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Monday, September 19, 2011
Moving on: Denver Broncos

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Here are some areas the Denver Broncos need to focus on after a 24-22 home victory against Cincinnati on Sunday:

Recap: That’s the beauty of the NFL. Fortunes and attitudes change weekly. Last week, the Denver Broncos were down after playing sloppy in John Fox’s Denver debut, a Monday night loss to visiting Oakland. Now, the Broncos are in a three-way tie for first place at 1-1 with Oakland and San Diego after the win over Cincinnati. Considering all the injuries Denver had, it has to feel good about this win. The Broncos hung in and played tough down the stretch. Confidence will build from this win.

Biggest area to fix: Last week, the run defense betrayed Fox’s team. That wasn’t much of an issue Sunday as the Bengals averaged 3.6 yards per carry. That’s a good sign. But the rookie quarterback Andy Dalton shredded Denver for 332 passing yards. Yes, Denver was without star cornerback Champ Bailey and pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil. That made a difference. But Dalton had more success that he should have had.

Biggest area to build on: Denver ran the ball just 13 times for 39 yards against Oakland. Without starter Knowshon Moreno, Denver ran the ball well against the Bengals. Willis McGahee had 101 yards on 28 carries. In all, Denver ran for 131 yards. It averaged just 3.6 yards a carry, but it was an improvement. This is sign Fox wants to run the ball as much as possible. Denver won this game doing what Fox wanted to do.

What to watch for: Denver has a winnable game Sunday at Tennessee. The Titans are 1-1. If the Broncos can continue to run the ball and not get gutted on the ground defensively, they have a chance.