Even though the Denver Broncos didn’t run away with the score pn Sunday, there were a good amount of positives to take away from the game. However, there were a lot more negatives. Penalties killed the team, on offense and defense.
Focusing specifically on the offense, they started off the game with a big play to Emmanuel Sanders. As the first half continued, they kept moving the ball effectively. However, that changed in the second half, which was the same story as the game against the Colts.
All players' grades start off at a C. A positive play adds to their grade, while a negative play lowers their grade. Obviously, starting out with the offense, specifically at the quarterback position.
Note: All stats are from ProFootballFocus.com. They do not do half sacks.
Snaps: 52. Stat line: 21/26 for 242 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 pass dropped.
Being near perfect is often the norm for a regular season Peyton Manning. When you take into account that Andre Caldwell dropped a pass, Manning only missed on four throws. If it were not for the second half penalties, Manning would have moved this offense down the field more than he did. His grade: A. Manning was near perfect, which his grade reflects.
Snaps: 38. Stat line: 12 rushes, 60 yards, 5.0 YPC, 3 targets, 3 catches, 29 yards.
Montee Ball is getting a lot of flak for “bad” performances. However, his performances are not as bad as many make it seem. On Ball's 12 rushes, nine of them had the first point of contact at the line of scrimmage or behind it. The farthest he got was 13 yards downfield before contact, and that was on the 3rd and 24 draw play. Hard for a running back to consistently get solid yards when the offensive line is doing so poorly. His grade: B. Ball was great for the Broncos, he always keeps his legs churning. He did allow a sack, but blocking Tamba Hali is not easy for an offensive linemen, let alone a running back. Ball stood no chance.
Snaps: 14. Stat line: 5 rushes, 31 yards, 6.2 YPC.
Anderson has been a great compliment to Ball. He has a good burst when he totes the rock. He, however, has also felt the pain of bad blocking from the offensive line, though it was slightly better than it was for Ball. On three of Anderson's runs, the first point of contact was within one yard of the line of scrimmage. His grade: B. Anderson has more burst than Ball, which has helped him out.
Snaps: 48. Stat line: 7 targets, 5 catches, 62 yards, 1 touchdown.
After having a down week against the Colts, Demaryius rebounded against the Chiefs. One of his best plays, a screen pass, which he broke for what looked to be the distance, was called back for a penalty on right tackle, Chris Clark. Thomas looked like his normal self, instead of the droppy Thomas that showed vs the Colts. His grade: B+. Thomas was excellent for the game. His only mistake came when he was a blocker, where he whiffed on a block that could’ve set up a big play.
Snaps: 51. Stat line: 1 rush, -2 yards, 9 targets, 8 catches, 108 yards.
To start this off, congratulations to Emmanuel Sanders for the first 100-yard receiving game of his professional career. He was excellent from the first snap to the last. You know you’re going to have a great game when your first catch is a 48-yard bomb. His grade: A+. Sanders did have a few mistakes, but the positives from his performance are plenty to keep his grade at its highest.
Snaps: 5. Stat line: 1 target, 1 dropped pass.
Caldwell could have saved himself with the one good return he had, but grades are offense/defense only. Caldwell was really not good on offense, not just dropping the one pass that was thrown at him, but in blocking as well. His grade: D-. With how much Caldwell struggled, it should mean Cody Latimer is active for the upcoming game.
Snaps: 49. Stat line: 5 targets, 4 catches, 39 yards, 1 touchdown.
Julius Thomas continued his dominance, but this time it wasn’t just catching the ball. It was, in fact, Thomas who played a vital role in the opening play. Thomas was running a crossing pattern in the middle of the field, which drew the safety up, opening more space for Sanders' 48-yard bomb. His grade: B. Thomas has the respect of opposing defenses as a receiver, but fails as a blocker. At one point during the game he got yelled at by Manning for running the wrong route.
Snaps: 15. Stat line: None.
Virgil Green started the game as the #2 tight end. He wasn’t used in the passing game, but did really well as a blocker. When the offensive line would falter, Green was often doing an amazing job with his assignment. His grade: B-. For as great as Green is as a blocker, it would be great to see him utilized as a receiver. During the off-season it was often reported that Green had grown a lot in that area, but it has yet been seen.
Snaps: 40. Stat line: 1 target, 1 catch, 4 yards, 1 touchdown.
Tamme is Mr. Reliable for the Broncos. Tamme always steps in, does the right thing, and helps the offense be successful. Though it isn’t always with the offense. He was great on special teams, but that isn’t included in my grades. Tamme is more complete as a tight end than credit is given. He isn’t the best blocker, but he is solid. His grade: B. Whenever Tamme is in the game, it is interesting to see how he is used. He has been used all over the offense, and going forward, that is unlikely to change.
Offensive Line: Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Chris Clark.
Snaps: All saw 52. Stat line: Clady 2 hurries, Ramirez 1 hurry, Vasquez 1 sack.
The offensive line continued their struggles in run blocking. If one of them wasn’t getting beat by their assignment, then there was a penalty. There were multiple penalties and multiples fails in pass protection and run blocking. Since moving to left guard, Franklin has not exactly been the mauler everyone had hoped. Instead, he has been a big reason for the lack of push on the OL, having been beaten on five of Ball's runs, which all went for no gains or worse. Their grades: Clady: B-, Franklin C-, Ramirez B, Vasquez C+, Clark D. Heading to Seattle, the offensive line must solve their issues in the run game. They also must eliminate the stupid penalties they were called for.
There are plenty of issues for the Broncos offense to work on. But, for the most part, they were a solid group. They need to fix their second half struggles, so that they can consistently move the ball; effectively, at least. A lot of that stems from getting the running game going. Another thing that will help is Wes Welker being officially reinstated.
Erick Trickel is an analyst for MileHighHuddle.com and you can find him on Twitter @AlaskanBronco