Broncos vs Falcons: Grades for Key Players in Week 2 Monday Night Football Match

Alex KayCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos congratulates Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons on their 27-21 win at Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons hosted the Denver Broncos in a thrilling Monday Night Football matchup to close out Week 2 of the NFL season.

Both teams fought hard, but the Dirty Birds built up an early lead after forcing Denver QB Peyton Manning into a number of costly turnovers.

While it’s clear Peyton isn’t going to get a good grade for his performance in this outing, let’s take a look at how some of the other impact players measured up.

Grading Key Falcons Performers

Matt Ryan—A

The Falcons signal-caller was incredible in this game. He finished 24-of-36 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

While he could have been a bit more accurate, that is about the only knock on Ryan’s prime-time showing.

He was elusive in the pocket against a young defense that loves to pressure the QB and committed no turnovers when throwing on the run.

His dominant outing is certainly worthy of an ‘A’.


Roddy White—A

Move over Julio Jones, because White reestablished himself as the top dog in ATL on Monday night.

The veteran receiver hauled in eight receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, which was far more than Jones’ four catches for 14 yards on seven looks.

Teams are going to have to pick their poison when facing the Falcons receivers in 2012, as both White and Jones are absolutely devastating when facing a No. 2 corner or left in single coverage.

White had the hot hand on MNF, and he rode it to a dominant performance.


Tony Gonzalez—A

It seemed like Gonzalez turned the clock back on Monday, as his showing against Denver reminded many of us of his time with the Kansas City Chiefs.

T. Gonz compiled a solid stat line of seven catches for 70 yards and a TD on 10 targets, becoming Ryan’s second-favorite target on the night.

This elder statesman proved that even at the age of 36, he’s still one of the most dominant tight ends in the league.

Grading Key Broncos Performers

Willis McGahee—A

While the rest of the offense struggled for most of the game, McGahee was one of few bright spots for the Broncos.

He had 22 carries in the contest, racking up 112 yards and two late touchdowns to make it interesting in the fourth quarter.

McGahee wasn’t able to help Denver finish their comeback attempt, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort, and his fantasy owners are quite happy.  

Peyton Manning—D

The Broncos $96 million man showed signs of rust on MNF.

He was 24-of-37 for 241 yards and a TD, which isn’t awful, but his three early interceptions are what cost Denver the game.

Manning was also sacked three times in the contest and didn’t get the offense clicking until the game was out of reach and time was too much of a factor.

He’s got to be better in the future and must not dig this young team into such a big hole, as they clearly struggle to climb out.


Demaryius Thomas—B

Thomas is quickly establishing himself as Manning’s top target, recording eight receptions for 78 yards and scoring the only passing TD on the night for Denver.

He had 11 targets, which is three more than Eric Decker—the No. 2 guy in the Broncos offense.

After piling up five catches for 110 yards and a TD in Week 1, it seems Thomas will be a dominant force in the passing game for the rest of the season.

His performance could have been a bit better, but he did his job and put up solid fantasy numbers as well. 


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