Anderson, Booker ignite Broncos in 27-9 win over Texans
DENVER (AP) — Lately, the Denver Broncos ground game lacked some punch.
Suddenly, they have a potent 1-2 combination.
C.J. Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker took turns carving up the Houston Texans in a 27-9 win on Monday night. Anderson finished with 107 yards — his first 100-yard performance before Halloween in his career — and a score .
Not to be overshadowed, Booker gained 83 yards and also found the end zone.
“Everything was clicking today,” Anderson said.
That hasn’t been the case in recent weeks for the Broncos, who’ve struggled to get much going on the ground. After gaining 148 yards in their opener against Carolina and 134 in Week 2 against the Colts, the Broncos (5-2) saw their totals slip to 52 against Cincinnati, 89 against Tampa Bay and 84 against Atlanta and San Diego.
Against Houston, one of the worst run defenses in the league, the Broncos gained 190 yards on 35 carries. Both tailbacks were doing so well that neither wanted to come out.
Anderson wouldn’t even make eye contact with the bench and shrugged his arms when he saw Booker running onto the field.
“It just feels good to be fresh — that’s the way I look at it,” Anderson explained. “If Booker and I can keep this 1-2 punch, we can help our defense out. We can definitely go as far as we want to.”
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said last week that Booker deserved more carries. He followed through with his plan, too — Booker had 17 attempts and Anderson 16.
“You can see he has some young juice to him,” Kubiak said. “He gives us the ability to make some big plays. He’s pushing C.J. to be the best he can be and C.J. responded tonight and played extremely well.”
For the Texans (4-3), it’s back to the drawing board. They’re now allowing 135.4 yards rushing per game.
“We didn’t do a good job in the run support,” Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “Anytime you want to give yourself a chance to win, stopping the run is one of the first things you have to do.”
All the talk around this game was how quarterback Brock Osweiler was lured out of town by Houston with a mega deal. But Denver nearly lost Anderson as well, before Broncos general manager John Elway matched Miami’s four-year, $18 million offer in the offseason.
This was the reason why they brought Anderson back.
“I put more on myself to make more plays,” said Anderson, a Pro Bowler in 2014.
Booker scored his first NFL touchdown on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter. That football is going into a case and will be stored at his parents’ house in California, he said.
“Everybody expects more out of us and we wanted to make a difference out there tonight,” said Booker, who rushed for 1,261 yards as a senior at Utah before a late-season knee injury sidelined him. “We did complement each other. Him going in there and running hard, then I come in as a change-of-pace and run hard again. It’s just breaking the defense down.”
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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed.