Melvin Gordon, Broncos Country wants to give you their hearts. They’re just afraid you’d drop them.


Melvin Gordon cares, OK? Maybe too much, but he cares. I mean, would a guy who didn’t give a patootie play the second half of an absolute slugfest between the Broncos and San Francisco 49ers without a working chin strap?

“You know it’s gonna be helmet-to-helmet. I was out there (and) the chin strap broke,” Gordon recalled with a smile after his game-winning touchdown lifted the Broncos to an ugly-but-memorable 11-10 win over San Francisco Sunday night.

“I was like, ‘I ain’t getting out of this (expletive) game. I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go.’ I was like, ‘Man, I’d rather my helmet get hit and fly off than me take myself out.’”

It’s not your heart, Mel G.

It’s your hands.

No. 25 touched the ball 17 times against a malevolent, physical Niners defense Sunday night. Gordon netted 55 yards in total, good for 3.2 yards per tote. Which is fine.

He also fumbled twice. Which … isn’t.

“I don’t ever want to put the team in a position to where we can lose a game,” said Gordon, whose miscues, both of which occurred in the second half, wound up being recovered by the home side.

“You know, you’ve got 80,000 fans out there (at Empower Field). When you fumble or something, no one feels worse than the guy that fumbles. I mean, I’ve got 80,000 people (who put) it on me … and then on my teammates, most of all. It’s just about not letting them down. I’m gonna do whatever I’ve got to do.”

He got the last word in against the Niners, a cry of salvation, relief and sweet redemption. As Gordon crossed the goal line from a yard out with 4:10 left in the game, No. 25 threw caution to the wind. And the ball halfway to Laramie.

With the Broncos (2-1) down 10-5 and Broncos Country fearing another red-zone heartbreak, the 29-year-old back followed lead blocker Andrew Beck on second-and-goal and into paydirt. The veteran back then screamed to the Heavens, leaping for joy and chucking the pigskin to parts unknown.

“I needed it, a lot,” Gordon explained later. “See … it’s just so unfortunate for me, man. Because I try so hard. I work at it every day.”

It’s not your heart, Mel G.

It’s your hands.

In three games and 42 touches for the Broncos, Gordon has fumbled it three times. That’s as many as he had over 231 touches for the entire 2021 season.

It also puts him on a pace to post 17 fumbles in 2022. If you’re curious, the Broncos’ single-season record is 16, set by Brian Griese in 1999.

The NFL record is 23, held jointly — and not securely — by Kerry Collins in 2001 and Daunte Culpepper in 2002. The modern record for an NFL running back is 16, held — also not securely — by Joe Cribbs during his rookie season with the 1980 Buffalo Bills.

Interesting company, yes. Ideal company, no.

“I’ve just gotta be more calm,” Gordon continued. “Just because, at this point, I’m just trying to show that I could do what I can do. I’ve just got to be more cautious, man.”

It’s not your heart, Mel G.

It’s your hands.

And, more to the point, how those hands fit with a Broncos offense that can’t afford that kind of charity with opposing defenses right now — especially against a desperate Raiders (0-3) bunch next weekend that’s their number as of late.

Until Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett find their mojo, points figure to be precious. The Broncos offense has undertaken 31 non-taking-a-knee drives over their first three games. They’ve scored 43 points in the process. That’s 1.4 points per possession, which is the kind of pace that gets offensive coordinators canned.

(Context: the NFL average for an offense in ’21 was 2.1 points per drive. Pencil Pat Shurmur’s offenses managed 1.98 per possession last fall and 1.72 per possession in 2020.)

The Broncos are 2-1 because coordinator Ejiro Evero’s defense is flying around like a bunch of mama badgers right now. It’s fun as all heck, and very 2015, but even they can’t be expected to carry all the water for the next 15 weeks alone.

Until the red zone numbers turn around, and the law of averages says they should, this offense isn’t good enough to risk giving away free possessions to the other side.

The Broncos are 7-12 in their last 19 tilts decided by eight points or fewer. But they’re 2-1 with Russ, and there’ll be nine or 10 more tilts like this one — one-possession slobber-knockers that ultimately decide a season’s fate.

“You know, as far as the fumbling — I know what a lot of people say,” Gordon said.

“But I try so hard when I’m out there to fight for extra yards and make a play. I’m just trying to show to everybody that … I’m still a good enough back to play in this league and be that guy.”

Ain’t no job security like ball security. Broncos Country would give you their hearts all the way to Vegas, 25. It’s just that they’re worried you’d drop them somewhere over Bryce Canyon, never to be seen again.


Source link