The Denver Broncos were a collective mess in their 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The positives to come out of this game are few in number and greatly outweighed by the bad.
The offense, in particular, was a mess. Players did not execute at the basic level and the coaches did not adapt. The Broncos put up a total of 13 points at home in the playoffs, only six of which came in the last 55 minutes of the game.
Not much positive can be said about the game. There were some good plays, but they mean little when you lose, especially in the playoffs. The offense was out of rhythm and couldn’t find a way to get in sync. They also lacked fire, passion, or even a desire to play the game, let alone win it. A lot of that comes from the coaches, but players can fire each other up too. It was a pitiful performance from the Broncos offense.
With what little can be said, it is time to get on to the player grades. As always, each player starts with a C. A positive impact on a play raises their grade, while a negative play hurts it.
Snaps: 72. Stats: 26-of-46 for 211 yards and 1 touchdown. Had 3 passes dropped.
Manning played a really bad game. It was not because he lacked the ability, but because of his decision making. Time after time, Manning went deep or into double coverage. The big issue with that is the fact he had an open receiver that would have moved the ball, instead choosing to chuck it down-field. Manning just played a bad game. It happens. Unfortunately, it may have been his last game. His grade: D-.
Snaps: 53. Stats: 1 quarterback hurry allowed. 18 rushes for 80 yards, forcing 5 missed tackles. Targeted 6 times, catching 6 passes for 29 yards.
Anderson was one of the few Broncos who played a great game. However, he was unable to carry the Broncos to victory. He had little help up front in the running game, which led to multiple runs for little, to no gains. He showed how hard he wanted to win with a run on 4th-and-one where he broke multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage, to pick up the first down. His grade: B+.
Snaps: 19. Stats: 2 rushes for 8 yards.
Hillman only touched the ball twice; a run for 10 yards and a run for negative two yards. After that, he was largely ineffective when he saw time on the field. There were a few plays he saw as a receiver where he was wide open and would have picked up a solid gain, but was not looked at by Manning. His grade: C.
Snaps: 70. Stats: Targeted 11 times, catching 5 passes for 59 yards and 1 touchdown. Dropped 2 passes.
Thomas put in a bad game. He started out strong, catching a back corner fade in the endzone for the Broncos only touchdown. After that, he fell apart. His routes were not clean or crisp and his hands were not up to par. He had multiple dropped passes and few others that were close to drops. On top of all that, he eventually looked like he gave up, on himself and on the team. His grade: F.
Snaps: 70. Stats: Targeted 15 times, catching 7 passes for 46 yards.
Sanders was in an out of this game, in terms of being a factor. Part of the problem was Manning consistently targeting Sanders deep, or in double coverage. Sanders did make some good catches while in double coverage, just not many. Outside of that, Sanders just was a complete non-factor. Sanders was not the Sanders he was for the regular season. Few on the team were for that matter. His grade: D+.
Snaps: 58. Stats: Targeted 2 times, catching 1 pass for 20 yards.
Welker may not have looked like he played a good game, but he did. On multiple deep passes, Welker was open, but never got looked at. Heck, both times Welker was targeted were on deep passes. One he caught, and the other he ended up moving the ball anyway by drawing a flag on the defense. His grade: C+.
Snaps: 1. Stats: Targeted 1 time with no catches.
Caldwell saw one snap on offense. He ran a deep route, failed to get separation, and got targeted anyway. The pass ended up falling incomplete and Caldwell was done on offense for the game. His grade: C.
Snaps: 31. Stats: Targeted 2 times, catching 1 pass for 4 yards. Dropped 1 pass.
Green was not the factor myself, or anyone, thought he would be. He was non-existent as a blocker and got beat repeatedly. He just could not maintain his blocks when in pass protection, or get any kind of push in the running game. He did get a couple looks in the passing game, but unfortunately dropped one of the passes. His grade: D.
Snaps: 39. Stats: Targeted 7 times, catching 6 passes for 53 yards.
Thomas made a statement early in the game catching a 32-yard pass. He got separation and made the easy catch. After that, he was not so good. He caught more easy passes, but failed to show any kind of toughness after the catch. As a blocker, he was the usual Julius Thomas. His grade: C-.
Snaps: 7. Stats: None.
All seven of Tamme’s snaps came as a receiver. He was never able to get any kind of separation from the cover assignment to even get looked at. His grade: D+.
Snaps: 72. Stats: 1 quarterback sack allowed, 1 quarterback hit allowed, and 1 quarterback hurry allowed.
Clady played a horrible game. He was a liability in pass protection and struggled to protect Manning’s blindside. His run blocking was horrendous. He was consistently moved around and beaten to the point that it looked like he wasn’t even there. His grade: F.
Snaps: 72. Stats: None
Franklin was the best offensive linemen to take the field, but it is not because of how well he played. Instead of saying he was the best offensive lineman, perhaps saying he was not the worst better gets the point across. He struggled in pass protection, despite not giving up any pressures. His run blocking was inconsistent, as well. His grade: C-.
Snaps: 72. Stats: 1 quarterback hurry allowed.
Montgomery struggled in his run blocking. He was consistently pushed around and beaten, both off the snap and by strength. Colts defenders were consistently getting by him to get into the backfield and disrupt running plays. His grade: D+.
Snaps: 72. Stats: 1 quarterback hit allowed and 1 quarterback hurry allowed.
Ramirez struggled in both aspects of blocking. His pass protection was poor, at best. He got help often from a double team to bail him out. His run blocking is the major concern. He looked lost at times and was beaten often. No matter his blocking responsibility, he pretty much failed. His grade: F.
Snaps: 72. 1 quarterback sack allowed and 1 quarterback hurry allowed.
Vasquez started out struggling and just went downhill from there. He struggled to maintain the corner in pass protection and only looked good when Colts rushers went inside on him. His run blocking was a liability. The Broncos struggled to get anything when Vasquez was the lead blocker, even if he had help. His grade: F.
Snaps: 12. Stats: None.
Clark, like all the other offensive linemen, struggled in his blocking. He looked outmatched and lost in his pass protections. His run blocking was the worst aspect of his game. He was outrunning defenders and letting defenders run by him, when he could have engaged. His grade: D-.
The Broncos played poorly all-around. The only player who did anything worth noting was C.J. Anderson. They went out there with a bad game-plan, and the coaches failed to adjust and the players just failed to execute. It was a "win or go home" scenario and the Broncos offense failed to score more than 13 points. It was a complete failure for a team who averaged 30.1 points per game in the regular season.