DEN-SD Grades: Offenses struggle in AFC West contest
Here are the top takeaways and highest graded players from the Broncos’ 17-3 win over the Chargers:
– A QB Brock Osweiler (-4.1) touchdown pass to wrap up the opening drive suggested this contest may go down a different road, but that score was the end of the high times for either offense as the game downshifted into a clock-watching crawl. Osweiler pushed the ball 10-plus yards past the line of scrimmage 10 times but completed just that TD and two others while adding an underthrown second-quarter pick in the end zone and a misread of coverage which put the ball into the hands of Eric Weddle only to see the Chargers’ safety drop it.
– DE Malik Jackson (+8.4) had a day to remember against the left side of the Chargers’ line racking up a pair of hits, seven hurries and a +7.6 pass rush grade – most coming in quick fashion around or through his former teammate, Orlando Franklin. Jackson’s contribution was the biggest part of Denver getting pressure on more than half of San Diego’s dropbacks on their way to 30 total pressures on the day.
– With the team’s pass rush being the dominant topic, it’s worth a mention for some of the others that chipped in. OLB Von Miller (+7.9) collected two sacks to go along with three hits and a hurry, DE Derek Wolfe (+5.4) came away with a hit and five hurries and OLB Shaquil Barrett (+1.3) and DE Antonio Smith (+1.1) each found their way to three total pressures. The Denver front, start to finish, was simply too much for San Diego’s beat-up O-line to cope with.
DE Malik Jackson (+8.4)
OLB Von Miller (+7.9)
DE Derek Wolfe (+5.4)
S Darian Stewart (3.4)
OT Ryan Harris (+3.0)
San Diego Chargers:
– As mentioned above, QB Philip Rivers (-2.4) faced a barrage and just didn’t have the answer. Pressured on 20 of his 39 dropbacks, he completed five of 16 attempts for 47 yards, a pick, and was sacked four times. Rivers’ passer rating fell from 93.1 when not pressured to 14.6 with the rush getting to him. Coming off of his best game of the year last week against Jacksonville, this wasn’t the follow up Chargers fans had hoped for.
– On the downside of the destruction were LG Orlando Franklin (-7.5) and LT Chris Hairston (-7.4). The duo combined to surrender 14 total pressures (two sacks, three hits and nine hurries) while Hairston also had significant issues in the run game. As much trouble as Franklin had keeping up with the interior rush, Hairston struggled on the edge. He was so mentally shaken that at one point late in the second quarter, with Von Miller lined up across from him, he quickly dropped into his pass set… on a zone run play to his side. This game marked a season low in grades for both men.
– There were some positives, however, but most of them were found on the defense. Melvin Ingram (+2.5) is quietly putting together a good year and this was another example of what he flashes as an edge defender. A pair of sacks (one wiped away by his own – questionable as it was – roughing the passer penalty), a pair of hurries and four run stops were a good way to fill the stat sheet. His grade fell in line, landing him in the green for the fourth time in the past five games and his +7.0 pass rush grade now has him ranked 12th out of 55 qualifying 3-4 OLBs.
S Eric Weddle (+4.4)
CB Jason Verrett (+2.8)
DE Damion Square (+2.5)
OLB Melvin Ingram (+2.5)
DE Ricardo Mathews (+1.7)