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Phillip Lindsay shines in first start for Broncos

The Buffalo continued to be one of the NFL’s biggest surprises.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into Sunday, the Denver Broncos had a potentially season-changing game against the dominant Kansas City Chiefs. With rookie running back Royce Freeman out with an ankle injury, Phillip Lindsay got the start and did everything he could to help the Broncos, though it wasn’t enough for the win.

Against the mediocre Kansas City defense, Lindsay saw 18 carries and 3 receptions, which he turned into 112 yards and a touchdown. His first score was the Broncos’ first of the day. The rest of the game, Phil was bursting through gaps and creating big plays. He had five touches that went for more than ten yards, and he would have had more if not for penalties bringing back some plays. In a game with Kareem Hunt hurdling defenders, Lindsay was easily the best back on the field.

Lindsay hadn’t started until Sunday, but he had emerged as arguably Denver’s best back. His efficient game gives him 531 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 136 receiving yards and a score. He comes in at sixth in the NFL in rushing yards, behind Todd Gurley (800), Ezekiel Elliott (619), James Conner (599), Kareem Hunt (592) and Adrian Peterson (587). All five players have at least 127 carries, but Lindsay has only 93. That superb 5.7 yards per carry would place him third all-time in NFL history, tied with Browns legend Marion Motley -- small sample sizes be damned.

Pro Football Focus rates him as the 9th best back in the league. He’s firmly the second best rookie running back after Saquon Barkley. With his success and staying power, he’s certainly making teams regret their inexplicable decision to go undrafted.