After being on the losing end of a beatdown in week 9, maybe drawing the Oakland Raiders next on the schedule was just what the doctor ordered for the Denver Broncos. It wasn't always pretty, as the Broncos offense struggled to get into rhythm early, but when the clock ran out, they walked away with a 41-17 divisional victory.
Some players struggled, while some performed well. Let's take a look at this week's stock report. All grades come via ProFootballFocus. (Subscription Required)
RB C.J. Anderson (+1.6)
After beginning the season second on the running back depth chart, Anderson had found himself last in line for on-field duty lately. Many assumed that when the starter, Montee Ball, went down with a groin injury, Anderson would be the next man up.
But Ronnie Hillman got the nod and played well enough to hold onto the job in the interim. In fact, the rookie, Juwan Thompson, received more playing time over the last month than Anderson. That all changed today.
Anderson was plugged in early in the first half, following a minor foot injury to Hillman. And what followed was an eye-opening performance that will likely force the coaching staff into an even tougher decision next week when Ball returns.
On the day, Anderson carried the ball 13 times for 90 yards. He also made waves as a receiver out of the backfield, as he tallied 4 receptions for 73 yards, including a 51-yard strike that saw him break several tackles on his way to the endzone. Anderson's stock is definitely up.
QB Peyton Manning (-1.1)
How could a player who was responsible for 5 touchdowns end up in the "Down" column? Because for the second-consecutive week, he tossed 2 interceptions, which resulted in 10 points today. Manning was out of sync early and didn't find his groove til the second half.
Manning has seemed a little off of late. And with how terrible the Raiders secondary has been, it was quite disappointing that he turned it over twice and even allowed them to get out to a very temporary lead. It's doubtful that Manning will see his name in this column again this year, but he has to clean up some of the rougher aspects of his most recent performances.
Ward played an almost perfect game, and would have, had he not allowed a garbage time touchdown to tight end, Mychal Rivera. After notching his first interception of the season today, and following two consecutive weeks that saw him on the losing end of some one-on-one matchups in coverage, Ward's back in the "Up" column, where he belongs.
He's had some bad luck this year. On several of the touchdowns he's allowed, he's had perfect coverage, but by either a great throw, or catch, he's fallen short by a sliver. Ward's versatility and intensity makes this defense significantly better. His impact on the field cannot only be measured by coverage snafus in the endzone.
LG Orlando Franklin (-3.4)
Big O has struggled lately. Really, he's been up and down all season. When the Broncos decided to let last season's left guard, Zane Beadles, walk in free agency, it left a hole on the left interior of the offensive line.
The Broncos brain-trust decided to move Franklin from right tackle, inside to left guard. Franklin played guard a lot at the University of Miami, but in the NFL, he had only played right tackle. It's been a bit of a transition for him, moving inside.
Today, he was penalized more than once, which didn't help the offense's rhythm. With the recent shuffling on the offensive line, the Broncos really need Franklin to hold down the fort and play consistently. Today, he was anything but.
CB Bradley Roby (+0.9)
Like Ward, Roby did give up a touchdown in coverage today, but he also nabbed a key interception. He almost had another, as he fought for a ball in the air with Denarius Moore, but even though Roby ended up with it, the officials ruled that the tie of possession goes to the offense.
Roby has an interception in two straight games and although he displays momentary lapses on the field, by and large, he has been a major boon to this secondary. Today, he added 4 tackles, 1 for a loss, and 2 passes defensed. This kid has a bright future.
RB Ronnie Hillman (-2.1)
As mentioned above, Hillman did tweak his foot in the first half, but it was reported as minor, so his feet will be held to the fire here. On the day, he only averaged 2.2 yards per carry and was overall ineffectual in the running game.
With Montee Ball champing at the bit and soon to return, Hillman really needed a strong showing today to remind the coaches that he has been a true differnce maker in Ball's absence.
Today won't exactly nullify his performances over the last several weeks, but it does provide Ball a little extra daylight in trying to win back his job as the starter. C.J. Anderson will have something to say about that too.