If you’ve missed the last couple of Denver Broncos games – or if you don’t play fantasy football – you might not know a whole lot about C.J. Anderson.
Well, class is now in session.
Anderson rushed 27 times for 167 yards in a 39-36 win over Miami on Nov. 23, and he rushed 32 times for 168 yards in a 29-16 win over Kansas City on Sunday. That’s 59 carries for 335 yards – 5.7 yards per carry – and two touchdowns (one rush, one receiving).
“Things have been (going) well,” Anderson said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I just feel like I haven’t gotten too big or taken anything overboard. I’ve just stayed in my lane and just continued to keep preparing the way I was preparing when I wasn’t playing or when I was barely getting any carries. I’m just trying to keep everything on the same routine, and it’s just been working out for me.”
But how? Anderson, 23, had just 39 carries on the season entering the Miami game.
“You just keep grinding every day,” he said. “Nothing came easy for me. I was undrafted, so I just looked at it as an opportunity. I was blessed just to be in the locker room every day, and I just knew when the opportunity came, I was ready and I was going to make the best of it. I just try to keep grinding every day. That’s all it’s about.”
It also helps having veterans like Peyton Manning, Wes Welker and DeMarcus Ware to lean on and learn from.
“They’ve been doing it 10 years plus – just being consistent every year, every game,” Anderson said. “I’m just tying to stay on the same routine. Nothing really changes, and I won’t change. I just try to keep having great weeks.”
Anderson has been effective because he has, in the words of John Fox, “leverage.” Leverage? Might that be a euphemism for short? Maybe, but Anderson – who is 5-8, 224 – doesn’t care.
“I’m okay with Coach Fox saying anything,” he said. “I just try to run nasty, get my pads down low and finish runs forward. I just try to be the best I can be. That’s how I look at it.”
Anderson, who grew up in California and played at Cal, scored his first career touchdown in a 41-17 win at Oakland on Nov. 19. Anderson caught a pass from Manning and took it 51 yards to the house.
“That was just a special moment in front of everybody, in front of all my family and friends,” Anderson said. “It was just great playing. It helped us. It got us going. When you get to score in front of all your family and friends and coaches who coached you when you were younger – for you to go out there and make it happen, that’s just amazing.”
Do you want to know what else is amazing? The play of Manning, who, at 38, is having another MVP-caliber season.
“I think everybody knows just how hard he prepares,” Anderson said. “I think everybody knows how smart he is. But I don’t think people know how much of a competitor he is. When he watches other games, he puts himself in those scenarios because they could come up in our games (and) he doesn’t (want to) make the same mistake. That’s one thing about 18 that makes him so special.”
Denver hosts Buffalo (7-5) Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Bills rank seventh in the league in rush defense (96.3 rushing yards allowed per game) and are fifth against the pass (216.1).