HOU-DEN grades: Broncos' defense forces Osweiler into bad game
Denver Broncos 27, Houston Texans 9
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Denver’s victory over Houston.
Quarterback grade: Trevor Siemian, 77.7
Siemian mistake-free in win over Houston
With the Broncos running the ball well, Siemian wasn’t asked to do as much as he has in other games, with just 13 completions on the night. The stat sheet will show Siemian completing just one pass to Emmanuel Sanders for 31 yards on five passes targeted 10-plus yards downfield, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story of his performance. He also had two nice passes to Demaryius Thomas over 20 yards. The first in the first quarter was called back due to a holding penalty, while the other was dropped by Thomas mid-way through the fourth quarter. Still, Siemian did miss on two out routes past the first-down marker that he should have hit on. Overall, though, he did enough to help the Broncos win and took care of the football.
Top offensive players
C Matt Paradis 82.5
WR Emmanuel Sanders 81.4
G Max Garcia 80.4
FB Andy Janovich 80.0
G Michael Schofield 79.4
Interior offensive line paves way for ground game
The Broncos found a lot of success running the ball, and it was largely due to the running backs and their three interior linemen. The trio handled Texans’ NT Vince Wilfork, causing him to earn his lowest run defense grade of the past three seasons. Center Matt Paradis had multiple impressive reach blocks on Wilfork in the Broncos’ outside zone scheme, and both guards had a few cut blocks on him that widened the rushing lanes. On the 20 carries that went between the tackles, Denver’s running backs averaged nearly 5.9 yards per rush. Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson both just missed the top five for offensive grades, but had solid performances. A late fumble by Booker prevented a higher grade that could have put him in the top five.
Top defensive players
CB Aqib Talib, 89.2
CB Chris Harris, 87.3
S Darian Stewart, 84.1
DE Derek Wolfe, 83.3
LB Brandon Marshall, 83.1
Talib and Harris spoil Osweiler’s return to Denver
Well, if Brock Osweiler had dreams of returning to Denver to stick it to them with a big performance and a victory, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris made sure it played out more like a nightmare. Denver’s one-two combo on the corners were simply brilliant on Monday night. Combined they allowed 10 catches on 19 targets but for just 52 yards; Talib chipped in two PD’s as well (both came while covering Deandre Hopkins) and those two held Osweiler to a 58.4 QB Rating when they were targeted. Von Miller (79.1 overall) led the defense with eight total pressures (all hurries), with seven of those coming in the second half; and Derek Wolfe along with Shane Ray (68.7) tied to lead the team with three Stops (a solo tackle which constitutes as a loss for the offense, given the situation) apiece.
Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 33.8
Osweiler falls flat in Denver
No matter how you slice this it was an absolutely brutal game for Brock Osweiler, who literally had no silver lining in this one. Osweiler completed 17 of 26 passes for a whopping total of 99 yards on throws where he saw no pressure, good for a 72.4 QB rating. When he was pressured, he completed just five of 15 throws for 32 yards to go with a 42.4 QB rating. Osweiler attempted just nine throws on the day that traveled at least 10 yards in the air, completing just two of them for 24 yards. In addition to the poor day throwing the ball, Osweiler inexplicably fumbled the ball twice with no members of the Denver defense forcing him too.
Top offensive players
LG Xavier Su’a Filo, 87.1
C Greg Mancz, 84.6
LT Duane Brown, 77.4
WR Jaelen Strong, 64.3
WR Deandre Hopkins, 59.0
Offensive line plays well in loss
It’s unfortunate for the Houston Texans that Chris Clark had to play on passing plays; Houston’s offensive line was responsible for 16 total pressures on the day, 10 of those were given up by Clark who wasn’t even in on 17 percent of Houston’s offensive snaps. Leading the way for Houston’s offense were Xavier Su’a Filo and Greg Mancz, who combined to allow zero pressures, and both of them had good games run blocking – especially Filo who led the group with an 86.0 run blocking grade. Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue combined to average 5.6 yards per carry despite forcing zero missed tackles on the ground, and much of their success can be attributed the blocking in front of them. Despite his struggles in pass protection, even Chris Clark had a brilliant day blocking for his HB’s, finishing the game with an 85.5 run blocking grade.
Top defensive grades:
CB A.J. Bouye, 96.6
S Andre Hal, 78.7
OLB Whitney Mercilus, 77.4
ILB Brian Cushing, 75.9
OLB John Simon, 69.1
CB Bouye has another stellar performance
Texans’ CB A.J. Bouye entered the game as the highest-graded cornerback in coverage this season. Not only did he maintain that level of play, he actually exceeded it. Bouye broke up two passes for the second time this season and even had a third that was nullified by an offsides penalty. He allowed six catches for 38 yards, but nearly all were short as none went for more than 11 yards and only one allowed a first down. He made three tackles for defensive stops in the passing game and one more in run defense. Unfortunately for Houston, the rest of the defense had a lackluster performance. Three of their four interior defensive lineman that played double-digit snaps earned below-average grades against the run. Whitney Mercilus was the only defender with multiple QB pressures that were not of cleanup variety.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Broncos CB Aqib Talib
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