The Denver Broncos have faced four high-level running backs in four consecutive weeks, and they’ve completely dominated.
“Gordon. Elliott. McCoy. Lynch,” wrote the team’s official Twitter account. “95 yards. Zero touchdowns.”
That’s in reference to Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.
They may not all be considered elite now, but Elliott was the best back in the NFL last year, McCoy is in the elite talk every year, and Lynch used to be the best back in the NFL before he retired from the Seattle Seahawks, carrying the team to two consecutive Super Bowls. The odd man out is Gordon, and even he was a first-round pick who ran for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. He briefly held the NCAA single-game yards record at Wisconsin, with 408, and scored 29 rushing touchdowns in his final year, landing fifth all-time.
He was the best against the Broncos, with 18 carries for 54 yards. Denver then allowed just 8 yards on 9 carries for Elliott. The next week, they gave LeSean McCoy a mere 21 yards on 14 carries. On Sunday, they let Lynch run for just 12 yards on nine carries. That means he and Elliott combined for all of 20 yards on 18 carries.
But that’s not all. Andrew Mason, who works for the team’s official website, posted a list of per-possession rankings. The Broncos are No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed per possession. They’re second to only the Houston Texans in first downs allowed per possession. When looking at three-and-out percentages, they rank fourth in the NFL. Their worst stat is points per possession, in which they rank eighth.
While there is still work to do, it’s clear that this defense is back to the dominant play that won Super Bowl 50.