Broncos fans put up billboards asking for more of Tim Tebow this week, but they might have picked the wrong offensive player.
Willis McGahee, forced into the starting lineup by the injury to Knowshon Moreno, had 58 yards and a touchdown in the first half and the Broncos lead the Bengals 10-3 after 30 minutes. Lance Ball and Spencer Larsen added 22 more yards on the ground to give the Broncos 80 rushing yards for the half. That’s 42 yards more than they managed against the Raiders in their Week One loss and a big reason why Denver has a lead with their depleted roster.
They started the game without Moreno, Brandon Lloyd, Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams and saw Eddie Royal leave the game after a quarter with a groin injury. That’s forced Tebow into action as a wide receiver, but the Broncos have kept the ball on the ground and dominated time of possession as a result.
It has also helped that the Broncos convert their third downs while the Bengals keep coming up short. Cedric Benson was stuffed on two third-and-one running plays and Andy Dalton was incomplete on a third attempt on third-and-one, while the Broncos were able to extend drives five times on third down in the first half. The Bengals couldn’t do it once, which helps explain a big Denver edge in time of possession and goes a long way toward explaining why the Broncos have a lead at the break.