hit from Jets linebacker CJ Mosley. The thunderous collision terrified the crowd even as Denver scored on Williams running the next game.
But when Gordon and Mosley found each other in the hole again in the second quarter – with the Broncos again with the ball close to the goal line – Gordon threw Mosley in the backcourt and strutted into the end zone and nailed the ball for “a little payback.”
“The first one I did not see him because (the hit) came at the last second from a back-end guy who covered the hole,” Gordon said. “As soon as I made a cut, I never saw him. I did not even know which number hit me, honestly. It did not hurt as bad as it sounded, but it’s bad when you hear the whole crowd go, ‘Ooooooooo.’
“But me and him got one-on-one again and I could flourish then.”
The Broncos played the final quarter-plus of the game without their two starting guards as Graham Glasgow (knee) and Dalton Risner (foot) left the third. Gordon remarked “it’s a shame to have your two big boys go out”, but did not use it as an excuse for what he saw as missed opportunities on earth.
“(We need to be better) on indoor zone running, off-zone running, us in the open field,” Gordon said. “We came on a safety basis a couple of times and we made them miss, but we have to make them miss cleaner. I feel like we left some yards out there as backs today. Especially in the first half (offensive) opened that thing up. ”
And if teams continue to stack the box to limit Gordon and Williams, Bridgewater is ready for it as Denver begins preparations for the Ravens (2-1 and traditionally stout against the race) at home in Week 4.
“If teams want to sell out and stop the race, we come up with the plan (to beat it),” Bridgewater said.
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