The Denver Broncos returned home, after traveling to Kansas City to beat the Chiefs. They followed that trip up with a win yesterday against the Buffalo Bills 24-17. As a whole, the game was incredibly sloppy, with many penalties and a good amount of bad plays. The Broncos have definitely performed better, especially offensively.
The last two weeks for the Broncos have shown that they are a different team than they were four weeks ago. Instead of being pass-oriented, they are more run-oriented. They're approaching dominance on the ground.
That is great news for Broncos fans, as it shows that the Broncos can win without stellar performances from their quarterback. But at the same time, fans should know that the Broncos can rely on the passing game if needed, due to how great it was earlier this season.
Now, it is time to hand out the player grades for the offense. As always each player starts off with a C. A positive impact raises their grade, while a negative play hurts it.
Snaps: 57. Stats: 14-of-20 for 173 yards and 2 interceptions.
Manning has been in a slump recently. His throws have been off-target, even on some completions, but they were caught, due to receivers adjusting to the pass. His decision making has been questionable, as well, with him throwing into coverage, instead of the open receiver. His grade: F.
Snaps: 45. Stats: 21 rushes for 58 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Anderson did not put up the great yardage that he has previously produced. However, he still played a really good game. He was able to sneak into the endzone multiple times, scoring all of the Broncos touchdowns. A few times, he took himself out of the game (ankle), but returned every time. His grade: B.
Snaps: 4 rushes for 63 yards. Targeted once, with 1 catch for 14 yards.
Thompson played a really good game. He busted off the left tackle for a 47-yard gain; the longest for the Broncos since the 2011 season. He made some tough plays to help the offense as a unit. The only area he struggled in was as a run blocker. His grade: B+.
Snaps: 1. Stats: 1 rush for 1 yard.
For the one snap Stewart saw, he did not do badly. It was on the goal-line and he was supposed to run it up the middle. However, the middle collapsed, so he bounced outside. If a teammate would have maintained his block, Stewart would have had a touchdown, either by following his blocker, or by bouncing it even more outside. Since his blocker did not hold up at the point of attack, Stewart was bottled up. His grade: C.
Snaps: 51. Stats: Targeted 5 times, with 2 catches for 11 yards.
In the week leading up to the game, Thomas hurt his ankle in practice, after it was stepped on. He showed that it was still bothering him during the game. His route running was not at his normal level. After the couple of catches he did make, it became even more obvious that his ankle was bothering him. His grade: D-.
Snaps: 53. Stats: 1 rush for 13 yards. Targeted 6 times, with 4 catches for 56 yards.
Sanders played a really good game. On his one rush, he followed the block correctly and picked up the yardage. As a receiver, he was quick off the snap and required consistent double coverage from the Bills secondary. He made some tough catches and took some hard hits for having the grit to secure them. He also took a beating on some incompletions. His grade: B+.
WR Wes Welker
Snaps: 40. Stats: Targeted 6 times, with 6 catches for 82 yards.
Welker was the best receiver out there for the Broncos. He does not have the yards after catch ability he once had, but that does not make him ineffective. He made multiple tough catches for the Broncos, including a couple for a much needed big play. He has been the forgotten man by fans and defenses alike, and the Bills secondary paid for it. His grade: A.
Snaps: 8. Stats: None.
All of Caldwell’s snaps were as a run blocker. He did well each time, but most of the runs were ran to the opposite side of the field. His grade: C+.
TE Virgil Green
Snaps: 48. Stats: None.
Green maintained his role as the blocking tight end. His blocking, however, was not at the high standard it usually is. It was inconsistent. He was often unable to maintain his block in the run game. He did play 8 snaps as a receiver, and each time, he looked good in his route running and was fast off the line. He was able to get separation, he just wasn't targeted. His grade: C+.
TE Jacob Tamme
Snaps: 9. Stats: Targeted once, with 1 catch for 10 yards. Fumbled once.
While Julius Thomas has been hurt, Tamme has stepped in as the primary receiving tight end. He started off the season as Mr. Reliable. At the time, he was able to come through and do what was needed. He has since fallen to being unworthy of a roster spot. His blocking is non-existent and as a receiver, he makes mistake after mistake. It should be noted that he's been dealing with a rib injury. His grade: F.
LT Ryan Clady
Snaps: 57. Stats: None.
Clady was back to being an All-Pro pass blocking left tackle on Sunday. His run blocking left much to be desired, however. He was maneuvered out of positon, or put on the ground, run after run. He did have some good run blocks, but they were few and far between. His grade: D+.
Snaps: 56. Stats: None.
Franklin played well. He was the best Broncos offensive linemen, but not great. He executed his blocks with ease and the amount of bad blocks he had can be counted on one hand. His worst came when he was put back at right tackle for a play and he was just beaten off the snap. His grade: C+.
Snaps: 57. Stats: None.
Montgomery played well in pass protection, like all the offensive linemen, but his struggles came in the run game. He was consistently getting moved around by the strong Bills defensive line. His lack of success is the reason the Broncos only managed 17 yards on 11 carries off the center. His grade: D-.
Snaps: 57. Stats: None.
Ramirez reverted back to his sub-par play. He struggled in the passing game and running game. He was outmatched, from the first snap to the last, against the Bills defensive line, similar in the way Montgomery was. The Broncos only rushed off Ramirez once for a gain of 3 yards. His grade: F.
Snaps: 56. Stats: None.
Vasquez did not have his best game. He did well in pass protection, but was not dominant. However, his run blocking was poor. He struggled to get any kind of push and was beaten a few times. He did lead on an excellent block for a 14-yard gain, but had help from the sixth offensive linemen. His grade: D-.
Snaps: 16. Stats: None.
Cornick played a mediocre game. He made some questionable choices with how he chose to block, but also had some great blocks that sprung the ball carrier for a solid gain. He needs to keep his head up on his blocks, instead of lowering it and going in head first. His grade: D-.
Snaps: 2. Stats: None.
When Franklin left the game for a snap, Garland stepped in and did a good job in the pass protection. Then when Vasquez left for a snap, Franklin was moved to right tackle and Garland stepped in at left guard again, this time for a run play. He executed his block, though it meant little to the outcome of the play. His grade: C.
The Broncos offense had issues executing. They were able to get the plays needed to move the ball, but had help with some Bills penalties a couple of times. The run game did well, but there were issues, primarily in the blocking. It should be kept in mind that they also happened to be playing one of the better run defenses in the NFL.
As for the passing game, the protection was excellent. Manning just looked out of sync with the receivers a few times. Also, there were swirling winds that affected some of the bad throws he made. There is no cause for worry with this offense. They have shown that they can run with authority and pass the ball when they need to. They just need to cut down the sloppy penalties.
Next up, the Broncos will head to San Diego to take on the Chargers in a division game that if Denver wins, will clinch the AFC West division title, yet again.