Grading The Denver Broncos Offensive Performances In Week 14

The Denver Broncos offense started off the game pretty well, but ended up faltering. There were a lot of issues with the offense, some of which have been an issue all season. Just how well did they do individually? MHH Analyst Erick Trickel examines.

In the first half of the game, the Denver Broncos offense was moving the ball effectively, until they hit the redzone when they started to falter. They just could not punch it in, and there are multiple reasons as to why.

A few dropped passes, two of which were sure-fire touchdowns had they been caught, a rushed pass thrown too high, questionable play-calling, and a complete lack of a running game. The offense fell apart in the second half.

That lack of a run game hurt them more in the second half, as the Oakland Raiders just prepared to defend the pass and took that away. They put pressure on the quarterback, largely due to Khalil Mack, on a good amount of his drop backs.

A huge area of weakness for this game, as it has been all season, was the offensive line, but I will get into that more later on. There also were a problem with drops.

Now, drops happen for one reason or another. Sometimes a team can overcome them and at others times they can’t. The key here is when the drops occur. Having them happen on a key third down, or in the endzone on back-to-back plays is just very hard to overcome. A key fumble and muffed punt didn’t help the offense, either.

With that said, it is time to get into the player grades. Due to some time constraints, the grades will look a little different this week, but will be back to normal soon.

Quarterbacks

The only quarterback to take the field for the Broncos was Brock Osweiler (80 snaps). Despite what many are thinking, Osweiler played a solid game. He made a few mistakes, including a rushed throw that was high, missing out on a touchdown. There also was a near interception, but that falls upon the tight end, who gave no effort in making the catch.

Had the TE attempted to make the catch, the near-interception wouldn’t have been as close as it was. There also was a lot to like with what Osweiler did, including multiple elite NFL quarterback throws. In no way was Brock good in this game, but he wasn’t bad, either.

Brock Osweiler: 35-of-51 for 308 yards, 3 rushes for 10 yards.

Grade: 68.9

Running backs

There were two players who ran the ball for the Broncos, although there were three of them active for the game. C.J. Anderson saw no action, due to dealing with an ankle injury. The two backs who did see action were Ronnie Hillman (55 snaps) and Juwan Thompson (26 snaps).

With Hillman, there were a few runs he looked really good, but he got shut down pretty early, and couldn’t recover. One issue I kept seeing with Hillman were all field-of-vision issues. He would run into defenders, instead of hitting the open field.

There also is little power to his game, so first contact is often enough to bring him to a stop. If Hillman can get to the open field, which he did a couple of times, he can pick up some solid yardage.

In the case of Thompson, he runs with power, and can pick up chunks of yards by plowing his way. Rarely does first contact bring him down, unless they have him around the ankles. From what he has shown, he can be utilized as one heck of a short yardage back.

With his running ability, he also bring solid hands as a receiver, and solid blocking. He is a very good back, who has a complete skill-set, which was shown a few times against the Raiders.

Ronnie Hillman: 12 rushes for 20 yards, 7 catches, 9 targets, 41 yards.

Grade: 41.8

Juwan Thompson: 5 rushes for 8 yards, 4 catches, 6 targets 21 yards.

Grade: 63.8

Wide Receivers

There were multiple receivers who saw the field for the Broncos, and there were many differences among their performances. The top receiver, Demaryius Thomas (68 snaps) dropped three passes, including two that would have been touchdowns on back-to-back plays. There were also routes he gave questionable effort on and just seemed to be lazy.

As for Emmanuel Sanders (66 snaps), he was just missing for the game. Had the ball thrown his way six times, only making two catches. His route running was slow, especially in and out of cuts. He did beat his man on a deep ball, but just wasn’t able to get to the overthrown pass.

A trio of other receivers also saw action. Jordan Norwood (31 snaps) actually played a decent game, though nothing special. He looked best as a receiver, and looked really good with his route running. However, at his size he is a liability as a blocker, which was on display in this loss, as it has been all season.

Bennie Fowler (15 snaps) and Cody Latimer (13 snaps) round out the receiver corps. Combined, they had a total of one catch on one target. They looked off for most of their snaps as a receiver, and out of sync with everyone else. The route running from Latimer was sloppy, while Fowler’s was decent. They did look good as blockers, though they did that on a limited basis.

Demaryius Thomas: 10 catches, 14 targets, 95 yards, 3 drops.

Grade: 31.8

Emmanuel Sanders: 2 catches, 6 targets, 17 yards, 1 drop.

Grade: 38.6

Jordan Norwood: 1 catch, 1 target ,5 yards.

Grade: 56.7

Bennie Fowler: 1 catch, 1 target, 12 yards.

Grade: 68.4

Cody Latimer: 1 rush for negative 4 yards.

Grade: 47.9

Tight Ends

Each of the Broncos three tight ends saw action. Vernon Davis (60 snaps) led the way, although he seemed unsure which way he was supposed to run. On three separate occasions, Davis ended up losing yards, due to him running backwards.

By my count, there was a total of 11 yards lost because of this. On top of direction issues, he had a key drop late in the game that would’ve been a big gain on fourth down. Davis simply was looking to what he could do after the catch before reeling it it.

He also was kept in to block on occasion, and it wasn’t pretty. The word that comes to mind is manhandled. It just wasn’t a good game for Davis.

Owen Daniels (52 snaps) was tight end No. 2, and played an okay game. There was one pass that ended up nearly picked off, due to Daniels giving absolutely no effort into attempting to make the catch. Had he put effort into it, he may have come down with it, but at the very least it wouldn’t have been as close to being intercepted as it was.

The third and final tight end is Virgil Green (12 snaps), who has shown previously that he is deserving of more playing time than this. He saw only one ball thrown his way, which was an overthrown pass in the back of the endzone. There were a couple of other routes Green ran, where he got solid separation, just didn’t see the ball thrown his way. As for his blocking, he looked solid, but nothing special.

Vernon Davis: 7 catches, 9 targets, 74 yards, 1 drop.

Grade: 31.0

Owen Daniels: 1 stop, 3 catches, 4 targets, 43 yards.

Grade: 45.2

Virgil Green: 1 target.

Grade: 62.8

Offensive Tackles

There isn’t much to say here. The two tackles for the Broncos allowed 25 total pressures, including five sacks. Khalil Mack just had a field day going against Ryan Harris and Michael Schofield (80 snaps for both). Their run blocking did nothing to help out their grades, as it was beyond poor as well.

Ryan Harris: 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 8 hurries allowed.

Michael Schofield: 4 sacks, 10 hurries, 1 stop allowed.

Grade (both): 0.0

Interior Offensive Line

There were four players who played along the interior offensive line. Matt Paradis (80 snaps) played every snap at center. He had a rough game, but not a bad one overall. He allowed a few hurries and struggled at times containing the interior pressure from the Raiders. As for the run game, he was inconsistent, but mostly was on the negative side of things.

As for at guard, Evan Mathis (28 snaps) and Louis Vasquez (62 snaps) started the game. Neither of them played a great game by any means, but were far from bad.

Max Garcia (70 snaps) saw time at both guard positions and really struggled in pass protection. His run blocking was better than his pass protection, but that wasn’t anything to write home about, either.

Matt Paradis: 3 hurries allowed.

Grade: 52.8

Evan Mathis: 1 QB hit, 1 hurry, 1 stop allowed.

Grade: 62.6

Louis Vasquez: 1 hurry allowed.

Grade: 66.4

Max Garcia: 6 hurries allowed.

Grade: 41.7

Two other players, both offensive linemen, saw action on offense. Tyler Polumbus and James Ferentz both saw one snap on the game. 

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Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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