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Horse Tracks: Running backs shined in Broncos loss to 49ers

It’s preseason, so losing isn’t a big deal. What is a big deal is how the players perform individually and as a unit. And on Saturday night, it was the running backs that looked efficient.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos learned something important about their 2016 team and it had little do with the quarterback conundrum. They learned they have some talent at running back.

Not a single runner averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry as the group carried the rock just 21 times between the four of them for 110 yards and a touchdown. Ronnie Hillman and Kapri Bibbs each got three carries on the night. Hillman took his three for 21 yards and Bibbs for 23.

The real star of the night was C.J. Anderson, who ran the ball six times for 30 yards and one very impressive 19-yard touchdown run.

"I just think we handled everything well," said Anderson. "Trevor [Siemian] came out throwing the ball and we got in a rhythm early. Then I got some carries and got a chance to feel the game and get into a rhythm. When we got into the red zone, we had to punch it in. I got an opportunity to make the most of it."

That was the best play of the night, for sure. However, the first team offensive line did struggle to get in sync at times. Anderson thinks that will come eventually.

"You don’t see it when it’s happening, and then when you come back and talk about it on the sideline… We should be in sync and on the same page," explained Anderson. "We will get better at it. I like where we are at now compared to where we were last year for sure."

Then there was the workhorse of the night, rookie running back Devontae Booker who took the ball nine times for 36 yards.

"He is just explosive," Anderson said of Booker. "He has the balance and he can see things that are coming to him. We got better this week with the things we talked about that we want him to do. We are all just going to stay on him so he can keep improving."

Booker is enjoying his extra playing time too. As a rookie, the more reps you get in a real game the better.

"When you get that many carries in a row, you start to heat up a little bit more faster and just start going with the flow of the game," said Booker.

The running is great, but what Booker worked most on was picking up the pass blocking assignments.

"Pass protection. I did good this week in pass protection," said Booker. "We stress it a lot, being a running back. We’ve got to protect the quarterback. I felt like I did a real good job of that tonight."

You have to love that a rookie cares more about how he did in pass protection than running the ball.

Horse Tracks

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