ReFo: Bills @ Broncos, Week 14
Peyton Manning’s 51 consecutive-game touchdown streak ended, but the day wasn’t a disappointment for Denver as three scores on the ground coming in the game’s first 33 minutes supplied a lead that they could ride to the final whistle without worry for the outcome. Despite barely reaching 300 total yards of offense, the Broncos were simply not in danger as the Bills’ offense found no means of making gains to challenge.
Denver walks away comfortably with their 10th win of the year, keeping pace with New England, while Buffalo slipped to 7-6 and just outside of the playoff race with three weeks (and games against the Packers and Patriots) to go.
Buffalo Bills – Performances of Note
Marcell Dareus: +2.9
Breakdown: Adding three more run stops to his season total that has now reached 20 – one of a select group of DT/NTs to have that number in their pocket at this point – Dareus was a force against the Denver interior O-line. Logging positive plays against all three, he did most damage against Manuel Ramirez, working past him for sure wins on a number of occasions.
Signature Stat: Starting the season on the wrong foot with a -1.1 against Chicago, Dareus has now marched on with 11 of his 12 games hitting +1.0 or better overall.
Kyle Orton: -8.3
Breakdown: Putting in some work to out-do his Week 7 grade against Miami, Orton threw 55 ‘aimed’ passes (outside of a throwaway and a batted pass) and completed 38. He connected on just 5-of-15 on passes deeper than 10 yards as he consistently had issues when venturing beyond the safety of throws near the line of scrimmage. His two interceptions also pulled him down, of course, but two more that were dropped added a beyond-the-boxscore drag to finish the picture.
Signature Play: 3Q 10:15, faced with one defender covering two hitches in the middle of the field, Orton hitched as he decided where to throw and then fired to the outnumbered Denver linebacker, Brandon Marshall, for the pick.
Mario Williams: -1.8 pass rush
Breakdown: On a day where the entire squad had trouble generating anything of a pass rush, Williams was blanked for the first time this season. Denver’s plan of sticking to the ground and getting the ball out quickly when they did throw (Manning averaged a 1.91-second release on 19 throws this week) kept the chances to a minimum. With as ineffective as the Bills’ rush was, it’s no sure thing that more opportunities would have brought more success.
Signature Stat: Just the fourth time since 2007 that Williams has gone pressure-less in a game.
Denver Broncos – Performances of Note
Chris Harris, Jr.: +2.7
Breakdown: Highlighted by his third-quarter interception at the goal line and a fourth-quarter clean-up sack, Harris not only found his way onto the stat sheet but graded out tops among Bronco defenders. Adding a hurry to his haul, the standout cornerback also tacked on another defensive stop and limited damage through the air by keeping the nine throws at him to just six completions and 53 yards.
Signature Play: Harris’ interception squashed Buffalo hopes of cutting into the then 21-3 Denver lead before the half as he cut in front of a post route at the goal line to steal one away.
Will Montgomery and Manny Ramirez: -11.1 combined run blocking
Breakdown: Each posting their lowest mark of the season, Montgomery and Ramirez had their hands full with the Bills’ D-line and linebackers. Dareus gave them trouble, as mentioned above, but it was encounters with Kyle Williams, Corbin Bryant and Brandon Spikes that rounded out the down day for the Denver duo as the Buffalo front routinely set them aside on their way to tackles for short gains.
Signature Play: 4Q 7:26, an example of the two seeing trouble at the same time, Montgomery failed in his bid to cut Spikes and Ramirez was tossed by Bryant as the two Buffalo defenders met C.J. Anderson short of the line of scrimmage with relative ease.
David Bruton: +2.3
Breakdown: Getting 61 of his 75 defensive snaps for the season in this game, Bruton allowed all five balls sent his way to be completed, but they added up to just 18 total yards gained. His nine tackles and three defensive stops were among the Denver defensive leaders for the day, though he also had a pair of misses – one wiped away by a penalty on the play and another on special teams—and dropped a chance for a pick, so some of what might have been was left on the field.
Signature Stat: 4Q 1:42, the dropped interception wasn’t game-changing – it was a fourth-quarter, badly-overthrown ball in a game that was decided at that point – but it would have put a cherry on top of a nice day.
PFF Game Ball
Largely for his interception that put a stop to Buffalo’s push to get into the game near halftime, but also for his work the rest of the way, Chris Harris gets this game ball.
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