Grading The Denver Broncos Offensive Performances In Week 17

The Broncos offense actually played great, but had multiple turnovers, which taints their performance. There were switches made, and the offense stopped turning the ball over on their way to a victory. The offense as a whole got the job done, but how did they do individually? Where was the weak link? MHH Analyst Erick Trickel examines.

Brock Osweiler, QB

Snaps: 37. Stats: 1 strip-sack. 14-of-22 for 232 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, with 3 dropped passes.

True Accuracy: 14-of-17 for 232 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, with 3 dropped passes.

Before I begin, let me shed some light on Osweiler’s two interceptions. The first one came on a perfectly placed pass to the receiver who saw it slip through his hands right into the defender's, and the second came on a play where the right tackle was beaten and the ball was tipped as it was thrown. This is something that happened to another quarterback in Denver a couple times this season. Despite it going down as Osweiler's fault on the stat sheet, true blame lies on others.

Now, down to the game he played. To put it bluntly, Osweiler was excellent. He was manipulating defenders with his eyes, moving in the pocket and going through reads quickly. He faced a lot of pressure, having seen 14 pressures from a single offensive linemen on 22 of his passes. He responded with accurate throws. He threw the ball away when the play wasn’t there multiple times, which is a sign of his growth. The big negative on Brock’s game came on a strip-sack, which was on the perfectly designed and hidden blitz that makes me wonder if even Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady would have seen it.

Grade: 91.8

Ronnie Hillman, RB

Snaps: 36. Stats: 15 rushes for 117 yards and 1 touchdown. 2 catches on 3 targets for 10 yards and 1 drop.

The running back had a really good game from start to finish. He was tough running the ball, and didn’t shy away from contact, like he has over the last few games. Hillman was quick in his cuts, and also showed the vision needed to see success. There were some runs that didn’t go for good yards, but that was more to do with those up front than Hillman.

Grade: 96.8

Emmanuel Sanders, WR

Snaps: 55. Stats: 5 catches on 8 targets for 99 yards, with 1 fumble.

The game from Sanders was great, if you take out the play where he fumbled. He caught a well-placed pass, and took off with it. Towards the end of the play, he got cute and had the ball taken from him. Normally, Sanders is careful with the ball and doesn’t get careless while carrying it. He did, and it cost him and his team at least three points.

Grade: 71.9

Demaryius Thomas, WR

Snaps: 54. Stats: 5 catches on 9 targets for 117 yards and 1 touchdown, with 1 drop.

Thomas took a short, perfectly-placed pass, and took it 72 yards to score the touchdown. He broke a few tackles and showed that he is faster than many think. When all is said and done, the game from Thomas was excellent. There was a dropped pass on a perfectly-thrown ball, but that was the only negative of his game. Even as a blocker, he looked really good.

Grade: 94.7

Jordan Norwood, WR

Snaps: 36. Stats: 3 catches on 4 targets for 48 yards, with 1 drop.

Interception number one came at the hands of Norwood, or well, through the hands of Norwood. He did his best to make up for it, but it’s hard to make up for letting a pass sail through your hands and it getting picked off. Outside of that play, it was a really good game from Norwood. There were some great catches he made, one of which went for 34 yards. The only area that came up as a negative on a consistent basis was his blocking.

Grade: 65.4

Owen Daniels, TE

Snaps: 45. Stats: 1 catch on 1 target for 15 yards.

The game from Daniels was just solid. The ball went his way once, and he was tough after the catch. Despite seeing the ball thrown his way only once, Daniels did run some really good routes. There was more to Daniels' game, as he saw a good amount of action as a blocker, which was solid, but not great. It really was just a solid game from Daniels.

Grade: 75.1

Ryan Harris, LT

Snaps: 66. Stats: 3 hurries allowed.

The left tackle really played a good game. He did have some issues paving the way for the running backs, but they were not often. Harris actually did a really good job, albeit a somewhat inconsistent job as a run blocker. As for his pass blocking, he allowed 3 hurries all game, and just looked really good. On his three hurries, he was able to recover and keep them from being hits, or sacks.

Grade: 78.4

Max Garcia, LG

Snaps: 66. Stats: 5 hurries and 2 stops allowed.

It was a rough game for Garcia, who went back and forth between right guard and left guard. Four of the five hurries and one of the stops came with him at left guard. While he can handle it on the left side, he just looks more comfortable on the right side. There were a lot of good/great moments in the game for Garcia, he just has to be more consistent. If the coaches can find stability at either right guard, or left guard where they don’t have to keep moving Garcia, that’d help him out as well.

Grade: 51.9

Matt Paradis, C

Snaps: 66. Stats: 1 QB hit, 1 hurry allowed.
The first-year center has been the best offensive linemen for the Broncos this year. He has made his fair share of mistakes, which is expected as a first-year starter. However, his mistakes have been few in number and gotten fewer and fewer as the season went on. As for the game against the Chargers, Paradis was the best and most consistent offensive linemen who saw the field for the Broncos.
Grade: 97.9

Louis Vasquez, RG

Snaps: 28. Stats: 1 hurry allowed.

The starting right guard eventually left the game, and the starting left guard took over. Not clear as to why Vasquez left, he didn’t seem to get hurt, which leaves me with poor play. Vasquez was great in his limited snaps as a pass blocker, but his run blocking was atrocious.

Although he didn’t allow any stops, Vasquez was beaten somewhat consistently, which was forcing the running backs to change their direction, or get stopped behind the line of scrimmage. As soon as Vasquez left, the running game became a lot more consistent.

Grade: 31.3

Michael Schofield, RT

Snaps: 45. Stats: 2 QB hits, 12 hurries, and 1 stop allowed.

To put it bluntly, Schofield played 45 snaps too many this game, and roughly 800 too many on the season (Schofield only played 872 offensive snaps on the season). He should’ve been benched weeks ago, before the Oakland loss where he allowed 4 or 5 sacks. If not before that game, it should’ve occurred during.

It happened not long into the second half, and the blocking up front stabilized. It really showed how much the right tackle was holding back the offense. On one pass, he was beaten and looked like a basketball player boxing out for a rebound to try and keep a sack from happening, and on another he was beaten and saw the ball hit as it was thrown, which lead to an interception.

Grade: Not computable. A 0.0 is too high for how poorly Schofield played. It was the worst performance from an offensive linemen I have ever seen. That includes his showing against the Raiders, where he was at least somewhat decent as a run blocker.

That wraps up the starters. Now time to jump into the players who saw ten or more snaps on the game.

Peyton Manning, QB

Snaps: 29. Stats: 1 sack. 5-of-9 for 69 yards.

True Accuracy: 5-of-6 for 69 yards and 1 drop.

When Manning entered the game it energized the crowd. He came in and played well, completing five of his nine passes, with quick and easy rhythm throws. The big difference in how the offense performed under the quarterbacks was they turned the ball over with one and not the other.

Manning's worst play came on the sack, when he was awarded nearly six seconds, which is forever, in the pocket and to read the defense. He held onto the ball, and got sacked by someone who the line put on the ground. There was plenty of time to throw the ball away here.

Grade: 80.0

C.J. Anderson, RB

Snaps: 28. Stats: 15 rushes for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. 1 catch on 3 targets for negative 5 yards. 1 fumble.

Anderson looked good running the ball, outside of his fumble. He was tough, quick, and exhibited excellent vision. However, he put the ball on the ground on the first play of the second half. He didn’t have a chance to show what he could do as a receiver, as his one catch came on a broken screen play.

Grade: 51.5

Bennie Fowler, WR

Snaps: 22. Stats: 1 catch on 1 target for 3 yards.

The receiver had only one catch, which went for three yards. However, it wasn’t a clean catch, and had it been, it probably would have gone for a big gain. He didn’t get any other chances as a receiver, and partially due to some issues getting separation. As for his blocking, it was really good, which it has been all season.

Grade: 57.4

Cody Latimer, WR

Snaps: 12. Stats: zero catches on 1 target, with 1 drop.

The pass was high to Latimer, which it had to be, due to tight coverage. Latimer went up, got his hands on it, but wasn’t able to come down with it. That was the only ball thrown his way, and he spent most of his remaining snaps as a blocker, which he did quite well.

Grade: 70.0

Virgil Green, TE

Snaps: 28. Stats: 1 catch on 1 target for 14 yards.

The backup tight end showed once again why he should have a much bigger role in the offense. He got separation on his one catch, and was able to pick up 10 yards after the catch. His main role is as a blocker, which he did extremely well.

However, there was one play where he was kept in to block for a run and really did nothing. Green made his block, then when the running back saw first contact, he let his block go. The running back wasn’t down, until Greens assignment made the tackle. Play to the whistle.

Grade: 81.9

Evan Mathis, LG

Snaps: 38. Stats: 1 QB hit, 3 hurries allowed.

Mathis coming in really helped the run blocking on the left side of the line, and helped the run blocking of the whole line. It was because Vasquez left the game and Garcia went to right guard. The line started playing better, although they were still held back by the right tackle. The left guard played a great game as a run blocker, and was solid as a pass blocker. He was better as a pass blocker than his pressure stats may indicate.

Grade: 73.1

Tyler Polumbus

Snaps: 27. Stats: 1 hurry allowed.

The switch finally happened at right tackle and Polumbus played some great football. He allowed one hurry, but recovered nicely. The best work came as a run blocker, but a lot of that had to do with how much Denver ran the ball when the switch was made. Polumbus had a couple key blocks on big runs, including a Hillman 23-yarder for a touchdown. His ability to disengage and get to a second block was great, as well.

Grade: 97.9

That wraps up all the players who saw 10 or more snaps. Only two players, Vernon Davis and James Ferentz, saw less than ten snaps with six and one respectively.

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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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