ENGLEWOOD – Phillip Lindsay’s season and possibly his career in Denver is over after the Broncos placed him on injured reserve Saturday with hip and knee injuries.
The Broncos (5-9) promoted running back LeVante Bellamy from their practice squad to serve as Melvin Gordon’s backup Sunday against the Chargers (5-9) in Los Angeles.
The Broncos also ruled out Pro Bowl pass rusher Bradley Chubb (ankle) on Saturday. A day earlier, the Chargers ruled out star defensive end Joey Bosa (concussion, shin).
The only undrafted player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons to start a career, Lindsay ran for just 502 yards and one touchdown and caught just seven passes for 28 yards in an injury-marred 2020 season.
Lindsay’s production paled in comparison to his first two seasons, when he averaged 1,243 total yards and 8½ TDs and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Lindsay, a local favorite who starred at Denver South High School and the University of Colorado, has never fumbled in 611 career touches in the NFL.
But he found himself mostly the second running option in Pat Shurmur’s offense as Gordon has accounted for 955 total yards and nine touchdowns after signing a two-year, $16 million free agent deal in the spring.
Lindsay missed five games this season with turf toe, hip and knee injuries and came out of another game with a concussion.
Lindsay suffered his turf toe injury in the opener and missed three weeks. Upon his return, he had a terrific three-game stretch beginning with his only 100-yard performance of the season at New England when Gordon was sidelined with strep throat.
Lindsay ran for 79 yards on just nine carries against the Kansas City Chiefs the next week before leaving with a concussion. He returned a week later and rushed six times for 83 yards against the Chargers, sparking a comeback from a 21-point second-half deficit with a 55-yard touchdown run.
After that, his effectiveness began to ebb as defenses keyed on the run whenever Lindsay was in the backfield because he was so rarely used in the passing game.
After running eight times for 23 yards at Atlanta and just twice for 4 yards at Las Vegas, Lindsday bounced back for 82 yards on 16 carries in a win over Miami on Nov. 22.
At that point, Lindsay was averaging a whopping 5.4 yards per carry.
But over his final four games, that average dropped to 2.4 yards as Lindsay, who’s a restricted free agent after this season, managed just 27 yards a game as he fought through more injuries.