RB Ronnie Hillman - Free Agent
|5-9, 200||Born: 9-14-1991||College: San Diego State||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2012|
2016 Week 8 vs CHI (4 / 15 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Hillman had no luck running the ball as he was hammered at or behind the offensive line on his few carries. Hillman didn't quite have the speed to beat the defenders to the edge, and while he was targeted in the passing game, several of the attempts were last-ditch passes when Sam Bradford was about to be--or in the process of being--sacked.
2016 Week 9 vs DET (7 / 30 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 32 / 0 rec)
While Hillman has been around a week or two, this is the first time we have had a chance to see him in extended action and he was a huge improvement over Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. While he only carried the ball seven times, he showed good burst through holes and into the second level. That said, he didn't break many tackles, make defenders miss very often and was not very effective on passing downs, save his excellent run and catch for 32 yards. On that play, he crept out to the right side of the play and was wide open for quarterback Sam Bradford to throw the ball. There was nobody in his way, so Hillman ran up the sideline for a big gain before being shoved out of bounds. Hillman played well in general, and is a solid addition to the rotation and has a slightly different skill set than Asiata and McKinnon which can only help the offense. He was only on the field for 16 snaps (least of any of the running backs carrying the ball) but may see some more time down the road.
2016 Week 10 vs WAS (4 / 2 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
We thought Hillman may have shown enough to get a shot at carrying the ball, but the Vikings rarely ran and even when they did Hillman got little opportunity to show what he could do.
2016 Week 11 vs ARI (2 / 9 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman seemed poised to have a shot to carry the load a few weeks ago, but that's not happening. In fact, he's barely on the field and barring an injury, that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon, as he was released on Monday.
2016 Week 15 vs OAK (7 / 34 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman was out-touched by starter Kenneth Farrow 17-7, but Hillman did much more with his opportunites (4.9 YPC versus 2.6 for Farrow). With starter Melvin Gordon unlikely to return this season, and Farrow fumbling twice (losing one of them at a most inopportune moment), it will be interesting to see how San Diego divvies up the rushing duties over the season's final two games.
2016 Week 16 vs CLE (9 / 6 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Rookie Kenneth Farrow fumbled twice last week, and Hillman looked good in limited action. So coming into this game, it was assumed that the Chargers might employ more of a committee approach. That theory went out the window on the team's opening possession, when Farrow got all of the work out of the backfield. That trend continued the entire game, aside from a short period of time when Farrow injured his shoulder and had to leave the game for a bit. Hillman simply showed zero escapability whatsoever. If he tried stretching a play out wide, the defense easily ran him down. If he ran up the middle, he had no strength to move the pile. Hillman was given a carry from the goal line after Antonio Gates had drawn a pass interference in the end zone, but Hillman was stuffed and the play went nowhere.
2016 Week 17 vs KC (7 / 41 / 0 rush, 6 / 3 / 50 / 0 rec)
Hillman has looked very poor in relief of Melvin Gordon in recent weeks, but came out looking like a new player in this game. Taking a swing pass up the left side on the game's first play from scrimmage, San Diego's fifth starting running back this season beat the linebacker to the edge and picked up a nice gain on the play. Soon after that, the player who previously had trouble eluding anyone turned a definite loss in the backfield into a first down run up the middle. He used a terrific spin move to get out of the initial tackle, and then good burst to take it upfield for the nice gain. He had ten offensive touches in the game, second only to Andre Williams' 18, and Hillman led all Chargers in yards from scrimmage with 91. He was the more effective back in the passing game, but was also surpringly effective in the ground game as well (considering how ineffective he has been the last few games).
2015 Week 1 vs BAL (12 / 41 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
As anticipated, Hillman parlayed a strong preseason showing into a job as a regular change of pace in the regular season. Hillman demonstrated strong running both between the tackles and outside of them. Hillman generally looked like the best back on the field, and was in the backfield for Denver's best drive, on which he gained three of Denver's four total rushing first downs of the day.
2015 Week 2 vs KC (9 / 34 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Nine carries for 34 yards is rarely cause for celebration, and his primary competition was nursing an injury, but Ronnie Hillman once again looked like the better back in Denver's rotation. With an overmatched offensive line, the holes Denver opened for its running game were often fleeting, and Hillman's speed better enabled him to reach them before they all-too-quickly closed again. In practice, this meant that he still got tackled at the line of scrimmage as often, but in the rare instances where something was there, he could squeeze out a couple extra yards before getting swarmed under. Anderson will have a long week to get healthy again, but Hillman is at least making a case that he deserves a bigger piece of the rushing pie.
2015 Week 3 vs DET (7 / 13 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
For a brief moment, after injuries to C.J. Anderson and Juwan Thompson in the first two quarters, it looked as if Ronnie Hillman might be the only running back remaining on Denver's active roster against the Lions. Anderson's sideline examination after a punishing hit ruled out a possible concussion, though, and Hillman split duties in the second half. Neither back was able to create any room to run against Detroit, with Hillman earning under two yards per carry. Hillman did score the team's only rushing touchdown on a 1-yard plunge where he managed to get small and plow through a slight crease at the goal line.
2015 Week 4 vs MIN (11 / 103 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
In post-game interviews after posting his third career 100-yard rushing game, Ronnie Hillman said "We had three bad weeks of running the ball and tonight we got it started. This week it was just me and C.J. got tired of everyone trying to tell us that we can't run the ball." Unfortunately for Ronnie, outside of a 72-yard gallop on a stretch play where he beat every defender to the corner and then ran to daylight, that simply wasn't the case, as Denver's backs combined for 73 yards on their other 21 carries, a 3.48 per-carry average that was inflated by several draws against soft fronts in long yardage. Hillman's long gain was more than Denver had rushed for in any of its first three games this season, and it demonstrated perfectly why he's such an important part of Denver's rushing rotation. the rest of his afternoon showed why all of Denver's running backs have struggled, and will continue to struggle, until Denver's offensive line can begin opening holes with any consistency and keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield.
2015 Week 5 vs OAK (7 / 21 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman's role continued to expand against the Raiders, where he was still the second back on the field, but the rotation was nearly one of equals. Unfortunately for Hillman, it hardly seems to matter who is standing behind Peyton Manning at the snap, as the offensive line can't block anyone and neither running back can make anyone miss. Perhaps the lone bright spot, if it could be considered such, was that Denver has begun using Ronnie Hillman in the passing game more like C.J. Anderson; on Denver's first red zone drive, Hillman was split out wide and targeted in the end zone. But, as with all of his other opportunities in a frustrating afternoon, nothing came of it.
2015 Week 6 vs CLE (20 / 111 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 4 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman did not start the game against the Cleveland Browns, but it was apparent that the coaching staff was determined to work him into the rotation early and often. Hillman was on the field by Denver's 3rd offensive snap, and split the first half of action roughly 50/50 with fellow running back C.J. Anderson. Hillman's production was inconsistent as the line was unable to open clean holes, but when something was there, Hillman's speed helped him make the most of it, and his playing time increased in the second half. If there was one flaw in Hillman's game, it's that he continues to provide little in the passing game; one of Peyton Manning's three interceptions came on a pass that hit Hillman in both hands, but which he failed to bring in.
2015 Week 8 vs GB (19 / 60 / 2 rush, 2 / 1 / -5 / 0 rec)
Coming out of the bye, Denver decided to reward Ronnie Hillman for his early-season work with the starting job. For all practical purposes, this meant very little for Hillman's role- he still split carries down the middle with C.J. Anderson, but instead of coming off the bench on the first drive, he started on the field to begin with. Despite the misleadingly low yards per carry average, Hillman used his speed to gain the corner on several runs, including his second touchdown in which he danced through traffic at the line and then outran defenders at the second level to the corner of the end zone. Hillman also showed off a bit of power, slamming into the line to convert a 3rd-and-1 and tunneling under contact to sneak into the end zone on his first touchdown. All-in-all, it was a positive game, marred only by the fact that C.J. Anderson looked dramatically improved from his early-season form and made a strong case for more carries going forward.
2015 Week 9 vs IND (7 / 1 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
For the second straight week after earning the starting job, Ronnie Hillman struggled to play through contact and was outplayed by his backfield-mate, C.J. Anderson. Hillman lost yardage on three of his seven carries and routinely left Denver stranded in 3rd-and-long situations. The speedy back, overly reliant on the home run, found himself instead striking out at every opportunity against a surprisingly active Colts' defensive front.
2015 Week 10 vs KC (11 / 42 / 1 rush, 4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman maintained his grip on the starting job against Kansas City, and even saw a larger role than he'd seen all season. Hillman played the majority of Denver's offensive snaps and dominated the workload with 15 carries and targets compared to just three for backup C.J. Anderson. While he struggled to gain any consistent yardage behind an offensive line that couldn't open any holes, Hillman did have a few nice runs when he could gain a crease. Seven of Hillman's runs, though, gained two yards or fewer, (including a 1-yard touchdown plunge late in the game). Hillman also split out wide and earned a target on 3rd-and-5, but pressure arrived early, the ball was thrown too far inside, and Hillman couldn't adjust in time to make the reception.
2015 Week 11 vs CHI (21 / 102 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Given a favorable matchup, Ronnie Hillman responded with his best game of the season against the Chicago Bears. He was able to consistently pick his way through traffic on carries between the tackles, and used his speed to bounce a couple seemingly no-hope carries outside and reach the corner. Hillman logged his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, but most impressively did it with a long gain of just 15 yards. Hillman also performed well in short yardage, with his biggest blemish being a failed conversion on 4th-and-1 from the 2 yard line; even on this, Hillman deserves a pass, as Brock Osweiler accidentally tripped him while giving the handoff and Hillman was unable to recover before the defense closed in.
2015 Week 12 vs NE (14 / 59 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman earned another start against the New England Patriots and had a very up-and-down evening. Things did not start well, with Hillman totaling -1 yard from scrimmage on his first six touches, (five rushes and one reception). In fact, of his sixteen touches, (counting a run called back to penalty), Hillman gained 2 or fewer yards ten times, while gaining 9 or more yards four times. The good news is that, rather than merely relying on outrunning defenders to the corner, Hillman's long gains came on a variety of inside handoffs and stretch runs. The bad news for Hillman is that, as well as backfield-mate C.J. Anderson is playing, "up and down" may not be enough to retain a grip on the starting job for long.
2015 Week 13 vs SD (19 / 56 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Getting another start for the Denver Broncos, Hillman continued to be a boom and bust option in the running game. Hillman had a handful of nice runs, especially when he had room to gain yards before contact, but too many of his carries resulted in long yardage for Denver. When platoon-mate C.J. Anderson injured his ankle in the first half, Hillman split carries with backup Juwan Thompson in the second half rather than seeing an increased workload of his own.
2015 Week 14 vs OAK (12 / 20 / 0 rush, 9 / 7 / 41 / 0 rec)
With running-mate C.J. Anderson ailing, Ronnie Hillman had a chance to shine with a larger share of Denver's backfield, but he responded with a miserable performance against an active and penetrating Raiders front 7. Hillman was especially woeful as Denver approached the end zone; on three touches in the red zone, Hillman had a loss of one, a loss of six, and a loss of five with a fumble at the end, (which Denver recovered). And while Hillman's seven receptions would seem to be a positive, they were mostly no-hope dumpoffs by a flustered Osweiler; after two positive-value receptions on Denver's first drive, Hillman didn't have a productive target until two minutes were left in the game.
2015 Week 15 vs PIT (14 / 48 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Any worries that the newly-healthy C.J. Anderson would eat into Ronnie Hillman's workload against the Steelers were dispelled early when, after fumbling at the end of a good run on his second carry, Hillman was right back in to start the next series. Hillman played the the heavy majority of Denver's running back snaps and had his share of positive plays-- perhaps the best being a 6-yard tackler-dragging reception on 3rd-and-6 that was called back due to offensive holding-- but by and large he continued his recent trend of sprinkling in far too many negative runs between highlights. A seven-yard run on 1st-and-goal from the 8, for instance, was followed immediately by a 6-yard loss on a slow-developing pitch play on 2nd-and-goal from the 1.
2015 Week 16 vs CIN (9 / 35 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 37 / 0 rec)
Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ronnie Hillman played relatively well, using his speed to run out some medium games but as usual finding little yardage after first contact. With an early 14-point deficit, Hillman saw his fewest carries since week 9, but made up for it with an increased role in the passing game; Hillman received several screen opportunities and recorded just his fourth multi-reception game of the season.
2015 Week 17 vs SD (15 / 117 / 1 rush, 3 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
Against a poor and injured San Diego defense, Ronnie Hillman was at his best, using his speed to hit the big plays he's become known for at a terrific rate. Eight of Hillman's 15 carries gained at least six yards. That total includes a trio of 20-yard runs, such as a 23-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter that provided Denver with the winning margin. On most plays, Hillman was simply able to explode through the hole and gain additional yards before the defense had a chance to react.
2015 Week 20 vs NE (11 / 16 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Hillman got the start but didn't make any headway at all and eventually gave way completely to CJ Anderson, who was much more effective. The offensive line struggled at times to create holes for the backs, but Hillman compounded that by being ineffective when trying to create his own space. Once, Hillman got to the edge and scampered for a nice 7-yard gain, but that was his longest run and he was never able to duplicate it.
2014 Week 3 vs SEA (2 / 2 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman saw his first game action of the season against the Seahawks. Hillman played on three drives in the latter stages of the second half as Denver switched to a pass-heavy hurry-up offense. Unfortunately, as with every Broncos RB, Hillman was immediately swarmed under by a sea of defenders on each of his rush attempts. Hillman also received three targets on the day, but dropped two of them on plays that would have given Denver a couple of yards and set up a more manageable third down.
2014 Week 5 vs ARI (15 / 64 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
After being inactive in each of the first two weeks, Hillman served as the primary backup to Montee Ball for the second consecutive game against Arizona. Hillman didn't play until the final drive of the first half, when Denver was running down the clock before halftime. After Ball's injury, though, Hillman took over as the primary back and delivered perhaps the best game by a Denver running back this season. Hillman was decisive and showed good explosion between the tackles. Initial reports from Denver beat writers suggest that, should Ball miss substantial time, Hillman would be given the first opportunity to move into the "lead back" role.
2014 Week 6 vs NYJ (24 / 100 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 16 / 0 rec)
With Montee Ball out, Ronnie Hillman received his first career start and responded with his first career 100-yard game. Hillman showed flashes of his strong play from a week ago, but all was not as well. Hillman gained much of his yardage in big chunks, leaving long stretches of ineffective running. Hillman received a lot of work from behind the chains, such as a 10-yard run on 3rd-and-24 or an incomplete target on 3rd-and-15. Most troublingly, Hillman's fumble problems popped up again as he lost the football on a 26-yard gain. The ball was recovered by receiver Andre Caldwell and Hillman sat for the remainder of the series, but he returned to begin Denver's next drive.
2014 Week 7 vs SF (14 / 74 / 2 rush, 4 / 4 / 29 / 0 rec)
Last week against the Cardinals, Ronnie Hillman had a performance that wasn't quite as good as the numbers suggested. This week, Hillman had a game that was even better than the numbers said. While he's not a power back and he didn't run through many tackle attempts, Hillman repeatedly used his agility to get defenders off balance, drawing glancing contact and continuing for extra yardage. He repeatedly diagnosed the proper opening at the line of scrimmage and did a good job of setting up defenders at the second level, allowing him to rip off big gains even on carries between the tackles. Hillman has looked like by far the best back on Denver's roster, and is making a strong case to retain the starting job once Montee Ball returns from injury.
2014 Week 8 vs SD (20 / 109 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 29 / 0 rec)
Against the Chargers, Ronnie Hillman little resembled the timid, tentative running back from years past. He topped 100 yards from scrimmage for the third straight game-- the only three such games by a Denver running back so far this season. Hillman had tremendous success running "inside-out" against the Chargers, breaking through the line between the tackles to reach the second level before bouncing the run to the outside. He showed his usual speed, but also a new-found explosiveness, allowing him to run right through tackle attempts. He also showed good vision, cutting creatively and decisively to take advantage of holes and opportunities most backs might have missed.
2014 Week 9 vs NE (10 / 16 / 1 rush, 10 / 7 / 47 / 1 rec)
After several weeks of opening sizable holes, Denver's offensive line reverted to its early-season form and gave Hillman little to work with against the Patriots. For his part, after several weeks of exploding through tackle attempts, Hillman spent most of his afternoon going down to first contact. The gameplay clearly featured the third-year back, as nearly half of Denver's plays on their first six drives were either handoffs or targets for Hillman. While Hillman did cash in on two touchdowns, for the most part he left Denver in worse situations than they started in on a long and otherwise forgettable afternoon. Perhaps most egregiously, Hillman repeatedly struggled in pass protection, and was on the sidelines for Denver's final three drives as the Broncos switched exclusively to the pass.
2014 Week 10 vs OAK (6 / 13 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
With Montee Ball still sidelined with a groin injury, Ronnie Hillman earned his fourth consecutive start against the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, Hillman had his worst game of the year as he was in and out of the lineup with a nagging ankle injury. The brightest part of his afternoon came when he was wide open in the flat on a goal-line play, but Peyton Manning missed him on what would have been an easy touchdown. Hillman ran gingerly and was not very effective in his limited action. Denver eventually shut him down for the day, saying after the game that the move was merely a precaution.
2014 Week 17 vs OAK (15 / 56 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman returned to action for the first time since week 10 for the Broncos, who seemed determined to let him shake off the rust and get back into game shape before the playoffs. Hillman rotated in liberally with C.J. Anderson, splitting snaps, carries, and targets almost 50/50. Unfortunately for Hillman, while Anderson consistently ran through contact and gained extra yardage, Hillman typically went down immediately. Whether he was hampered by his long layoff, Hillman had a forgettable performance in his first game back from his foot injury.
2013 Week 1 vs BAL (4 / 15 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 27 / 0 rec)
Despite being first on the depth chart, Ronnie Hillman played the fewest snaps of any of Denver's three RBs, seeing the field for just 15 plays and receiving just 4 carries. Despite his limited touches, Hillman's explosiveness was on full display, as he made several plays Denver's other backs simply aren't quick enough to make. Outside of showing off his speed, Hillman had a quiet and forgettable evening.
2013 Week 2 vs NYG (1 / 3 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman was completely invisible against New York. Whether by design or as a byproduct of Moreno's strong day, Ronnie Hillman played only two snaps, logging one forgettable carry, and spent the remainder of the afternoon on Denver's bench.
2013 Week 3 vs OAK (9 / 66 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)
A week after playing just two offensive snaps, it was Ronnie Hillman's turn to have his best game as a pro. The young speedster managed to get 66 yards on just 9 carries. Most impressively, the bulk of his damage came between the tackles rather than simply relying on his raw speed to break a few plays to the outside. Hillman ran through traffic and kept his legs churning all night long. Hillman capped off Denver's final scoring drive by getting 13 yards on 1st-and-10 from the 33, then 19 yards on 1st-and-10 from the 20. It initially looked like Hillman managed to reach the end zone, but the officials ruled him down at the 1 yard line and Denver elected not to challenge. Instead, they kept Hillman on the field, lined up defensive tackle Mitch Unrein as a lead blocker, and let Hillman finish with a 1-yard TD plunge. In all, it was a very impressive performance by the forgotten man in Denver's RB rotation.
2013 Week 4 vs PHI (11 / 36 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 21 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman continued his season-long pattern of alternating strong games with pedestrian outings. Hillman only had two negative plays on the day, but he was unable to use his trademark speed and explosion to punish one of the worst-tackling defenses in the NFL. Hillman did manage to tie Moreno for the team lead in snaps played with 31, but most of those snaps came after Moreno had taken himself off the field for a breather or after Denver had begun pulling its starters for the game.
2013 Week 5 vs DAL (7 / 17 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 42 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman continues to be used whenever Denver wants to change the pace or give Knowshon Moreno a breather. Hillman didn't make much of an impact on the ground, but he made several big plays in the passing game. Denver continues to show their trust in Hillman as they gave him several more red zone carries, as Hillman twice took Denver down into a goal-to-go situation and remained on the field, although both drives ended with Peyton Manning touchdown passes. As the game remained tight, though, Denver clearly trusted Moreno more, as Hillman received just two touches in the fourth quarter to Moreno's ten.
2013 Week 6 vs JAX (4 / 20 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
For the first time all year, Ronnie Hillman was the third Bronco RB to see the field, not receiving a single touch until the third quarter. Hillman's first touch was a strong run that ended in a fumble, and Hillman was lucky that Eric Decker was nearby and able to muscle it away from the waiting defenders. As has been typical for John Fox this season, he let his runner play through the fumble, as Hillman was back in on the next drive and produced another pair of good runs. After that, Hillman only had two more touches for the rest of the game.
2013 Week 7 vs IND (4 / 25 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman did not get much playing time against a tough opponent, but he had a huge impact in what little he got- both in a good and bad way. Hillman's first three carries all came on first and 10 plays in the third quarter, where he notched gains of 4, 13, and 8 yards. Hillman did not touch the ball again until late in the 4th quarter, when Peyton had completed a rapid-fire series of passes to set Denver up with first and goal at the Indianapolis 2 yard line. Denver opted to give Hillman the red zone work instead of Moreno, but immediately regretted it as Hillman fumbled the ball away, ending Denver's last serious chance at a comeback.
2013 Week 16 vs HOU (3 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman was active against Houston, but did not see the field until Denver pulled its starters on the final drive, giving Hillman three carries to help run out the clock against the overmatched Texans.
2013 Week 17 vs OAK (12 / 30 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman was active over C.J. Spiller against the Raiders, and with the game out of hand in the second half, he had an opportunity to see his first extended action since week 7 against the Colts. Hillman received 28 snaps for the day, all coming in the second half, as he rotated with Montee Ball in the 3rd quarter and then had the 4th quarter all to himself. Like the rest of Denver's offense in the second half, Hillman struggled to get into a rhythm, as several poor gains contributed to stalled drives and his lone target fell incomplete.
2012 Week 3 vs HOU (2 / 7 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Hillman was not a factor in the game Sunday, but it is important to note he was active and Knowshon Moreno was not. The Moreno resurgence was short-lived, as it appears (barring injury) Hillman is back ahead of Knowshon and I would expect this time to be for good. As Hillman progresses, look for the Broncos to find more ways for him to get involved in the game plan. Not a threat to McGahee yet, but the gap is closing ever so slightly.
2012 Week 4 vs OAK (10 / 31 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 32 / 0 rec)
Active for a 2nd consecutive week (in place of the soon-to-be-cut Moreno perhaps?), the blowout allowed Hillman to get even more involved in the game. 2nd on the team with 10 carries, Hillman didn't break any huge runs. However, Hillman did show a capacity to attack the hole and pick up the tough two and three yards. His best run came on a cutback, where after pressing a closed hole, Hillman cut right and was able to use his speed run away from the end and LB to pick up 12 yards. Hillman's biggest play came on a relative harmless dump-off, and was finally able to flash his potential as a game breaker. Taking the short pass, Hillman (who had his back to the tackler) made one quick move, turning to his left and left the potential tackler in his dust. Without losing a step or any speed, Hillman made one small cut on the sideline and left another tackler with a now poor angle before he was finally taken down after picking up 29 yards. Hillman also notably picked up a blitzer, allowing Manning to complete a pass downfield to Stokley (well before the game was out of hand).
2012 Week 5 vs NE (3 / 9 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)
Hillman played sparingly against New England, but when he was on the field, he saw the ball. His burst was apparent on back-to-back carries, totaling nine yards, late in the first quarter. Hillman also used a nice stiff arm on a swing pass late in the game. He showed a common trait for rookie running backs by bouncing a carry out wide on a third down to no avail. Instead of cutting up the field, Hillman was corralled immediately outside the design of the play. While dynasty owners wait for Hillman to gain a larger role in the offense, Willis McGahee's strong play and Hillman's selective use means that the emergence of Hillman may be late in 2012 or 2013 for legitimate fantasy relevance.
2012 Week 6 vs SD (2 / 3 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman first entered the game to give Willis McGahee a breather after his long reception, but Hillman wasn't involved in the gameplan very much the rest of the way with just two touches. He did get more work on third downs, which shows that head coach John Fox's trust of the rookie is growing every week.
2012 Week 8 vs NO (14 / 86 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -4 / 0 rec)
The rarely used rookie showed flashes in this game of his talent, but also a reminder of his inexperience. Hillman's most explosive run on the day came in the third quarter when he broke outside and used his speed to gain 31 yards. However, at the very end of the play the ball was punched out of his grasp from behind. Hillman was lucky that the ball went out of bounds immediately, but that somewhat but a black mark on what was a very good overall outting for the back. Importantly, Hillman was put back into the game after fumbling and rebounded with another big run in the fourth quarter. There is very little indication that Hillman won't be more involved with the offense as the season continues to grow.
2012 Week 9 vs CIN (1 / 4 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Hillman received minimal playing time but was efficient with the touches he did get against Cincinnati. He gained what was blocked on an early interior run and showed his make-you-miss agility on his reception in the flat, getting to the first down marker on a third-and-five conversion. Outside of a Willis McGahee injury or a blowout game script, it is tough to see Hillman gaining traction for fantasy owners in the short-term.
2012 Week 10 vs CAR (5 / 5 / 1 rush, 2 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman only carried the football a handful of times, but he managed to scoot into the end zone on his final touch. Hillman got the football on a stretch play in the red zone and broke a tackle on his way to reach pay dirt and put the final nail in Carolina's coffin.
2012 Week 11 vs SD (12 / 43 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
Hillman got something of a featured role in the game, thanks to starter Willis McGahee leaving with a knee injury. Hillman provided a different sort of runner, mostly looking to spring his carries to the outside whereas McGahee was more of a straight-ahead power style in the game. Hillman showed good burst on two runs in particular, picking up 21 on one carry and 19 on another. While the big runs are nice, the Denver offense needs a runner who is going to pick up consistent yardage when needed. Obviously those two carries count in the box score, but aside from those two big gains, Hillman gained just three total yards on his other ten carries. That shows how inconsistent his performance was. At the end of the 19-yard gain, he looked to be dragging his leg a bit and was looked at on the sideline for a possible injury. He would return to the game. It should be noted that running behind the same offensive line and against the same defense, McGahee averaged nearly eight yards per carry and unheralded third stringer Lance Ball averaged nearly six, while Hillman averaged just 3.6 per rush.
2012 Week 12 vs KC (3 / 9 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman didn't even get a touch until midway through the third quarter, and it was a shifty ten yard run initially designed to go up the middle that he bounced outside. He definitely showed a different gear than Moreno, but on his other two carries wasn't able to get past the line. Hillman is clearly second in line behind Moreno, and it wasn't even close.
2012 Week 13 vs TB (5 / 29 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman only received five carries, but did a nice job picking up 29 yards on his limited touches. Like Moreno, Hillman did his best work on the edge, including his long of nine yards. Hillman took the carry and immediately cut back. Backside contain was there, but Hillman was able to use his speed to avoid the tackle and get the edge and pick up nine yards. Hillman has yet to earn the trust of Manning in pass protection, which severely limited his snaps on Sunday.
2012 Week 14 vs OAK (4 / 24 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman was spelling Moreno during the quarter, before he turned a cutback run into an excellent 12 yard gain. Hillman looked comfortable running then ball and wasn't forcing anything on the few carries he received in the first half.
2012 Week 15 vs BAL (14 / 29 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ronnie Hillman operated as a change of pace back on this day, and though the stats don't show it, operated with promising patience that you'd want from a rookie. 12 of 14 of Hillman's runs came in the garbage time in the 4th quarter, so the Ravens simply sold out against the run. It's worth noting that his final 5 runs went for a combined -5 yards, otherwise his day would have looked a lot nicer. Hillman also showed nice acceleration on a pitch in the first quarter, and could be in line for more meaningful carries in the future if Knowshon Moreno shows signs of slipping.
2012 Week 16 vs CLE (6 / 35 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
In the blowout win, Hillman had six carries and surpassed 20 yards rushing for the fourth straight game. He dropped his only target in the pass game when he was split out wide, running a slant route. His burst is evident, especially when compared to fellow backfield mate, Knowshon Moreno. Hillman gets to the second level in a hurry and has the speed to get the edge on perimeter runs that Peyton Manning calls to exploit a defensive alignment. Hillman even showed some power, running over a defender at the end of a 12-yard run inside. That play was called back by a holding penalty, but displayed Hillman outside of the typical slashing style. With Hillman rarely, if ever, asked to pass protect in high pressure situations, his development in that area of the offense will be critical this offseason for an expanded role on offense.
2012 Week 17 vs KC (3 / 13 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Hillman began the game as the Broncos' change-of-pace option behind Knowshon Moreno. The rookie fumbled in the first quarter - setting up the Chiefs' only score of the game - and was not seen again, ceding carries to Lance Ball and Jacob Hester.
2012 Week 19 vs BAL (22 / 83 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)
Knowshon Moreno left the game with a knee injury, which opened the door for Hillman to see a majority of the work in the second half and overtime. His previous high for carries in a game was 14 entering this week, but he saw 25 touches, including 22 carries against Baltimore. With Moreno not able to power his way through the Ravens defense early, Hillman's burst was sorely needed. His acceleration was a noticeable element missing from the running back position as he cutback for yardage with regularity. Despite the limited chances through two and a half quarters, he had more success than Moreno even through that stage of the game. In crunch time, Hillman was trusted with the ball in his hands. With three minutes to go in regulation and nursing a seven-point lead, Hillman gained 14 yards on back-to-back carries to drain the clock. In overtime, Hillman still looked fresh with three noteworthy plays gaining additional yardage past the first defender. While Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno could very well still to in the mix in 2013, Hillman's strong playoff performance is a very good sign for his long-term upside.