Denver's spectacular run defense leads way to 3-1 start

Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy and now Marshawn Lynch.

This otherwise fearsome foursome — an enviable group of running backs that collectively rushed for nearly 4,000 yards and 38 touchdowns last season even with Lynch on a one-year hiatus — has been bruised, battered, bombarded and bulldozed by the Broncos in 2017 .

Denver limited Lynch to a dozen yards on nine carries Sunday in a 16-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders, who gained just 24 yards on the ground.

“Our run defense has been stout the entire year,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “So, I have been very proud of how those guys have played the run. With a back like that and an offensive line like that, that’s really special, 24 yards.”

Nose tackle Domata Peko, the gem of Denver’s offseason free-agent additions, marveled, “We’re going against guys who have been to Pro Bowls and we’re shutting them down. It’s been great. Big shout-out to the defensive line and the front seven. Shout out to our defense, because stopping the run is not just up front, it’s the whole team. This defense is playing great.”

Together, Gordon, Elliott, McCoy and Lynch managed a measly 96 yards on 49 carries for a 1.9-yard average and zero touchdowns against the Broncos (3-1).

“That’s really four special backs and really four special offensive lines,” Joseph said. “Our run defense has been really stout.”

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