The defense of the Denver Broncos did have some momentary struggles, but they held the Oakland Raiders to negative 12 yards in the first half and only fifteen points total. That should win the team a game, but the offense really hit a wall in the second half. So with that said, let us jump into the player grades.
The Broncos defensive line was good, but not great. They had some issues in the run defense, but were solid for the majority of the game. Only four defensive linemen saw 10 or more snaps, Derek Wolfe (52 snaps), Malik Jackson (48 snaps) and Sylvester Williams (32 snaps) all started on the line, while Antonio Smith (10 snaps) rotated in.
Two others rotated in as well, but didn’t see more than ten snaps. Wolfe looked the best of the bunch. He really shined defending the run, as well as getting after the quarterback. In the case of Jackson, he didn’t get any pressures, but he did something else that had a big impact. He got his hands up and batted three passes down.
There were some issues with Jackson’s run defense, but he was still solid at the end of the day. At nose tackle, Williams had some struggles in defending the run, but was able to generate good push in the middle. The veteran defensive end, Smith, really had a couple of good plays. One of which was breaking through the offensive line and blowing up a run play.
Derek Wolfe: 1 sack, 2 hurries, 2 tackles.
Sylvester Williams: 2 hurries. 1 tackle.
Malik Jackson: 3 batted passes, 2 tackles.
Antonio Smith: 1 stop. 1 tackle.
The linebacker corps for the Broncos was depleted with Danny Trevathan being out with a concussion. DeMarcus Ware (15 snaps) returned, but not to the starting lineup. He rotated in and out of the game. He notched a hurry, but it was taken away due to a penalty. Todd Davis (35 snaps) and Brandon Marshall (56 snaps) started on the interior, and looked good against the run. However, they both exhibited struggles in pass coverage, which Marshall has shown all season.
Von Miller (50 snaps) had a down game. The Raiders were able to shut Miller down as a pass rusher, and as a run defender. I'm not saying he didn’t have a couple of big plays, but for 50 snaps, they were far too few. Shaquil Barrett was the starter opposite Miller once again, and he did his part to pick up some of the slack from others being shut down, especially in the second half. The final player to see ten or more snaps at linebacker was Shane Ray, who really stepped up along with Barrett in both aspects of the game.
Brandon Marshall: 1 hurry, 4 tackles.
Von Miller: 1 sack, 1 hurry, 3 tackles.
Todd Davis: 4 tackles.
Shaquil Barrett: 1 sack, 1 hurry, 1 stop, 4 tackles.
Shane Ray: 3 hurries, 1 stop, 1 tackle.
DeMarcus Ware: N/A.
The Broncos were depleted at safety with T.J. Ward, David Bruton and Omar Bolden all out for the game. Darian Stewart (52 snaps) was the leader of the safety corps, and really played a solid game. Josh Bush (44 snaps) and Shiloh Keo (18 snaps) both saw action, despite only being signed to the team days before, as is the case with Keo. One of the two, Bush, played a really good game. However, Keo was on the other end of the spectrum. The new safety was bad, and blew coverage a couple of times.
As for the cornerbacks, Aqib Talib (57 snaps), Chris Harris, Jr. (56 snaps), and Bradley Roby ( 29 snaps) all played an excellent game. The three of them allowed a total of six catches for 39 yards, but this came on 17 targets. All three of them were great.
Darian Stewart: 1 hurry, 4 tackles.
Josh Bush: 1 tackle.
Shiloh Keo: N/A.
Aqib Talib: 1 tackle.
Chris Harris: 4 tackles.
Bradley Roby: 2 tackles.
That wraps up everyone who saw ten or more snaps. There were five other players who saw action for the Broncos. Darius Kilgo (5 snaps) and Vance Walker (9 snaps) were the only other two along the defensive line who saw action.
Lerentee McCray (1 snap) was even more limited with Ware being back and seeing action. Then Corey Nelson (9 snaps) saw time splitting with Davis for Trevathan, who was out. The final player was Kayvon Webster (1 snap), who stepped in for Chris Harris one snap.
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