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Broncos want to get back to run-first plan vs. Patriots

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The Denver Broncos' offense is close to making the Tim Tebow-era teams look prolific.

The Broncos 18.8 points per game are their fewest since 1992 when John Elway missed four games with a shoulder injury. Denver's 4.91 yards per play is the team's fewest since 2001 when Terrell Davis played just eight games in his final season. And the 214.9 passing yards per game is the worst since the 2011 Tebow-led team.

At least that 2011 team won games by running the ball, leading the league with 164.5 per tilt. The 2017 version of the Broncos offense has struggled to even do that for long stretches during their four-game losing streak. In three of the past four losses, Denver failed to gain 70 yards rushing. In Sunday's blowout loss to the stingy Eagles, they put up a season-low 35 rushing yards.

In order to hide a shaky quarterback situation, running back C.J. Anderson knows the team must be better on the ground.

"We know when we run the ball we get a better chance [to win]," Anderson said, via the Denver Post. "We're not one-dimensional. That's what we want to do. We want to run the football. We want to be efficient while we're running it. Whether the O-line is playing really great that day, the running backs are playing really great that day or we're both playing [poorly] that day, it's up to us in our room to make more plays."

The Broncos are averaging 39.75 pass attempts per game during their losing streak. While it's natural to abandon the run during losses, coach Vance Joseph said his team needs to be better balanced early in games.

"That's not what we're good at," Joseph said regarding the pass totals. "We're good at running the football, controlling the clock and having manageable third downs."

Right now, Joseph's team is good at neither.

Behind a porous offensive line, Anderson and the rest of the running game have been repeatedly stuffed, setting up poor passing situations. When Denver can pick up chunk yardage, the entire operation runs more smoothly.

With Brock Osweiler trotting back under center to face the New England Patriots on Sunday night, Denver needs to ride the running game to keep its mediocre quarterback from throwing the game away.

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