ReFo: Cardinals @ Broncos, Week 5
Losing yet another key defensive starter, the Cardinals managed for as long as they could before succumbing to the Denver offensive wave.
Calais Campbell left the game with a knee injury and took with him the team’s last force up front, leaving the Broncos a bit more space to operate in. The tough Arizona team showed resolve, though, as their backup QB and determined D helped keep things close well into the third quarter before the dam broke and Denver pulled away.
In a game that featured 81 pass attempts from the two teams combined, 10 three-and-outs for the Cardinals’ offense were just too much for them to be able to keep pace with the well-oiled Manning-led machine.
Arizona Cardinals – Performances of Note
Calais Campbell, DE: +1.8
Breakdown: Campbell turned in his fourth game ‘in the green’ this season despite being forced from it early after suffering an MCL sprain on a nasty cut block by Julius Thomas. In his 35 snaps he collected a hurry and a stop but the an interception on a screen pass was his stand out moment.
Signature Play: With 4:50 left in the second quarter, Campbell fell off his pass rush and right into the lane of Manning’s screen attempt, hauling in the interception and returning it to the 5-yard line to set up an Andre Ellington score on the next play.
Jerraud Powers, CB: +3.1
Breakdown: Powers spent most of his day working out of the slot (36 coverage snaps) and gave up his share of completions, but managed to keep the damage to a minimum, giving up just 6.6 yards per and notching a couple of third-down stops. Also cut in front to come away with a second-quarter pick on an underthrown Peyton Manning pass.
Signature Play: At 10:40 of the second quarter, Emmanuel Sanders tried to run a wheel from the slot, but Powers played it perfectly, never giving a window, and took the OPI as Sanders opted to give him a shove rather than a chance at a second interception.
Bobby Massie, RT and Lyle Sendlein, C: -3.8 combined pass blocking
Breakdown: The Arizona linemen had issues with a couple of Denver defenders on the 38 snaps they spent in pass protection. While Massie gave up a sack, a hit and a hurry to Von Miller on the edge, Sendlein allowed a pair of hits to Malik Jackson up the middle.
Signature Play: Highlights they’re not, but as a taste of the day the pair had… Massie watched Miller pull off a smooth swim move to the inside on his way into the backfield (Q1, 4.08) and Sendlein, a few plays later (Q1, 2:41), is pushed aside by Jackson to open a path to the QB.
Denver Broncos – Performances of Note
Von Miller, OLB: +3.8
Breakdown: Up to his usual tricks, Miller pegged together positives as both a run defender and as a pass rusher that gave him yet another significantly strong game grade. Denver’s edge star turned 28 pass rushing snaps into six total pressures — including three sacks, one coming on a looping path wide around the Arizona right tackle, Massie, to take down Drew Stanton at the top of a deep drop.
Signature Stat: Miller’s 20 total pressures on the year top his position and rank behind only Dwight Freeney and Ryan Kerrigan league-wide.
Chris Harris, Jr., CB: +4.1
Breakdown: Harris saw seven passes come his way and none completed. Knocking down three himself, Harris had the opportunity for an icing-on-the-cake gift interception that bounced from Ted Ginn’s hands into the oncoming Bronco CB’s chest, but no doubt surprised and with just a split second to react, he wasn’t able to secure it. Even without that topper, a fine day in coverage.
Signature Stat: Harris’ 0.53 Yards per Cover Snap allowed on the season is the sixth-best mark out of 96 CBs who have logged at least 70 snaps in coverage.
Peyton Manning, QB: -0.7
Breakdown: A feel-good day as Manning led the team to a win, threw his 500th career touchdown pass and topped his previous best for yards in a game measured out to a near even performance in the end. His 47 attempts ranged from the beautiful (2Q 1:48, hit Demaryius Thomas perfectly in stride up the sideline) to the careless and hurried (that intercepted screen by Campbell, 2Q 4:50) and he mixed in even shares of off-target and well-placed balls throughout to land around zero.
Signature Play: Manning has connected on 17 of 27 throws deeper than 10 yards down the left side and only four of 11 down the right.
PFF Game Ball
Demaryus Thomas’ +2.0 receiving grade and huge day of work against Antonio Cromartie had him firmly in as the star of the show for the Denver offense on a 41-point day.