What Happened to the Denver Broncos' Balance Against the Tennessee Titans?

A look at how the Broncos gave up on the run yesterday at Tennessee.

Here's something we can gather from yesterday's 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Head Coach Gary Kubiak trusts his quarterback. He really trusts his quarterback.

Trevor Siemian threw the ball 51 times on Sunday. He managed to complete 35 of those passes (68.8 completion percent) for 334 yards and a touchdown. What's more impressive is that despite putting the ball in the air 51 times and dropping back to throw a total of 54 times, Siemian never once turned it over.

It would be one thing to imply that the Denver Broncos abandoned the run, but they never even looked like they were all that interested in running the ball in the first place.


The game's first series opened with a short pass to the left that A.J. Derby turned up field for nine yards. 2nd-and-1 quickly turned into 3rd-and-1 after Siemian sailed a pass out of bounds. 3rd-and-1, the Broncos Achilles heel.

Denver refused to let another drive end with a stuffed run play on a short-yardage down, so they faked the run and took a sackDevontae Booker completely missed his blocking assignment and let Derrick Morgan loose on Siemian. Strikes one, two, and three on Booker. He would only receive three carries after that play for a grand total of one yard.

On the next drive, Denver looked determined to ride Justin Forsett, just acquired in the past week. Siemian gave it to him out of the shotgun and Forsett took off for nine yards, the Broncos' longest run of the game. Unfortunately, he fumbled at the end of it, quickly turning into three points for the Titans. Forsett carried the ball five times after that, accumulating just 9 more yards.

By the time the second half rolled around, the Broncos were trying to dig their way out of a 13-point hole and looked ready to pass on virtually every down. And it almost worked. If not for either a dropped pass in the end zone by Bennie Fowler or a game-ending fumble by A.J. Derby, the Broncos might have spun their pass-happy plan into a narrow victory.

Instead, it was the Titans, who ran the ball 22 more times than they passed who escaped with the victory.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1736963-aftermath-how-the-broncos... By the time they were down two scores, it had already spiraled out of control. But the Broncos can't let this type of imbalance (86 percent pass, 14 percent run) happen again. A one-dimensional offense, combined with Denver's offensive line, essentially becomes an open invitation to pass rushers looking to pad their sack numbers. It's a mystery how the Titans only came away with three.

It's understandable that the Broncos wanted to start the game aggressively, but scripting a stack of pass plays can go badly if they don't connect from the get-go. That was the case for the Broncos, who couldn't build any semblance of a sustained drive in the first half and ended up losing the time of possession by a ratio of two to one.

The run game isn't instant offense like the pass. It takes commitment, patience, and stubbornness at times to run the ball with success. Maybe the Broncos don't need to do it 42 times like the Titans, but they have to achieve some type of balance. Even the occasional draw play to make the edge rushers think twice.

If they keep ignoring the run down the stretch this season, the only balance the Broncos will strike is with an 8-8 record.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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