Normally, I would start off this article with a brief breakdown of the performances as a unit. I won’t be doing that this time. Instead, I am going to let my grades speak for themselves. Warning, these grades are not pretty.
Peyton Manning, QB
Snaps: 32. Stats: 5-of-20 for 20 yards and 4 interceptions.
What is there to say about Manning’s game? It was absolutely atrocious, and Broncos fans should be thankful it wasn’t worse. Three of the passes he completed were the receivers bailing out a bad throw and he had, by my count, six incompletions that could, and should have been intercepted.
Plus, there was a fumble that Denver recovered, thankfully. He couldn’t read the defense, and they got into his head. That, coupled with being unable to muster any kind of zip or strength on his passes, lead to the game he had.
Ronnie Hillman, RB
Snaps: 34. Stats: 11 rushes for 42 yards and 1 touchdown, 2 catches on 4 targets for 9 yards.
There was little for Hillman to do. The Chiefs had no fear of Manning throwing the ball, so they consistently loaded the box, and made it near impossible for Hillman to get positive yards.
The only time he did pick up solid runs, was after a switch was made at quarterback and there was a solid passing threat. As a receiver, he was the check down, so the gains were kept to a minimum.
Demaryius Thomas, WR
Snaps: 63. Stats: 7 catches on 10 targets for 17 yards.
There were a couple of great catches by Thomas, including one where he took away an interception (drive still ended with an interception) with a single hand grab. He looked really good for the most part as a receiver.
There was one play he gave up early, and didn’t play until the whistle, and it ended in an interception. As a blocker, when he tried he was really good, but that was when he tried. While he did try a lot, it was never for long.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR
Snaps: 23. Stats: zero catches on 4 targets.
Sanders had been dealing with an ankle injury for a while, and he still ended up playing. It was obvious he was hurt. His routes were sloppy and slow, especially in and out of cuts.
He saw the ball thrown his way four times, and the final time he took a nasty hit. Unfortunately for Sanders, the coaches thought it acceptable to play him when his ability to play was obviously impaired. That decision lead to a brutal hit.
Owen Daniels, TE
Snaps: 44. Stats: 1 catch on 5 targets for 14 yards.
Surprise, surprise — it was another bad game from Daniels. He dropped a pass that he should of caught, despite any kind of zip on the pass. He couldn’t get separation, and all around struggled with his routes. It was even worse when he was asked to block. All that said, he did manage to haul in one catch for a sizeable gain.
Virgil Green, TE
Snaps: 20. Stats: 1 catch on 1 target for 8 yards.
As a blocker, Green looked average. He really hasn’t been up to par with the Green from last season, in terms of blocking, but he does still have his moments. As for being a receiver, he continues to show he deserves more opportunities, but just doesn’t seem to get them.
Ryan Harris, LT
Harris was a mess. It is as simple as that. He was consistently controlled and dominated at the line of scrimmage against the run, and beat too often in pass protection. As each game goes by, it is a mystery as to why Harris remains the starter and is even seeing the field. Throughout the mess, there were a handful of good plays that somewhat saves his grade from a zero.
Evan Mathis, LG
I will say this right now — no starting offensive linemen saw a grade above 20. They played that bad, both individually and as a unit. Mathis was on the better end of the group, but far from anything positive. Having someone rotating in and out to his left side doesn’t help him at all.
Having chemistry between your offensive line is essential, and rotating at left tackle kills it between the tackle and guard. That is a big issue with Mathis, as he has to change how he plays, depending on who is in at left tackle, which teams are figuring out and exploiting.
Matt Paradis, C
The awfulness continues with Paradis, but he was the best one out there. It isn’t because his performance was strong, by any means, he was just the least-worst of the bunch. Lack of experience is still hurting him, and at some point it stops being lack of experience and turns into lack of awareness. That point is coming for Paradis. He has started nine games, so there is no excuse for him making the same mistakes consistently.
Louis Vasquez, RG
The right guard was eventually pulled for a period of time. Not sure if because of injury, or because he just wasn’t trying out there on the field. There were only a handful of plays where Vasquez either didn’t give up, or didn’t give 50 percent on. Too many times he gave up well before the whistle, especially in the run game.
Schofield allowed some pressures in one of the hardest matchups he will face all season. Justin Houston is an excellent player and gives All-Pro-caliber right tackles fits. Considering the matchup, Schofield didn’t do that bad. He did a lot better than expected, but still had an awful game.
That wraps up the starters. Now time to jump into the players who subbed into the game.
Brock Osweiler, QB
Snaps: 40. Stats: 14-of-24 for 146 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, 3 rushes for 18 yards.
When Brock entered the game, it was late and the game was practically over, so the Chiefs didn’t go 100 percent on defense. However, he showed a lot of poise and promise in the huddle and leading the offense. He fired up the offense, and they showed some kind of fire under him.
There were a few questionable decisions, which comes from a lack of practice, experience and a game-plan built for him. The best thing he showed was an ability to move in the pocket, escape pressure and even pick up yards with his feet.
C.J. Anderson, RB
Snaps: 27. Stats: 2 rushes for 9 yards, zero catches on 1 target.
Anderson saw a good amount of reps, but just didn’t see the ball. His two runs went for five and four yards, which isn't bad. He did look awful as a blocker, but it would’ve been nice to see him get the ball more. However, the eight-man boxes before the quarterback switch made running hard, so they went away from the run altogether.
Andre Caldwell, WR
Snaps: 46. Stats: 2 catches on 5 targets for 13 yards and 1 touchdown.
Caldwell ended up seeing a lot of action, due to the injuries to Sanders. While Caldwell played well, he didn’t do enough to make the most of his opportunities. His blocking was decent, but as a receiver he was just bleh. His route running was inconsistent and, at times, slow. On his touchdown catch, he ran a great route and used good burst out of his cut to get separation for Osweiler to thread the needle for the touchdown.
Bennie Fowler, WR
Snaps: 31. Stats: 1 catch on 3 targets for 17 yards.
One of the best attributes Fowler has is his toughness. If you couple that with his willingness to do whatever is asked, you get a solid up-and-coming player. Fowler gives it his all as a receiver and as a blocker. What he lacks in technique, he covers up with ferocity and desire.
As each week goes by, I see an improvement from the technical standpoint in Fowler’s game, both as a blocker and as a receiver. As long as this growth improves, he can become a really good player for years to come.
Cody Latimer, WR
Snaps: 26. Stats: 3 catches on 6 targets for 30 yards.
Latimer finally made an impact as a receiver, and it came with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. The big issue with Latimer was lack of chemistry with Manning, but also his attitude. Both saw him hit the field on special teams, or in a limited amount of reps on offense.
He has the chemistry down with Osweiler, and he is also trusted by the young quarterback. He was trending down towards the bust label, but maybe the quarterback switch can help out the receiver as well.
Vernon Davis, TE
Snaps: 35. Stats: 2 catches on 4 targets for 19 yards.
Davis got his first catch as a Bronco, and it came on a solid route that he ran. He looked solid as a receiver, but there were a few times he seemed to give up early, or not go a full 100 percent on the route. As a blocker though, Davis looked bad. Multiple times he just looked like he had no idea what he was supposed to do, so he ran around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Tyler Polumbus, LT
It was the first bad game I saw from Polumbus, but he was still better than Harris, which he has been for a few weeks now. His run blocking, and pass protection were great at times, but like most of the offensive line, he saw himself dismantled by the Chiefs. A switch was made at quarterback, but one needs to be made at left tackle. Polumbus keeps out-playing Harris, and should be the full time starter.
There were two players who saw action, but neither of them saw more than 10 snaps. Juwan Thompson saw nine snaps, but saw the ball thrown his way once. James Ferentz was in there in a goal line situation to get Hillman in for the touchdown.
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