DENVER — If it seemed like Phillip Lindsay has been finding yards harder to come by this year, it’s because they have.
As an undrafted rookie surprise last year, Lindsay had 937 yards through 12 games. He finished with 1,037.
Now well known in defensive coordinator rooms, Lindsay had 766 yards through 12 games this year. He had a big 15th game Sunday, though, and now has 958 yards and one more game to become the Broncos’ first running back since Clinton Portis in 2002-03 to begin his career with back-to-back, 1,000-yard seasons.
“It’s definitely been a lot tougher,’’ Lindsay said. “They know about you, and it’s a different scheme that we’re in that you’ve got to adjust and adapt to. For me, I wanted to be able to showcase my toughness and me running in between the tackles and that I can carry a load. Everybody knows once I break I can be gone, but it’s about the dirty yards. That stuff goes unnoticed, but that’s what I want to work on.’’
Jones fights to play, then shines
It was Game Day morning and Dre’Mont Jones didn’t know if he was playing. The rookie missed the previous game at Kansas City because of a high ankle sprain and he woke up Sunday knowing he knew he and fellow defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker would have a pregame workout under the supervision of defensive line coach Bill Kollar to determine whether they could play.
“I was honestly nervous,’’ Jones said. “It felt good walking but with high ankles you never know how you really feel until you start going, running and cutting. But it felt pretty good and they thought I looked good.’’
Jones passed the test and played. Walker did not. Jones would up with the first two-sack of his young career, giving testament to the maxim that a player’s most important ability is availability.
“I think it’s kind of ironic,’’ Jones said. “I worked really hard, I finally got a chance and like you said, made myself available.”
NFL ruling gives Beck rare NFL hat trick
The Broncos’ most creative play call came with a questionable statistical ruling. On fourth-and-1 from the Broncos’ 49 late in the third quarter and trailing 17-13, Fangio decided to go for it.
Offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello devised a unique play in that quarterback Drew Lock handed off to fullback Andrew Beck, who then pitched outside to Lindsay, who gained 6 yards for the first down.
It was initially ruled a 6-yard rush by Lindsay but the eyes in New York had different camera angles that determined Beck had tossed the ball forward.
Beck thus became only the second Broncos players in the past 11 years to have a rushing attempt (one for 3 yards), reception (one for 1 yard) and pass (one for 6 yards) in the same game.
The other player was Courtland Sutton against Minnesota last month. Sutton had two carries for 10 yards, one pass completion for 38 yards and five catches for 113 yards.
Courtland pulled off the hat trick his way, Beck did it his.
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Fangio is giving his team off Wednesday. And not because it’s Wednesday. …
Trey Marshall, in his first-ever NFL start in place of suspended safety Kareem Jackson, led the Broncos with 9 tackles. …
Besides Jones, outside linebackers Malik Reed and Jeremiah Attaochu each had one sack. Von Miller played sick and didn’t seem to have it.
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