MIN-DEN Grades: Broncos’ defense continues dominance

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings-Broncos game.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

MIN-DEN Grades: Broncos’ defense continues dominance

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Vikings-Broncos game:

Minnesota Vikings

– Teddy Bridgewater (+0.2) made a handful of great throws downfield, but he couldn’t overcome the constant pressure he was under. The second-year quarterback was accurate on 30-of-37 targeted passes, including 8-for-13 over 10 yards downfield. With seven sacks and no running game, though, Bridgewater constantly found himself behind the chains. One nice surprise was rookie wide out Stefon Diggs (-0.4). He was gaining constant separation on his routes, and if it weren’t for two fumbles and a drop, he would have had himself a career day.

– The offensive line truly cost them whatever chance they had of winning this one. The Vikings kept in 34 extra blockers over the course of 51 pass plays, and Bridgewater was still pressured on 19 of his 50 dropbacks. They also provided no running lanes to speak of outside of the 48 yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. The main target was rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings (-6.8) who was beaten like a drum, despite almost frequent help to his side.

– What a game for Linval Joseph (+6.5). The defensive tackle was the most active Viking in both the run and pass game. He made
three stops against the run and forced a good number of early throws out of Peyton Manning. Oddly, the same can’t be said for Sharrif Floyd (-4.2), who struggled mightily against outside zone runs much like he did week one in San Francisco.

Top performers:

DT Linval Joseph (+6.5)
OLB Anthony Barr (+3.3)
SS Harrison Smith (+2.2)
DE Everson Griffen (+1.1)
QB Teddy Bridgewater (+0.2)

Denver Broncos

– It wasn’t pretty once again for Peyton Manning (-0.5), but once again he did enough at the end for the victory. He had a number of under-thrown deep balls that could have been much bigger plays. The most obvious was the C.J. Anderson catch with 11:21 in the first quarter that would have been a touchdown, if it didn’t bring Anderson to a standstill. The other was Manning’s last throw of the game where Demaryius Thomas had a good step of separation on Xavier Rhodes, only for the throw to bring the corner back into play. They may not be routine throws by NFL standards, but Manning just hasn’t missed this many deep balls at any point in his recent career.

– The defensive line continues to get it done. There isn’t really any debating who the best defensive front in the NFL has been this year, as the Broncos have been getting pressure at a historic rate. Von Miller(+4.4), Malik Jackson (+1.9), and DeMarcus Ware (+2.2) combined for 14 pressures, and every starter in the front seven except for Vance Walker (-0.8) graded positively. That is usually a winning formula.

– Aqib Talib (-2.5) looked uncharacteristically out of sync Sunday. The corner yielded 70 yards on six-of-seven targets to four different receivers. It was capped off by him getting completely turned around by a Stefon Diggs out route late in the fourth quarter. Also struggling in the secondary was Bradley Roby (-0.7), whose 86 yards allowed were the most in the game.

Top performers:

ILB Brandon Marshall (+5.9)
OLB Von Miller (+4.4)
FS Darian Stewart (+2.3)
OLB DeMarcus Ware (+2.2)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (+1.9)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Ryan Slade

    Why can’t I get the full premium stats any more? This IMO is the best part of your website.

    • Tim Lynch

      They discontinued that. Going full corporate.

      • Joby Leahy

        Yikes, that may be the end of the common football fan paying for this site.

        • Tim Lynch

          Actually, it was PFF who cancelled on us common football fans. 😛

    • Aaron McFarland

      Sounds like the NFL teams that pay for their premium service pressured them, to not offer the cheaper service consumers could pay for..along with teams that didn’t pay for their premium service, and unfortunately paying consumers were affected by that.

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        Click on the two lines at the top of the page. Click on (pro), premium stats is the middle option.

        • Aaron McFarland

          you no longer cannot access the premium stats or pay for them according to their FAQ:

          Why can’t I buy Premium Statistics?
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          • rogue

            PFF should give us a week free of the new PFF Ratings product. That way we can decide whether or not we’ll be “really happy”.

  • Tim Lynch

    So, we all know the Broncos defense is awesome. It would have been nice to see what the good word is on their patchwork OL I felt they had a good game, would be interesting to see what PFF had to say.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      schofield was +0.1 in his first regular season game ever

  • Thomas Bell

    Surprised no mention of the Denver OL– their best game by far. Every player, including Daniels, is positive for Run Blocking, and all in the green for run block) except Vasquez. Game ball to Schofield for 1.3 in run blocking and -.6 in pass blocking. Take away his penalty and he had a better game than Vasquez. Makes me think the problem with the run game is more on CJ than the performance of his line-men, who seem to be executing their individual assignments.

    • http://ehalseymiles.com E. Halsey Miles

      Vasquez is not the one I’d expect to be grading negative. It’s interesting, maybe it’s the scheme, but he was a dominant pass blocker in the past. But zone is a different thing, maybe he just isn’t dominant there.

      • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

        linval joseph had something to do with that too

    • JJ

      How are you finding this out? They stopped access to their premium statistics.

      • Thomas Bell

        Premium still works for me. Maybe I am grandfathered in or something.

        • crashby89

          Looks like they are still phasing people out. I had access till today. Hopefully the new version goes live soon. I just cant find a lot of the stats offered here anywhere else. Most notably DB stats. Cant find anywhere that tracks TD’s and yards allowed by CB’s.

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  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    brandon marshall is such a stud, and doing it all with a broken screw in his foot this season

  • Matt

    I like how you guys come up with excuse after excuse for Teddy, shows how much you kiss his ass.

    • Ben Knaak

      They didn’t make any excuses for him for the win against the Lions – their grades and analysis reflected the fact that he played poorly. And it’s pretty difficult to deny their narrative for this week’s game. Bridgewater was clearly the best QB on the field out there. A line that gives up 7 sacks (and way more pressures) and utterly fails to open holes for the running game except on one measly play is not one that’s setting any offense up to succeed. There are a lot of whiny subsets of Vikings comments section, and Teddy haters are by far the most petulant and childish. Thankfully, there aren’t many of them.

      Unless, of course, you have a well-reasoned counterargument, backed by statistics and examples, as to why he actually played badly and the loss was his fault.

    • Allen Carter

      Matt, you obviously dislike TB no matter what he does. He outplayed a HOF qb in an away game. Most qb’s can never say that, especially at this point in their career. Better line play and better coaching and the Vikings and TB would have won that game.

      • rogue

        TB is Tom Brady. 😉

  • Archie Jones

    THAT’S ME!!!

    • Archie Jones

      Broncos year


    The boys on the NFL network are saying what everyone else is thinking. Come January weather in Denver, Manning is going to more invisible then he is now.

    Denver better be able to put up at least 30 points come playoff time vs New England, because reality is Denver is not stopping New England. They should just try and slow them down. And usually you can do that with a run game, but Denver doesn’t even have that.

  • Tim Edell

    Stefon Diggs would of had a career day??? It was his first regular season game he has ever played so that’s a bold statement!!