The Denver Broncos offense played a very balanced game against the New England Patriots, and they did it very well. They had some mistakes in both the running game and passing game, but they were able to overcome them.
They heated up late in the game, started moving the ball even more effectively, and picked up the scores needed to win. For those of you who want to give this game to Denver because of the refs, let me tell you that there were multiple missed and bad calls that went in favor of both teams.
Some of the players played outstanding on an individual level, and there were some who were not so great. So, let us jump into the player grades and find out who stepped up and who fell short.
Brock Osweiler, QB
Snaps: 79. Stats: 23 -of-42 for 260 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 2 rushes for 4 yards.
True Accuracy: 21 of 31 with 7 drops.
(True accuracy is the measurement of proper ball placement).
For his second start, it was probably the toughest matchup you can think of for Brock Osweiler. The Patriots thrive on making young, inexperienced quarterbacks pay, but not only did Osweiler stand tall under the pressure, he thrived. He lead multiple scoring drives when many had the game as over. I mean, how could a young QB lead his team to a comeback against the legendary Tom Brady and his Patriots?
That’s exactly what Osweiler did. His poise and leadership were vital to Denver's comeback. Now, I am not saying he didn’t make mistakes — he did. He took a sack, which he could have avoided, and made some badly positioned passes. His interception isn’t on Osweiler, it is on the offensive linemen who got pushed back to where the defender could hit his arm as he threw. All in all, while not a great game by Brock, it was a very good game.
Ronnie Hillman, RB
Snaps: 27. Stats: 14 rushes for 59 yards and 1 touchdown, 1 catch on 1 target for zero yards.
There were a few runs of Hillman’s that left me wondering about his vision. He had some open running room to pick up, at worst, a handful of extra yards, instead he wasn’t making the cut, or making the wrong cut into defenders. The worst of Hillman’s game came as a pass blocker. To start the season, he looked really strong, but of late he has regressed a lot. He isn’t hitting the right lanes, and when he does, he just get’s blown up at contact.
Demaryius Thomas, WR
Snaps: 68. Stats: 1 catch on 13 targets for 36 yards.
There really isn’t much to be said about Thomas and the game he played. It was easily the worst game by a wide receiver I have ever seen. He had four drops, two others that were high but still catchable, a couple miscommunications, and a couple where he ran a lazy route, or gave up mid-route. His blocking was, somehow, worse than anything he did as a receiver.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR
Snaps: 63. Stats: 6 catches on 9 targets for 113 yards.
After missing the game against the Chicago Bears, Sanders was back, healthy and on fire. He was such a force for Denver’s passing game, and came up big when they really needed it. His speed, burst and quickness when running routes was back and on display. The Patriots had a hard time stopping him, which is one of the big reasons they lost that game. On top of being excellent as a receiver, Sanders was great as a blocker, and used aggression and physicality to make up for his lack of size.
Owen Daniels, TE
Snaps: 55. Stats: 5 catches on 6 targets for 48 yards.
It was another game for Daniels where, even though he isn’t the fastest guy out on the field, his aggressiveness after catch saw him pick up extra yards. As a receiver in general, Daniels looked really good, before and after the catch, even though he did drop one pass. As a blocker he left something to be desired. He had some great moments as a blocker, but they were few in number.
Vernon Davis, TE
Snaps: 61. Stats: 2 catches on 2 targets for 10 yards.
It was the second game in a row where Davis got the start with Denver starting with two tight ends on the field. It took some time, but Davis has got an understanding of the offense before the last game, which has lead to him being utilized a lot in the offensive game-plan.
As a receiver, his impact has been huge, but as a blocker, while it has been felt, it hasn’t been how fans expected it. Sunday night against the Patriots, Davis made a couple of big blocks to spring the running backs, but he also whiffed on a few that lead to little to no gains.
Ryan Harris, LT
Snaps: 79. Stats: 2 hurries allowed.
It wasn’t a bad game from Harris, despite playing against one of his toughest matchups all season. He only allowed two pressures, no sacks, and was beaten for a stop only once in the run game. There were a few other plays where he got little to no push in the run game, or got pushed back in pass protection, but only the two pressures and one stop. It wasn’t a great performance, but it was a very solid performance that Harris can hopefully build on.
Max Garcia, LG
Snaps: 79. Stats: N/A.
Starting at left guard, Garcia played a great game. He didn’t play the full game at left guard, but eventually got kicked over the right guard, and he continued to play great. I have him allowing no pressures and no stops. He looked great in both aspects, and his run blocking was exceptional. He continuously paved the way for some big running lanes.
Matt Paradis, C
Snaps: 79. Stats: 1 QB hit and 4 hurries allowed.
It was a very rough game from Paradis, who was playing a very tough matchup. Five total hurries and a pair of stops allowed for Paradis on the game. However, most of those came in the first half, and he seemed to settle down after halftime. The first half was a lot of bad for Paradis, filled with few good plays from him. In the second half, after he settled down, it was filled with good plays and little on the negative side of things.
Louis Vasquez, RG
Snaps: 24. Stats: N/A.
Before Vasquez got hurt, he was doing well as a pass protector, but had some clear moments of struggle. As for his run blocking, he opened up some solid holes, but also got shed too quickly a few times, as well.
Snaps: 79. Stats: 2 QB hits and 1 hurry allowed.
Even though Vasquez got the start at right guard, he ended up leaving the game due to injury. He did not return. Garcia stepped in at right guard and improved the play tremendously from how Schofield was doing.
That wraps up the players who subbed into the game. Now time to jump into the players who subbed into the game at one point or another.
C.J. Anderson, RB
Snaps: 44. Stats: 15 rushes for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns, 4 catches on 4 targets for 40 yards.
It was a huge game for Anderson. He was running with authority and aggression, which lead to him basically running at will. To start the season, Anderson was hurt, but it is clear he is fully healthy once again. On top of being excellent as a runner, he was great as a receiver and as a pass protector. All in all, it was an excellent game from Anderson, who deservedly got the game ball and AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cody Latimer, WR
Snaps: 14. Stats: 1 catch on 1 target for 8 yards.
For the second game in a row, Latimer had a really strong game. The chemistry with the quarterback has really been on display. The best attribute that Latimer brings is his blocking, which was exceptional, and key for a couple of big runs, including two of the touchdown runs Denver had.
Andre Caldwell, WR
Snaps: 22. Stats: 2 catches on 4 targets for 8 yards and 1 touchdown.
As with Latimer, Caldwell has been able to show that he has chemistry with the young quarterback. He made only two catches, but showed a lot each time he ran a route. His blocking was solid, but nothing special. The only area he really fails to show every time he touches the ball is after the catch.
Bennie Fowler, WR
Snaps: 24. Stats: 1 catch on 2 targets for 8 yards.
It has been clear that Fowler is growing into something special. His physical play before and after the catch, as well as in run blocking, is something you don’t see in every player. It is even rarer to see it from players every time they take the field. Fowler is fighting to be given more of a shot within the offense, and how he has played makes it hard to argue that he shouldn’t.
Virgil Green, TE
Snaps: 15. Stats: N/A.
It was mainly a blocking game for Green, which he did very well. Despite showing he can do otherwise, the coaching staff just doesn’t seem to trust him outside of blocking.
Evan Mathis, LG
Snaps: 55. Stats: 1 sack and 2 QB hits allowed.
Even though Mathis did not start the game, he ended up seeing a lot of reps after Vasquez got hurt. Mathis stepped in at left guard, and Max Garcia moved over to right. As for Mathis’ game, it was a mixed bag of good and bad. He allowed a few pressures, including a sack and had some other poorly-executed pass blocks. When going to the ground, Mathis showed why he is one of the best run blocking guards in the NFL, although it was inconsistent at times throughout the game.
Only one other player saw action during the game and that was Juwan Thompson who saw two snaps. One of his snaps he got a carry and picked up three yards.
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