DEN-OAK Grades: Defense carries Broncos to victory again

The top takeaways and highest graded players from Denver’s 16-10 win over Oakland

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DEN-OAK Grades: Defense carries Broncos to victory again


Here are the top takeaways and highest graded players from Denver’s 16-10 win over Oakland:

Denver Broncos

– CB Chris Harris (+3.5) picked up his second interception of the year and returned it for a score on the play that ultimately changed the game. On a day where their offense was unable to find the end zone, the fourth-quarter pick-six gave the Broncos the cushion they needed for the win. Harris’ NFL passer rating allowed this week was just 33.9 and sits at 55.5 for the season.

– By adding five defensive stops on the afternoon, DE Malik Jackson (+2.3) finds himself among the leaders at the position with a total of 15. His 14 total pressures are also a top-10 figure and Sunday marked his fourth-straight game with multiple pressures.

– QB Peyton Manning (+0.6) has struggled to land any significant positives in 2015 and this was another game that saw him fall short. His accuracy percentage (70.6 percent) came in 21st among 27 QB performances so far this week and he posted a -1.4 grade on the 23 dropbacks where he wasn’t pressured.

Top performers:

LB Von Miller (+3.8)
CB Chris Harris Jr. (+3.5)
G Louis Vasquez (+3.4)
G Evan Mathis (+2.8)
DE Malik Jackson (+2.3)

Oakland Raiders

– The left-right split on the Oakland offensive line is only deepening as the right side of J’Marcus Webb (-1.2) and Austin Howard (-2.4) fell further into the red. Howard’s day featured negative grades both as a pass blocker and as a run blocker and Webb finished below -1.0 overall for the fourth time in five games.

– Rookie DE Mario Edwards Jr. (+1.6) picked up his first positive game grade based on some standout work in the run game, and did so while logging the highest single-game snap count of his young career. Playing 50 of 58 defensive snaps, Edwards came away with a clean-up sack, a hurry and four defensive stops.

– On 12 attempts into the range, QB Derek Carr (-0.9) completed just five passes beyond 10 yards downfield and generally found the going tough against Denver’s coverage for anything more than underneath targets – 65 percent of his passing yards this week came after the catch.

Top performers:

LB Khalil Mack (+5.6)
S Charles Woodson (+2.8)
C Rodney Hudson (+1.9)
LT Donald Penn (+1.8)
G Gabe Jackson (+1.6)

  • Kevin Kydd

    I see both guards graded out nicely. Is there any explanation for why the Broncos seem unable to run the football?

    • Chris Wright

      Teams can stack the box because they know manning will not beat them.

      • Rick S.

        Teams not respecting Manning’s deep ball is definitely a factor, but it doesn’t seem like there is an offensive play where there isn’t a blocking breakdown. Their OTs and TEs are getting beat routinely. I expected some issues with the OTs due to playing young guys and journeymen, but the TEs struggles are surprising. Virgil Green’s blocking has regressed and Daniels who was supposed to fit perfectly in the system, hasn’t impressed as either receiver or blocker.

      • AJ

        I’m sure the arm strength is a contributing factor here, but Manning’s arm strength (or lack thereof) is more about velocity than distance. His struggles on deep passes this season are due to ball placement, not inability to get the ball downfield. While those two go hand-in-hand to an extent, it doesn’t quite explain the lack of running game.

    • jojomellon

      A big part of the reason is that Kubiak’s whole scheme is based on the QB taking snaps from under center and running the play action. When Manning proved totally incapable of doing so and they moved to a shotgun based offense, the run game went into the shitter.

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    • GorillaWrrior Billy

      Most people’s comments have to do with Mannings arm but the issue is, while the OGs grade nicely with pass protection, the schedule doesn’t help – Wk1 – Ravens went 19 games without allowing 100 yd rusher, until Le’veon Bell on a quick thurs turnaround. Wk2 – KC is another top run D, nearly impossible to run on in Arrowhead. Wk3 – Detroit has been a completely solid run D (look at Rawls 47 yds 2 weeks ago v DET, then he follows up with 147 vs CIN?

      Wk4 – Vikings, 144 rushing yds, finally.
      Wk5 – Edwards, Williams, and Mack were responsible for almost every run stopped. They were all over, dominant, as OAK Run D is pretty good itself. Now while that plays into a large part, Kubiak going from shotgun and zone, definitely has an impact as this system is not a good one for such bad O-Line run blockers thus far. This week they have the last ranked run D in CLE so hopefully it’ll yield some production. If not. .. I really don’t know what to do, as these RBs aren’t breaking many tackles either.

  • jamespat

    PFF doesn’t see the game the way it is. Both guards on Denver are high scoring but they still can’t run or pass the ball and they go another game without a touchdown.

    • AJ

      You’re talking in generalities. You can’t just say “they didn’t run or pass well, therefore all 5 o-linemen played poorly.” If you want “analysis” based on generalities, go to ESPN.

      • jojomellon

        Ditto. I swear it seems like people miss the whole point of PFF sometimes. “Player X had 500 passing yards why isnt he highly graded!!!!!!” …..

    • anon76returns

      Mathis had a nice positive run blocking grade, but was the only OL in the green on the day. One guy can’t block an entire front 7, and the Broncos were getting “in the red” run blocking grades from the C and both TEs. That will destroy a running game.
      Vasquez had a nice positive pass blocking grade, which makes sense as he didn’t allow as single pressure on 40 pass blocks. The passing game actually looked pretty good outside of the two INTs- DT dropped a TD, and Hillman dropped another. Take away those drops and suddenly Manning’s stat line looks like 24 completions on 34 targets (71% completions) for 277 yards (8.1 yards/attempt) 2 TDs, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 102.2, and the scoreboard would have been 27-10 Denver (assuming Oak still went after the FG after the PI).

      • Adam

        That’s my impression, as well. Obviously Manning needs to cut down on the head-scratching interceptions, but he’s averaged 7.5 YPA or better in three straight games. This passing game can move the ball, they just need to stop making so many mistakes and finish drives.

    • jojomellon

      Manning is to blame for both of those factors. The guards arent the problem when the QB cant take a snap from under center when Kubiak’s whole scheme is predicated on that while running play action passes.

      • jody

        They ran pretty well last season, and Manning wasn’t under center…

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          last year was a gap/power scheme, this is zone and with much different personnel, only vasquez returned as a starter

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          last year was a gap/power scheme, this is zone and with much different personnel, only vasquez returned as a starter

  • Brian

    Maybe it’s because we cant see the total breakdown, but how does Peyton have a mildly positive game, while Eli has a fairly negative one? I could get it if Peyton had some big throws but mistakes, but seems he didnt and in fact he struggled to show any positives. ?

    • Adam

      Peyton did hit some big throws, including a 45 yarder to Sanders while running from pressure. Also hit a 41 yarder to Fowler and several nice intermediates to DT and Sanders. The grade also depends on how they interpreted his end zone INT in the second quarter….was it a bad pass or miscommunication?

      As far as Eli, most of his yards came after the catch, including those dumpoffs to Vereen on the final drive. I don’t think Eli should have been graded negatively, but he wasn’t as good as his stats would indicate.

    • Adam

      Peyton did hit some big throws, including a 45 yarder to Sanders while running from pressure. Also hit a 41 yarder to Fowler and several nice intermediates to DT and Sanders. The grade also depends on how they interpreted his end zone INT in the second quarter….was it a bad pass or miscommunication?

      As far as Eli, most of his yards came after the catch, including those dumpoffs to Vereen on the final drive. I don’t think Eli should have been graded negatively, but he wasn’t as good as his stats would indicate.

      • LeBronc

        Almost all of Peyton’s passes were short left or right or incomplete.
        Yes he hit Sanders as you stated but the pass to Fowler was out of the shotgun and “short left” as per the play by play transcript…The first interception was a terrible throw (PFF doesn’t grade intangibles remember?) to a TE that was tripled covered…being this happened in the end zone, this should have been harshly graded.
        The second interception was thrown into double coverage with the defense making an excellent catch…and he did as you say have 2 other completions down the middle, but this was a poor performance saved by the defense imho.

        • jason witten

          Throwing an interception in the endzone is the least bad of places on the field to throw a pick. There is more congestion and there is worse field position for the offense.

          • LeBronc

            I’ll assume your serious…Your down 7-3 and you drive down the field and with 25 seconds remaining in the half you throw an interception and get nothing…no 6, no xp or 2 point conversion, no 3 point field goal but yet it’s…”the least bad of places on the field to throw a pick”. Better bring more to the debate than that.(insert sound of microphone hitting the floor).

          • jojomellon

            Yeah, not sure what Jason Witten is talking about. Throwing a pick in the red zone is crushing because you don’t even get the 3 points a field goal could get you if you simply chose to throw the ball away.

          • jody

            How about you throw a pick 20 feet from your own end zone and it’s run back for 6 points. I’d say that would be much worse, but you don’t seem to want to think that hard, or at all…

          • LeBronc

            How about we say anything can happen on any play that would be much worse than the play that really happened…lol.
            My comments were based on the actual plays.
            Everything I said was true and happened in the actual game.

          • jason witten

            Yes, so the other team has the worst field position possible. That’s the reason why teams go for it more when the ball is nearer to the endzone. There is less risk. (drops mic)

          • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

            lol

        • Adam

          Oh I agree that Peyton didn’t play particularly well, but he wasn’t as bad as his passer rating or QBR suggest he was. His receivers dropped several passes including two potential TD’s. There was zero running game to help him out. But it’s weird to see him make so many bonehead mistakes…almost like his mind doesn’t comprehend how much his physical ability has declined.

          • jojomellon

            I’d say that the run game is the opposite of what you suggest. Manning is the reason the run game sucks, not the other way around.

          • Bronco Moe

            Wrong, Hillman had to come up for that ball and the defender got his arm in there to break it up, Maybe DT dropped his ball but that defender looked like he might have tipped that too just a hair. Everyone is making excuses for Manning but he seems to be the common factor.

        • Q

          Your wrong the second one because Woodson left his man.

          • jojomellon

            you’re

      • Bronco Moe

        The one to Fowler was all after the catch. He shed one defender then bulldozed through 2 more! The one to Sanders would have been a TD if he didn’t have to come back to the ball, I know he was under a little pressrun that one.

        Manning’s arm is cashed, no other way to put it.

  • jojomellon

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an NFL qb throw an uglier ball than Manning has this season. That dude is succeeding on brains only at this point. It’s admirable that hes able to even move the ball forward based solely on his knowledge of routes and defenses when he has a worse arm than a high schooler at this point.

    • jody

      Yet we all saw him place a perfect long pass in and out of Sanders’ hands in the end zone…

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      never watched tebow??? lol

      • anon76returns

        Those were beautiful, tight spirals that always hit exactly the patch of dirt he was aiming for. Don’t let the southpaw spin fool you- he threw a perfect spiral every time!

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          this is true, haha

  • Matt

    What about Neiron Ball, watched the tape on him +100

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      should be starting

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      should be starting

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    woodson’s second pick, over DT, was so damn impressive

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    woodson’s second pick, over DT, was so damn impressive