ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Justin Forsett and Gary Kubiak are back together and both are counting on their reunion in Denver leading to a revival.READ MORE: Indiana Man Sentenced For Homicide, Robbery After Targeting LGBTQ Community In Metro Detroit
The Broncos claimed the 31-year-old running back off waivers from Detroit to replace Kapri Bibbs, who went on IR with a high left ankle sprain he suffered in the Broncos’ 20-10 win at Jacksonville.
“We’re dropping like flies, so it’ll be great to have him and I can’t wait to meet him,” said rookie running back Devontae Booker, who had his worst game of the season Sunday, gaining just 35 yards on 18 carries.
The Broncos were down to Booker and Juwan Thompson in their backfield after the first-half injury to Bibbs, who became the third Denver running back to go on IR. He joined starter C.J. Anderson (knee) and rookie fullback Andy Janovich, who had season-ending ankle surgery a week ago.
“We hate to lose Kapri,” Kubiak said on his Sirius XM show Monday afternoon. “(Forsett) was out there. He played really well in Baltimore with us and knows what he’s doing.”
Over his career, Forsett has averaged 5.5 yards a carry in Kubiak’s offenses and 4.4 yards elsewhere.
With Kubiak as his offensive coordinator, Forsett set career highs with 235 carries for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. He averaged a career-best 5.9 yards a carry for Kubiak in Houston in 2012.
Forsett averaged 3.1 yards per carry in five games this season, three with the Ravens and two with the Lions.
That’s better than Booker’s 2.8-yard average since Anderson got hurt on Oct. 24.
His longest run Sunday was a 6-yard TD in which left tackle Russell Okung pulled him across the goal line.
Bibbs had 49 yards on just five carries against the Jaguars but a defender rolled up on him in the second quarter, ending his day, and ultimately, his season.
“I thought it was going to be a good game for me,” said Bibbs, who also figured he’d be back this month to help the Broncos (8-4) in their playoff push against a foursome of teams with a combined record of 35-13.
Bibbs said an MRI on Monday revealed no broken bones or instability and he vowed to get round-the-clock treatment if necessary so that he could get back as soon as possible.READ MORE: Abortion Debate Heats Up: Is The Procedure Protected Under Michigan's Constitution?
Then, the Broncos decided to put him on IR rather than waive one of their eight receivers or two long snappers, one of whom is hurt.
A third-year pro who spent most of the last two seasons on Denver’s practice squad, Bibbs’ 4.4-yard average on 29 carries this season was better than both Anderson (4.0) and Booker (3.5). Bibbs also had two catches for 75 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown against Oakland a month ago.
With no ground game to ease the pressure and facing one of the league’s best pass defenses, rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch had a rough day Sunday, completing just half of his 24 passes for 104 yards with no TDs and no interceptions.
“He was in way too much distress back there. We didn’t protect him the way we should have,” Bibbs said. “I feel sorry for him. But we’re going to fix that.”
Kubiak expressed faith in Lynch’s development while also projecting hope that Trevor Siemian returns from a sprained left foot this weekend at Tennessee (6-6).
He noted that Siemian wasn’t in the walking boot all weekend and was walking around without a limp.
With Bibbs, the Broncos’ sweeps and misdirection runs worked well, but that ended when he went out. In the second half, Denver managed just 28 yards on 14 carries.
Bibbs said that “some guys (are) hearing different calls or going the wrong way and when it comes to offense, everyone has to be on point at all times and everyone has to be on the same page. And if one person is out of whack, it throws the whole play off.”
Bibbs made his comments before being placed on IR. But he did say, “I’m willing to do whatever for this team, so if me trying to play hurt is going to hurt this team, then I don’t want to do that.”
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