The passing game is of the utmost importance in the regular season, but in the playoffs, running game is invaluable. This is where Knowshon Moreno becomes the X-factor for the Broncos. He is a guy that can make Peyton Manning’s job easy in the playoffs by running the football.
The Broncos running back has had a career season by running for 1,038 yards on 241 carries this season and scoring 10 touchdowns. This is good enough for him to be trusted.
Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase has to do everything possible to get Moreno involved in the offense. To his credit, he has this season, but coordinators can get away from running game if the situation dictates them to use the passing game. That is something Manning and Gase have to be careful.
In the cold weather, it’s hard to throw when receivers have a hard time catching the ball. This is why Moreno will be an integral part of the Broncos offense.
The playoffs are where a player creates his own legacy, and the timing is great for Moreno being that he is a free agent after this season. He should get a nice contract by some team desperate for a running back, but if he wants to get it from the Broncos, he can get it by playing well this month. In a sense, this is more of an audition for him to earn a long-term deal by the Broncos.
Moreno relishes the challenge to be that dynamic player. His job should be easy with defensive players focusing on Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, so he will get room to run. That could be the difference this time around for the Broncos in winning postseason games.
Last year, the Broncos were one-dimensional. All teams have to do is blitz Manning and cover all the receivers. This is a different story this time around. Moreno’s breakout season makes it easy for Gase and Manning to trust their running back.
One has to think the game between the Chargers and Broncos is going to be a shootout, and it could come down to the final drive. This is where Moreno comes to play. He can milk out the clock, and he can run for some downs that can help Matt Prater be in a position to kick the game-winner for the Broncos. It could happen again if the Broncos play the winner of the Colts and Patriots matchup in the AFC Championship Game.
Make no mistake the Broncos are going to have to score so many points to keep up with the Chargers, Colts or Patriots, and that’s why the running game matters more than ever.
Plus if Moreno does well, this makes Manning’s job easy. He can always throw for short passes with one of the wide receivers being open as defense put on an eight-man front on the Broncos running back.
The Broncos have been waiting for their running back to break out, and everything came together this year. For Moreno, it’s the right time. The Broncos’ postseason success will be dictated on what he does.
Moreno knows he is going to have the responsibility of carrying the ball often, and it’s something he takes it seriously. It’s been a long time the Broncos had a running back that can be a difference maker in a game.
The Broncos have waited forever for him to be the player then-coach Josh McDaniels envisioned him to be. He was supposed to be the guy that would run for 1,000 yards or more every season. It hasn’t worked out for whatever reason. Injuries could have been one reason. Lack of trust by the coaching staff could be another reason.
Better late than never for Moreno, though.
There were questions about how he would do this season. Now, he could be the answer to the Broncos winning the Super Bowl.
Moreno knows teams will be ready for him, but he is capable of taking many hits and still run for first down. He has showed that a lot this season.
The Broncos have to feel good about their running back’s frame of mind. He is playing with confidence. That’s what running for 1,038 yards can do for a running back.
Moreno is more than ready to handle the responsibility of doing his part in the offense this month.
Contact or follow Leslie Monteiro at @LightRodWriter.