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Published on 11/16/2008 at Sun Nov 16 14:39.
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Spencer Larsen and Jamie Winborn (Getty Images)
Rookie Spencer Larsen started at both middle linebacker and fullback for the Broncos. (Getty Images)

Rookie Spencer Larsen is the Broncos’ backup fullback, behind fellow rookie Peyton Hillis. Larsen is also the third string middle linebacker. It’s not very often that a player in his position on the depth chart is able to make as big an impact as he did today.

But this rookie, this 6th round pick, was asked to play double-duty Sunday, and he stepped up in a huge way. Larsen started at both positions, fullback and middle linebacker, offense and defense, and led the Denver Broncos (6-4) to a 24-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons (6-4) in Week 11 NFL action.

The road victory breaks this season’s West Coast-to-East Coast curse and keeps the Broncos in sole possession of the AFC West lead.

Larsen’s presence was immediately noticeable on the field. The Broncos defense was flying at the football, keeping Atlanta running backs, who had averaged over 150 rushing yards at home, to under 100 rushing yards. The Broncos’ own rushing attack, meanwhile, found its ground game for the first time in nearly a month, totaling over 120 yards.

Larsen blocked and plowed the way for the best Broncos’ rushing performance in weeks. He flew sideline-to-sideline and gave Denver its best defensive stand in weeks.

Spencer Larsen, why have you been buried in the depth chart all this time?

Combined with a victory in the turnover margin – how long has it been since that happened? – and the Broncos banged-up offense and defense were able to take home a much-needed victory in Atlanta.

The Broncos are now 6-4, atop the AFC West, and will turn their attention to the rival Oakland Raiders who will stumble into town this week. The 2nd place San Diego Chargers must come away with a win in Pittsburgh to keep their season alive.

  • Boisebroncoguy

    YESSSS!!! Once again, let’s hear it for our rookies! The defense stepped it up and played well. We just need to have Winborn catch as well as he can tackle! Great game!!!

  • flbronc

    sad i missed this one. sounds like it was a pretty good game. here’s a question- did larsen play well enough at mlb to keep the spot when webster comes back?

  • Kyle


    Find a fullback. Is Cecil Sapp available? Let Larsen just do the MLB thing.

    It’s a knee jerk reaction, but he was really good out there folks.

  • jchase8410

    This win was huge for Denver…another big win on the road, hopefully this will be the start to a strong finish. I only got to watch the last 5 Minutes of the game, but I read the play by play, and from what I saw and read, the defense played pretty well. How is it that all of Denver’s rookies are such studs? Is it because Kerry is right and Shanahan has turned the team into a trainwreck?

  • Kyle

    Wouldn’t that indicate that Shanahan, without Sundquist, is drafting just fine, thankyouverymuch?

  • Arden

    Let’s also not forget the solid contribution of Wesley Woodward, who I can not believe didn’t get drafted. I think scouts and GMs outsmart themselves sometimes.

  • Arden

    Woodyard, excuse me.

  • Socal Den Fan

    That’s right kerry what do you have to say now!!! I think we just found our MLB he played great. Shanny has made some great picks this last draft maybe he knows what he is doing after all what do you think kerry?

  • flbronc

    kerry will be by shortly to bust in with the torain isnt durable argument and advocate for the firing of shanny on those grounds.

  • T-Money

    This kid was making it rain all day long. Nice win. He gets the game ball hands down although eddie should get the first half game ball

  • mikepenn

    Larsen was awesome… I smell another rookie of the week… this one should go to him.

  • AKscott

    Where you at kerry???
    i called for spencer being a starter a few weeks ago, and you weren’t buying it.. he looked GOOOOOOOOOD today didnt he?

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Do we need another fullback? Hillis and Bell split time at tailback; Hillis and Bell can line up in two back sets. What you don’t know, as a defense: Is Hillis a threat to take the ball? Who’s going to block for who? Hillis can take the ball and run it, he can lead block for Bell or he can go out into the flat and receive.

    Finding another fullback just means Hillis sees the field less. Let Larsen continue to play backup at FB and play him mostly on defense.

    One game isn’t enough to convince me that Larsen is a solid, long term middle linebacker, but if he can prove it again next week then indeed Webster might be in trouble.

  • Matt

    Im gonna keep it going the rookies are absolute STUDS. How bout Kern too? Another rookie who is quietly getting the job done very well. The LB’s look solid. Could not ask for more out of Woodyard and Larsen and Winborn is everywhere. I think Webster and Baily could have some job security issues. Pretty good run game in the 2nd half too. Pope, Bell, Hillis did a pretty decent job in the 3rd & 4th quarters. I know its only one game but there were some positives. I think T. Bell could be a decent back up once he gets in a little better shape. He had some jukes looks like he hasnt lost much. But what will really make me sleep well tonight is the BIG goose egg in the turnover column. We were able create an INT and we took care of the ball. This team can go places if we take care of the ball. This is an important 3 game stretch when you look at our schedule compared to the chargers schedule. Good win today. ATL is a good team and we won with help from the defense and by taking care of the ball and capitalizing on chances.

  • AKscott

    i just want to say (and same for woodyard as well) it isnt always about 40 times and size.. sometimes players just have a nose for the football, as today larsen proved yet again that he should be getting playing time on this football team. Whether its on ST or D he just finds the ball and makes plays

    and no flbronc.. me and kerry have had this talk aready a few weeks ago and his response was basically that shanny isnt a good judge of talent and thats why spencer isnt playing more (after he finally conceded that shanny picking Larsen was a GOOD draft pick), and thus he (shanny) needs to go.. lol.. this guy is like a AM talk radio show host- any way he can spin it to make his point he will

  • DaveMoore

    Guys, the rookies have been outstanding so far this year, they are obviously a very talented group. The thing that impresses me the most though is that all of them, every single one, seem to be properly professional, not me first guys, who go out and flog their guts out every single down they’re out there. If they can maintain the hunger and the desire they’ve shown so far for the rest of the season, and going forward, then we have potentially the best draft we’ve had for at least a decade, every single pick seems to be contributing, and even a couple in Woodyard and Kern who weren’t drafted. The state of teh rookies only promises good things for our franchise going forward, especially as teh rest of the team is young too. If we can find a starting cover safety and a dominating defensive tackle in next years draft we could be set in every position for years to come. :):):)

  • Matt

    I agree with EHM. One game will not make you a starter in the nfl but it is a promising start. He did seem to find the ball and make the play. The national media had turner running for 2 hundy on us. The fact that the LBs and the rest of the defense held him to under 100 shows some well needed improvement. If Larsen can show this same ability in the up coming weeks then we can start making future plans. Great showing today. How is it working with niko? Whats his cotract situation? We are paying him starter money. right? He is an expensive Spec teamer.

  • flbronc

    totally agree with ehm…. hillis and bell (or another rb) in the backfield at the same time is great. whe had his huge game as a fb… he’s going to get looks and touches whenever he is on the field. the coaches know now that he is the real deal.

    i’m on the rookie bandwagon… i’m thrilled with the way they are playing.

  • Bobby

    Chargers Lost…Yeah Buddy

  • broncobobmeridian

    Larsen played great today. It was nice change from watching Nate miss tackles and Larsen’s helmet didn’t fly off once!

  • kerry

    yeah Larsen played good. it only took Shanahan 9 weeks to realize that he should be in the middle. but Larsen only played one good game. so all this “oh we found our MLB” is quite a bit premature. thats like saying Hillis is the next Terrell Davis after watching him play one game at RB.

  • Bucky

    You know its funny, but kerry hasnt shown up on this site in… lets see… wow two weeks, I say, lets make it three!!

  • Bucky

    Wow kerry you showed up and reinged on my parade just as i was posting. and funny how you still come with the hate.

  • AKscott

    so lets get this straight.. Shanny is dumb for waiting 9 weeks to start Larsen – for not seeing that light so to speak- , and at the same time we shouldnt be encouraged by his play b/c its only one game.. gotcha

  • AKscott

    yeah bucky he’s been around here.. win or lose – especially lose he’s here to spread his raider colored view of the Broncos

  • kerry

    that 3rd and 1 run call by Shanahan that Bell got stopped on was an especially nice touch. Bell got stopped so im sure its everyone else’s fault. why in the world would Shanahan call for a 3rd and 1 run play by Bell when Hillis is running well?? thats Shanahan for you. but hey ill give credit where its due. Broncos won, Chargers lost. its a good week. i still say if we dont make the Playoffs then Shanahan needs to go.

  • Bucky

    you hate so much kerry, dude i think about a month on the couch with a professional would help you out a lot, just make sure its not a lions fan cause they wouldn’t want to hear your cryin. Then again neither do we so maybe it would be best to just stop your cryin all together… what da ya think huh?

  • AKscott

    Dear diary,
    Today kerry had a good point. No really, it happened.. is it possible hell has frozen over?? Gotta go check google, ttyl
    XOXO — AK

    Yeah Kerry that was an odd playcall to say the least, but as a bronco fan (using the term loosely) you do realize that Shanny doesnt and hasnt for a while make the offensive playcalls? “.. thats Shanahan for you.” Actually thats Jeremy Bates for you.
    But yes, odd playcall, bell up the middle on 3 &1 and he was never a short yard up the middle back before, so why after 3 months of selling cell phones would he be? Im just glad thats about all you can b*tch about today

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Hey kerry: Jeremy Bates calls the plays. Every time you say “that play Shanahan called” you make yourself sound ignorant.

  • Marv

    yo what players are we getting back from injury next game

  • Kyle

    Champ. Dunno about DJ/Young.

    Getting Selvin Young back in time for December and a playoff run would be a huge boost.

  • merc22

    hey why did that guy bell start @ corner? i never saw him before, and he started over paymah…but i think boss needs to go, cuz woodyard is a tackle machine, and larsen played MLB like i wanted him too(and was awesome to watch) OUR D LOOKED GOOD WHEN DOOM WASNT IN ALL THE TIME, AND I LIKE HAVING HILLIS AS A FB ^_^

  • jcampb72

    P.J. Pope looked good…..shoot all the rbs looked pretty good.

  • AKscott

    jcampb- you stole my thunder..


    yeah he did, hopefully he earned himself a few more looks over the next few weeks

  • AKscott

    also Ryan Harris gets some MAJOR kudos as far as I’m concerned. If you think back to the preseason, word out of camp was he was getting owned on a pretty regular basis, looked bad and so on.. way to step it up! Im very surprised/impressed the way he’s come along in his first year starting

  • Kyle

    Because Clady’s a rookie he’s getting more of the credit from fans. Not that o-linemen get a lot of cred anyway. But Harris has been just as good. Today, he was better.

  • Awesome, Austin

    This was a solid win for all of the rookies and first year starters, but when other teams actually get to look at there tendencies on tape and game plan around those then that will be the real test.

  • Patrick

    Mike Shanahan is a Super Bowl winning coach. He isn’t the problem, personel is the problem. Larsen, Woodyard, Hillis…these are other people’s lemons and he’s making sweet lemonade!

  • Anthony33

    Williams, Bailey and Webster may be better athletes, but Woodyard, Larsen and Winborn have more heart…period. I’ll take that any day!

  • AKscott

    whoa.. lets hold off on saying DJ has no heart. DJ does whatever we ask, played MLB last year which isnt his position. DJ’s a team player in my book and there’s no reason he shouldnt start when healthy

  • robtink242

    next week is going to be a great week for our rookies. larsen at mlb, eddie royal vs. the raiders secondary, clady vs. ?who eva? its goona to be a good one

  • mikebirty

    just a great performance all round. Every area excelled, i bet if we had the fourth quarter of the miami game and played it now we’d win.

    since its praise the rookie time, i’m going to single out kern. The punt unit has gone from being a joke to being a serious weapon. There was one last night that was just a booming kick and landed inside the ten. That makes such a difference.

    One more plus point then one negative point.

    Pope looked good. He renewed my faith in the “put anyone back there” theory. Woodyard, pope and larsen are going to cause some difficult decisions soon.

    Maybe this isn’t negative but i just wish the top of the 07 draft was as good as the 06 and 08 draft. If so we’d be unstoppable.

    And now were on to lol-raiders week.

  • Brad James

    I don’t know much about this “Kerry” clown but I have a comparable co-worker at my job. He doesn’t know jack about football but he suddenly becomes an “expert” everytime the Broncos lose. I guess I won’t have to listen to his crap this week. Anyway, this was an impressive performance. This season sets the precedent that if the Broncos don’t turn the ball over, they’re tough to beat. Let’s keep up the mistake-free football, guys!

  • SivNiz

    No kudos for the Ryan’s, what gives? They shut down Abraham!

  • AKscott

    Siv- see post 35 and 36

    love em.. they played great, the whole O line played really well, yet again

  • james

    lets all take it easy for a minute. Woodyard isnt gonna be starting once DJ gets back. Dj is a damn good LB and was having a pro bowl year until he got hurt. we beat Atlanta and Cleveland. good wins on the road.

  • SivNiz

    an interesting note from SI/CNN, and another reason why Shanny is a good head coach

    The Broncos called the league to make sure Larsen could wear a number that wouldn’t draw attention to him on offense, because a non-running-back number would require him to report to the officials before the play and notify the defense that their pet block of granite was in the game. So they settled on 46. Smart.

  • merc22

    i like like williams-larsen-woodyard…..and have webster on passing downs

  • Socal Den Fan

    Hey kerry what’s new? I think we have have a good MLB in larsen now how many games has webster made that big of an impact? Zero! Next time you want to bash shanny get your info staight!