The Denver Broncos (1-2) head into Week 4 second in the league in total offense with 417 yards. They are first in passing, averaging 350 yards a game. Quarterback Kyle Orton has looked sharp early, distributing the ball at will.
The Broncos high-powered passing attack has shown it can get the ball down the field in the hurry, even without a deep threat or a proven No. 1 receiver to lean on. The offense, however, has struggled near the red zone, and Orton has managed to find the end zone only twice on an astonishing 783 yards over the past two weeks.
That is a putrid stat.
But Orton isn’t completely to blame for the Bronco’s scoring woes.
Surprisingly, it has been the team’s inability to ignite a running game that has kept the team out of the end zone.
With starting running back Knowshawn Moreno sidelined with an injury sustained during practice, the aging Correll Buckhalter and newly acquired Laurence Maroney have failed to pick up the slack.
In Denver’s last week loss Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos rushed for a combined 47 yards and zero touchdowns.
With all indicators pointing toward Moreno missing Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, the pass-happy Broncos will need big sparks from backups Maroney and Buckhalter. Without that, the Broncos can expect results similar to last weeks.
As effective as the Bronco’s passing game has appeared, without the addition of a quality running game, the team will continue to spin its wheels. With upcoming games against the Ravens and Jets in Weeks 5 and 6, Sunday’s game against the volatile Titans could be make-or-break for the Broncos.
The air may be thin in Denver, but if the Broncos want to turn this season around, they will have to go back to doing what they have done since the mid-90s: run the football effectively.