Phillip Lindsay had some interesting insight on Wednesday afternoon about what clicked with the offense on Sunday - particularly in the running game - and it can be summed up in one word.
“I want to give a shout out to Jano because one, having him back is just — it’s like night and day. It’s like me and him are married together,” Lindsay said. “He does a lot for us. He makes a lot of things go in this offense, and he’s a fixer.”
When we handed out our Mile High Report game balls this week, all the obvious choices had been taken instantly - Kareem Jackson, Alexander Johnson, Courtland Sutton, Lindsay. So I chose Andy Janovich, back from injury, who had some key blocks to create holes for Lindsay’s big rushing day.
I’m happy to see that I’m on the same page as the Pitbull here.
“When he sealed that linebacker and there was a hole there, it just made things a lot easier,” LIndsay added, specifically referring to the 32 yards he popped off in the Broncos’ final drive that put the offense immediately into field goal range.
But if it was a surprise to Broncos Country that the running game was going to have a big day, it was totally planned by offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello and expected by the offense.
“We knew going into that game. We watched film, and O.C. said it’s going to come down to the last six, seven minutes of the game and by running,” Lindsay said, adding that they had watched tape on the Rams’ game where Todd Gurley ate up the clock and the Rams just ran the ball down. “[Scangarello] showed that clip and said this is what we’re going to have to do if we’re going to win the game. It came down to that opportunity.”
And Lindsay’s counting on that opportunity again.
Fortunately, No. 30’s ability to run inside and find holes between the tackles is unmatched (excluding Hall-of-Famer and previous No. 30 owner Terrell Davis) because he’s been doing it his whole life, thanks to his dad.
“Growing up, my father taught us how to run inside,” Lindsay said. “I do love running inside because there’s nothing better than being able to make slight little moves, make people miss inside. Then once you get inside out, it’s a lot easier than trying to run away from these 230, 240-pound linebackers running 4.3s, 4.4s like you.”
Although fans have enjoyed bashing the offensive line, Lindsay was quick to not just defend it, but credit it too.
“The offensive line has been playing great honestly since the first game of the season. You guys are just looking at stats. You are guys are not understanding different situations we’ve been on the field. They’re doing a great job all the time,” Lindsay said, joking that he wouldn’t tell the media.
“The [offensive line] is working their butts off out there. It’s for us to help them out. It isn’t always them,” he added. “Sometimes we’re not picking the right holes or we’re not doing certain things to help us out. They’re doing all they can.”
Joe Flacco agreed.
“It’s a new system, they’re working together to get their calls right and we’re finding out what we’re good at,” the quarterback said. “There’s bunch of things that go into it, but they’re a hard-playing group of guys. They’re young and they’re still figuring out some things. They’re going to do nothing but get better and better.”
And the line will need to do all it can - and then some - when the Broncos take on Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans this Sunday.
“It’s going to be a good game. It’s going to be a hard-hitting game,” Lindsay said. “They have a really good defense and we have to go at them.”
With Jano helping him out and Lindsay doing his thing to sneak through the creases for daylight on the other side, the running back sees no reason why the Broncos’ offense won’t be successful.
“People have been saying that about all the defenses we’ve played, and we’ve handled it,” Lindsay point out. “We just have to handle it. We just have to find ways to make plays especially when it matters. That’s the biggest thing now.”
One game at a time.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 8, 2019
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“We’re going to have to run the ball to win games, and as you get going later on and as it gets colder, you have to run the ball,” Lindsay said. “In the playoffs, you have to be able to run the ball. Everybody knows that. There’s no secret.”