Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams the Unexpected Stars of Denver Broncos

Running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams have been the unexpected stars of the Denver Broncos. They have both been consistent contributors to the team’s wins this season, and it is hoped that both will remain healthy to see even more action on the field.

Broncos Running Backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams Have Starred

Fans everywhere are calling for Gordon to be extended and the way he has been performing, it would make no sense for the Broncos not to give the people what they want. Head coach Vic Fangio cannot sing high enough praises of both running backs, as mentioned by ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. “Our two backs are really, really good. I love them both, I’m glad we have them both.”

True Rushing Talent

The Broncos offense displayed some real rushing toughness against the Detroit Lions Sunday. Of course, Gordon and Williams played at an elite level combining for 184 yards rushing yards on 39 carries – 111 yards on 24 carries for Gordon, 73 on 15 for Williams. They both scored touchdowns – two on the ground for Gordon; one on the ground and one in the air for Williams. The two running backs scored twice from scrimmage in the same game, and that hasn’t happened since 1962.

Pro Football Focus awarded Gordon and Williams top-10 rushing grades among running backs in Week 14 (Gordon 78.0, Williams 75.1). Both could become just the eighth duo in NFL history to each rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.

Denver’s Run Game Is Back

The Broncos run game is finally taking shape again. They are 6-1 this season in games where they have at least 28 rushing attempts, which proves good things happen when they have a tight run game. “We had a good commitment to the run game,” Fangio said. “And we need to have that, especially this time of year. If you can run it, you can build a lot of things off of it.”

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The More They Do, the Better Denver Will Be

Following Sunday’s win, Gordon has 159 carries for 716 yards rushing and a 4.5 yards per carry average. Williams has 155 carries for the season, 743 yards rushing, and a 4.8 yards per carry average. The two have so far combined for 10 rushing touchdowns, Gordon owning seven of them.

The Broncos seem to have hit a winning formula but it all boils down to a clear vision and resolve. As quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said, “We knew what the plan was and we wanted to do whatever we had to do to come away with the victory.”

The more touches Gordon and Williams have, the better. They are inadvertently able to keep Bridgewater safe. With an enforced running game, they can also put the ball further down the field more effectively in the passing game.  22 of Denver’s 33 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season have come during wins, and those are the games they’ve kept the running backs working.

Their chemistry on- and off-field also helps. Both seem happy with the 50-50 division of labor. “We’re just both explosive,” said Gordon. “When our number is called, it’s a premium to make plays, especially at a time like this. We’re not thinking twice about what we need to do… we look out for each other.”

Denver is on the edge of the AFC playoff race. Not long ago, this didn’t even seem a likelihood. A toughened running game featuring these two running backs is doing the trick. Can it last? We will soon find out.

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