The Denver Broncos offense was a mess when taking on the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. They struggled to consistently move the ball, especially after the first few drives. They did manage to put points on the board, but only through field goals and they could not get into the endzone. Four field goals by Brandon McManus, and they came from 57, 56, 43 and 33 yards out.
That isn’t the only area where the offense struggle. Third down was another, as they converted on the money down just 44 percent of the time. The real kicker for how bad this offense was are the 3.2 yards gained per play and 2.8 yards per rush. It's a good thing the defense showed up, otherwise the outcome would have been different.
Now it is time to jump into the player grades. As always, I will start with the starting quarterback and go through the rest of the starters. Once done with the starters, all the players who subbed in will come into the spotlight.
Snaps: 77. Stats: 24-of-40 for 175 yards and 1 interception.
The quarterback for the Broncos had a really bad game. He threw only one interception, which went for a pick-6, but nearly threw three others. On top of that, he had multiple overthrows, two of which would have been touchdowns. He did make a couple of nice throws, but they were early and very few. The brutal truth is that for more than 75 percent of his passes, he looked like he had little ability to throw anymore.
Snaps: 57. Stats: 12 rushes for 29 yards, 7 targets, with 4 catches 19 yards.
The running game for the Broncos was nonexistent. Part of the problem was that the Ravens defense knows the scheme that Gary Kubiak uses in his run game. They probably know it better than the Broncos offense does at this point, and it showed. Anderson had a hard time picking up even a yard on multiple runs. The Ravens defensive line controlled the Broncos offensive line and made it impossible to create holes for Anderson.
Snaps: 72. Stats: 10 targets, with 8 catches for 65 yards.
Emmanuel Sanders came up big on a couple of third downs, and if not for him, the 44 percent conversion rate would have been even lower. He looked excellent a good amount of the time, especially early on. However, he did show signs of rust from getting no preseason snaps and seemed to tire out close to the end of the first half. That was expected with his first game action, and playing all but five snaps didn’t help keep him fresh, either.
Snaps: 67. Stats: 10 targets, with 7 catches for 60 yards.
Moments of brilliance and moments of facepalming sums up Thomas’ game. His lack of physical play showed time and time again against the Ravens. While physicality has never been a big part of his game, he has to learn that it is necessary at times. He looked like a one trick pony, and that he's great at that trick, but only every now and then.
Snaps: 51. Stats: 5 targets, with 2 catches 25 yards.
The Broncos started out in a 3-WR set, and Norwood was the No. 3 receiver. He played a solid game, and was really crisp with his routes. During the preseason, I started to doubt whether he deserved to make the roster or not. While he didn’t dominate the stat sheet, he did a lot in the game. He showed he has the potential to bring a new dynamic to the passing game that Denver hasn’t really had in quite some time.
Snaps: 67. Stats: 2 targets, with 2 catches 5 yards.
The impact Daniels had on the game was next to none. That isn’t a bad thing, but it isn't necessarily a good thing. One of his catches came behind the line of scrimmage, as Manning flicked it to him to avoid a sack. However, Daniels lost yards because of that. He also didn’t show up as a blocker, and seemed to fail more often than not.
Snaps: 77. Stats: 1 sack & 2 hurries allowed.
In his first regular season action, Sambrailo looked atrocious. While he didn’t look great in either aspect, he looked better as a pass blocker than a run blocker. He was consistently controlled in the run game, and was a big reason that the offense gained only a total of 17 yards off the left side. As a pass blocker, he did have some great blocks, but was mostly dominated by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.
Snaps: 74. Stats: 1 hurry allowed.
The new addition on the offensive line has no chemistry with anyone in the unit, and it showed. He had a lot of issues when having to work as a unit, and often was the weak link. As a pass blocker, his technique looked nonexistent and was a complete mess. The technical issue is the big concern with Mathis, as that is something he normally excels at. The rest will come with time and experience working with the rest of the offensive linemen.
Snaps: 77. Stats: N/A
As a pass blocker, Paradis was the best offensive linemen out there on the field. Lack of experience did lead to a sack through Paradis’ lane. He was quick to jump over to the double team, and as soon as he did, the delayed blitzer came bursting through the lane. As a run blocker, however, Paradis was controlled, just like all the other offensive linemen.
Snaps: 77. Stats: 1 hurry allowed.
The only returning offensive linemen had a rough game. Despite his experience, he was making a lot of rookie mistakes. He actually made the same mistake Paradis made, but did it three times. He was so quick to jump to a double team, that he left his lane open. Those three times were just in the passing game. In the running game, he was doing it consistently and allowing defenders to get behind the line of scrimmage.
Snaps: 77. Stats: 2 hurries allowed.
The struggles on the offensive line didn’t get any better with Harris. He wasn’t the best, by far, nor was he the worst. He was constantly struggling in pass protection and getting pushed back. He was the best run blocker, though it was more because of how bad the rest were, compared to him doing a good job.
That wraps up the starters. Time to get into the backups.
Snaps: 17. Stats: 12 rushes for 41 yards, 1 hurry allowed.
A few of Hillman’s runs went for nothing, but he really managed to turn it around and came up huge for the Broncos. When the Broncos really needed to get the running game going in the fourth quarter, Hillman provided a spark. He picked up some tough yards, and he really managed to bust off a couple of long runs.
Snaps: 14. Stats: 1 target, with 1 catch 1 yard
Caldwell was the fourth receiver to hit the field, though in a limited amount of reps. He was targeted on a bubble screen, which was read from the start. That was the only thing worth noting as a receiver, but as a blocker he looked really good and strong at the point of attack. It is a shame the rest of the offense struggled as run blockers and really couldn’t see Caldwell shine.
Snaps: 4. Stats: N/A
The hard truth is, Latimer is the fifth receiver. He saw only four snaps on offense, and was only decent. His routes could use improvement, and a lot of the work he needs will only come with experience, as he gets a natural feel for the game.
Snaps: 30. Stats: 1 hurry allowed.
Green is known for his blocking, and he had a rough showing. He was completely controlled as a blocker, both in the passing game and running game. Even if he got off to a good start as a blocker on a play, he would make a mistake and lose it.
Snaps: 6. Stats: N/A.
Casey was used as a blocker on four of his six snaps. He had no impact on the play one way or the other.
Snaps: 3. Stats: N/A.
Garcia stepped in for three snaps at left guard. He looked solid, but the limited snap count made it hard to really get a read on how well he did.
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