The pistol revived the Broncos' offense, but ineffectiveness and injuries remained the double-barreled theme of the ground game. Denver ranks last in yards per carry (2.6) and 31st in overall yards with 171.
Coach Gary Kubiak promised to run what the Broncos do best, following through by placing Peyton Manning under center for three snaps against the Lions. However, Kubiak's teams have averaged a 10th place rushing attack in his two decades as a coordinator and head coach. The Broncos offense is tweaked, using one-back sets, but Kubiak has no plans to abandon the run. C.J. Anderson remains the starter, and the Broncos would like to get him on track against Minnesota.
"We have to keep C.J. on the field. C.J. has been coming off the field the past three games because he's been nicked up," Kubiak said. "Things are going on, and we need to keep him on the field consistently."
Anderson missed time the first three weeks with ankle, toe and head injuries. He cleared the concussion protocol during the game at Detroit on Sunday and returned, but his abbreviated outing left him with 18 yards on eight carries. For the season, he sits at 74 yards on 32 attempts, admittedly struggling to have fun as he has tried too hard to make the perfect runs, the story said. It sounds like the Broncos want to continue to use Anderson as their RB1 despite Ronnie Hillman playing better most week. Hillman and Juwan Thompson remain the backups, with Thompson expected to be available this week after suffering a neck injury against the Lions. If Thompson can't go, the Broncos could activate Kapri Bibbs from the practice squad. This is at least some potentially encouraging news for Anderson owners.