DEN-TB grades: Broncos QB Paxton Lynch solid in NFL debut
Denver Broncos 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7
Here are the highest-graded players and biggest storylines from Denver’s Week 4 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quarterback Grade: Paxton Lynch, 65.1
Rookie Paxton Lynch replaces injured Siemian
First-round pick Paxton Lynch was forced into duty in the second quarter after Trevor Siemian was carted off the field with an apparent non-serious left shoulder injury. Lynch fared pretty well, and the Broncos did not hold back the game plan, firing passes to all levels. Lynch showed off his strong arm by dominating the intermediate level of the field, going 8-for-10 for 134 yards and a TD on throws between 10-19 yards in the air. Lynch had his share of misses, but the offense has some intriguing possibilities for big plays with him at the helm.
Paxton Lynch passing under pressure versus Buccaneers
Top offensive grades:
FB Andy Janovich, 88.2
RT Ty Sambrailo, 79.6
WR Emmanuel Sanders, 79.4
LT Russell Okung, 78.7
C Matt Paradis, 77.2
Broncos take care of the ball, do enough to win
The Broncos’ offense did what it needed to do to win: it took care of the ball, made timely plays in the passing game, and had fairly solid O-line production throughout the evening. Ty Sambrailo stepped up for the injured Donald Stephenson and posted a team-high 82.5 pass-blocking grade. Paxton Lynch relied heavily on Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas (71.2 grade), who combined for 182 of the 238 passing yards. The typically-effective running game struggled to get into a rhythm, as C.J Anderson was held to 48 yards on 18 carries for an average of 2.7 yards per carry.
Top defensive grades
CB Aqib Talib, 92.5
CB Chris Harris Jr, 84.2
LB Shaquille Barrett, 82.7
LB Von Miller, 79.2
DE Derek Wolfe, 78.6
Defensive front, corners shut down Bucs’ passing game
The Broncos’ defensive front got after Winston early, making him look uncomfortable all game with constant pressure. The NFL’s best pass-rush filled the stat sheet, totaling five sacks, six QB hits, and 14 pressures. Aqib Talib helped set the tone with an early interception, as the Broncos’ secondary suffocated Winston and his receivers throughout the game. Talib’s dominate day saw him end with two picks and a passer rating of 0.0 on throws into his coverage, allowing only one completion for 6 yards. The Broncos’ ability to rush the passer and lock down receivers was yet again the story of the game.
Quarterback grade: Jameis Winston, 43.2
Winston struggles mightily
Jameis Winston looked uncomfortable in the pocket from the beginning of the game, and struggled seeing coverage at times throughout Sunday’s blowout loss. The Broncos’ defensive front got around his feet early, leading him to many forced throws, something we’ve seen often from him throughout his short pro career. The early pressure lead to some indecisiveness even when he was not pressured, with both interceptions coming in clean pockets. Credit the Broncos’ defense with another stellar performance, but you would like to see the former No. 1 pick show the ability to throw his team back into games.
Jameis Winston passing under pressure versus
Top offensive grades
LG Kevin Pamphile, 75.2
WR Mike Evans, 73.3
RT Demar Dotson, 71.7
FB Alan Cross, 70.2
WR Vincent Jackson, 68.2
Buccaneers’ offense non-existent
The Bucs’ offense struggled to find any success, gaining just 215 yards of total offense. Turnovers were the story Tampa Bay, with the combination of poor pass protection and Winston holding the ball (unable to find receivers) leading to the Bucs surrendering five sacks, 13 QB hurries, and numerous forced throws into coverage. The offense was dominated in every facet, and was just five for 16 on third downs. Tackle Donovan Smith struggle with edge rushers throughout, posting a team-low 41.5 pass-blocking grade.
Top defensive grades:
DT Clinton McDonald, 77.3
CB Jude Adjei-Barimah, 75.2
DT Gerald McCoy, 74.0
CB Brent Grimes, 72.3
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, 72.2
Defense can’t slow down Lynch-led passing offense
The lack of complementary football did not help the Bucs’ defense on Sunday, as the unit needed to play a perfect game to have a chance to stay in the contest. Tampa Bay failed to force a turnover, and allowed Lynch too many intermediate-level throws on scoring drives. Five of the Buccaneers’ seven defenders responsible in pass coverage allowed a passer rating of over 100.0 when targeted.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Broncos CB Aqib Talib
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