Texans vs. Broncos: The Broncos' Biggest Winners and Losers
The Texans improved to 3-0 with the victory, while Denver fell to 1-2.
Once again, Denver allowed their opponent to score 21 unanswered points, putting themselves in a big hole. For the second week in a row, Denver played great fourth-quarter football, staging a comeback that came up just short.
The play of Denver was far from miserable overall, yet inconsistencies and poor decision-making once again plagued them. Players who performed well last week were disappointments this week. Players who had been struggling stepped up. Peyton Manning had a good game but threw far too many incompletions.
Long story short, Denver needs to get all 53 of their men on the same page. Right now, they are all over the place.
Winner: Wesley Woodyard, LB
Wesley Woodyard has become one of the most consistent figures on the Denver defense. In addition to playing excellent pass coverage throughout the entire game, he can be used effectively as a pass-rusher and a run-stopper.
Woodyard got two solo tackles Sunday and caught a sick interception which he almost took to the house.
Woodyard's consistent play is certainly being noticed and appreciated in Denver.
Loser: Manny Ramirez, OG
Denver is desperately missing Chris Kuper's presence on the offensive line, and his absence is becoming even more obvious since his fill-in, Manny Ramirez, is not playing up to par.
Ramirez committed a holding penalty Sunday that wiped out a big play, and he looks generally uncomfortable on the offensive line. He's not shifting at the right moments, losing his balance easily, and he is clearly overwhelmed both by the speed and strength of opposing pass-rushers.
Denver may have to start thinking about making a shift on the offensive line, which could include moving Orlando Franklin to the guard spot and starting Chris Clark at right tackle.
Winner: Mike Adams, S
Mike Adams really stepped it up this week and showed the Denver fanbase that he was a worthwhile offseason signing.
The former Cleveland Brown was all over the field on Sunday, breaking up three passes and collecting three tackles.
After Tracy Porter was pulled from the game, the Denver cornerbacks were operating with a man down. (Nickel corner Chris Harris assumed Porter's role.) Adams took advantage of this situation to hustle and make his presence felt on the field.
Loser: Von Miller, LB
This might have been one of Von Miller's worst games in a Denver uniform. He collected only two tackles, neither of them solo, and failed to make an impact on the play of Houston quarterback Matt Schaub.
Miller is known for his pass-rushing abilities. Yet when he is held in check, like he was Sunday thanks to the Houston offensive line, he can be shockingly ineffective.
Miller did not hit or sack Schaub, and the only time he did get to him, he blew the play by unnecessarily driving Schaub into the ground, absorbing a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.
Denver needs to find ways to use Miller as more than just a pass-rusher; his play can become predictable otherwise.
Winner: Rahim Moore, S
Rahim Moore did not play well in Atlanta last week, and he surely got criticized during tape sessions this week. He was often in the wrong place at the wrong time and missed many tackle opportunities.
Clearly, Moore took careful notes during the week and adjusted his game play. He collected a game-high eight solo tackles and rarely let a receiver get any yards after the catch while they were in his zone.
If Moore and his fellow safety, Mike Adams, play like they did Sunday every week, safety can be a very strong asset of Denver.
Loser: Tracy Porter, CB
Tracy Porter, who played brilliantly in his first two weeks, had a miserable showing against the Texans on Sunday. To add insult to injury, (not literally) Porter didn't even play an entire half.
Porter, who before Sunday was being hailed as a great complement to corner Champ Bailey, was absolutely embarrassed by Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter on a 52-yard touchdown catch. Walter completely beat Porter and made him look like an old man.
Following the play, Porter was pulled from the game. It didn't seem like this was because of injury, and this is certainly very concerning. As I mentioned in the introduction slide, consistent play is a vital key to winning games.
Right now, Porter is just one of many players on Denver who are having a roller-coaster season. Sunday, Porter dropped...big time.
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