CIN-DEN Grades: McCarron grades out higher than Osweiler on MNF

The highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Broncos' 20-17 overtime win.

| 10 months ago
(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

CIN-DEN Grades: McCarron grades out higher than Osweiler on MNF

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Denver Broncos’ 20-17 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Denver Broncos

– For the second time this season, C.J. Anderson (-0.1) had a big touchdown run on primetime, scoring off a 39-yard run against the Bengals on Monday night. His grade takes a big hit though, due to a costly fumble that won’t do his chances of earning the bulk of the weekly workload much good. Elsewhere in the running game, Ronnie Hillman (+2.0) saw 24 of his 35 yards come after contact, as he did his best to make every carry count.

– On a defense that features standouts like edge rushers Von Miller (+1.9) and DeMarcus Ware (-0.5), and cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. (+2.1), it’s not always easy to stand out, but linebacker Danny Trevathan (+4.7) did just that on Monday night, with an impressive performance against the run. An outstanding tackler throughout the game, he finished the night with 10 solo tackles, with eight of those resulting in a defensive stop,

– If Brock Osweiler (-0.2) is to remain the starter into the playoffs, this is the type of gameplan that can help the Broncos have success. He didn’t have a great game throwing downfield, going one-for-five for 35 yards on passes 20+ yards downfield, including a pass that should have been picked off by Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson. Of the 30 passes he attempted between 0 and 20 yards, though, he had just five incompletions. Keeping things simple and short was very much the key to the Broncos’ offense being efficient against the Bengals.

Top performers:

LB Danny Trevathan (+4.7)
CH Chris Harris, Jr. (+2.1)
DE Derek Wolfe (+2.1)
HB Ronnie Hillman (+2.0)
OLB Von Miller (+1.9)


Cincinnati Bengals

– The injury to starter Andy Dalton has definitely hurt, and sees the Bengals backing into the playoffs, rather than kicking the door down—but backup A.J. McCarron (+0.2) wasn’t terrible on Monday night. The fumble at the end of the game was bad, even if the snap was off center, and like Osweiler, he struggled going downfield, completing just one of the six passes of 20 yards or more he attempted, but he too was efficient in that 0 to 20 yard range, going 18-for-21 there.

– Despite losing the game, there’s a strong case to be made that Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (+4.1) was the best player on the field on Monday night. A menace as a pass rusher throughout, he finished the game with three sacks, a hit, and four hurries, adding a tackle that resulted in a defensive stop against the run, too.

– Despite struggling on the offensive line, running back Jeremy Hill (+2.2) impressed for the Bengals. 37 of his 63 yards came after contact, and he forced a missed tackle, too. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for big yards out there for him, but Hill consistently gained an extra couple of yards when tacklers were trying to bring him down.

Top performers:

DE Carlos Dunlap (+4.1)
DE Michael Johnson (+2.4)
HB Jeremy Hill (+2.2)
WR A.J. Green (+2.2)
S Reggie Nelson (+1.7)

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Cameron

    There seems to be a pattern. The best players on the field every week against the Broncos are lining up against Schofield and Harris. I don’t think Dunlap was the best player on the field, I think he was just going against the two worst players in the NFL. Week in and week out, it shows up in the rankings. It’s not the defense doing something amazing, it’s the Broncos having absolute junk at the tackle position that makes these defenders look so good.

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  • Zachary Arnold

    Is CH a position or a typo?

    • Carsonic

      He halts opposing receivers from catching the ball, so he’s known as a “Catch Halter.” [wink face]

      • Brian Bigger

        Not so much against the Steelers. In that game, he was the “Catch Helper”, commonly referred to as “toast”.

        • Carsonic

          Yep. Hard not to be when you spend all game on a player who is as on fire as Brown. Bounced back pretty well against AJ Green, though. I think he’ll be back to his usual form throughout the playoffs.

  • Bengal Fanatic

    Very solid game from Jeremy Hill. Bengals will need that effort every week going forward.

  • Tfarmer

    Finally. Someone calls it. Schofield is killing Denver. I would like to see his rating the last 8 weeks. I would bet half of their negative plays have come at his expense. Why they don’t leave Virgil Green in next to him ?

  • Yahmule

    Three clutch drives late in the game by Osweiler. One after Anderson’s fumble; one that finished with McManus’s horrific shank; and the game winner in OT. But he misses some deep balls against an outstanding secondary and it torpedoes his entire grade and calls into question whether he’ll start in the playoffs (over a player who suffered a season ending that people who should know better seem willing to pretend is not a season ending injury).

  • Yahmule

    The best player on the field in Bronco games is the guy opposing RT Michael Scofield pretty frequently.