Broncos vs. Panthers: Instant Grades, Analysis for Denver

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVNovember 11, 2012

Broncos vs. Panthers: Instant Grades, Analysis for Denver

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    The Denver Broncos went down to Carolina for an early Sunday game and put a hurting on the Panthers, defeating them 36-14. 

    Denver improves to 6-3 on the year and has won four games in a row while the Panthers fall to 2-7.

    The story of this game was the Denver defense. The Broncos harassed Cam Newton from the outset and held him to a very pedestrian performance. They played a very aggressive game and had an interception return for a touchdown.

    Trindon Holliday was able to break off a return for a score, this time on a punt, for the second week in a row.

    Click forward for game grades and analysis for the Broncos.


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    Overall Grade: A-

    Fourth Quarter: B+

    Manning was just 2-of-8 passing in the fourth quarter but he did eclipse the 300-yard mark for the sixth time this season. He finished the day with a QB rating of 103.1 and is putting together a fabulous season.

    Third Quarter: A

    With performances like this, Manning is showing why he is in the running for league MVP. He is making all the right reads and making very good throws.

    On the day, he is 25-of-30 passing for 249 yards. He made a throw on the last play of the third quarter to tight end Joel Dreessen for 22 yards that very few other quarterbacks would make.

    Second Quarter: B

    Manning continues to be efficient in this game and he has done what he does best in taking what the defense has given to him.

    He has thrown for just 135 yards in the first half but he's completed 16-of-20 passes. The way the first half has gone, the Broncos may not need a massive game from Manning to win, for once.

    First Quarter: A

    Peyton Manning had a very efficient first quarter, completing 6-of-7 passes for 69 yards. The Broncos scored on a very well-designed play where they got everybody going one way, and Manning then threw the ball back to the middle of the field where Brandon Stokley was wide open for a 10-yard touchdown.


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    Overall Grade: B-

    Fourth Quarter: B

    Denver never really got the running game going but Ronnie Hillman did score his first NFL touchdown, a five-yard dash with 3:23 remaining. Denver outgained Carolina by over 100 yards despite having the ball for almost four minutes less.

    Third Quarter: B+

    Thomas did come out to start the second half and appears to be fine. The offense hasn't been excellent but because of the defense and special teams, it hasn't needed to be.

    It's been a tough day for McGahee, as he has just 37 yards rushing to go along with a lost fumble.

    Second Quarter: C-

    The Broncos have been unable to get the running game going today as they have just 32 yards rushing on 10 attempts.

    However, Manning has been able to hit eight different receivers in the passing game and he is hurting Carolina with the short underneath routes.

    Just before halftime, Demaryius Thomas hobbled off the field and that is definitely something to keep an eye on the rest of this game and going forward.

    First Quarter: B-

    The Broncos got off to one of their typical slow starts and finished the first quarter with just 14 yards rushing and under six minutes of possession. Still, they were tied with the Panthers at seven apiece following the end of the first quarter.


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    Overall Grade: A

    Fourth Quarter: A

    Collectively, this has been the best the defense has looked all season. Miller finished the game with six tackles, four of them being for a loss. As a team, Denver sacked Newton seven times and kept him frustrated all day.

    About the only thing the Broncos hadn't done was record a safety, and with just over five minutes to play, they even did that when safety Mike Adams brought Newton down in the end zone at the 10:32 mark of the quarter.

    As if all of that wasn't enough, Denver didn't allow a single third-down conversion as Carolina was 0-for-12.

    An emphatic performance for the Denver defense.

    Third Quarter: A+

    The Broncos defense has completely taken this game over and Von Miller is having possibly his best day as a pro.

    There has been constant pressure on Newton and he has been hurried or hit on nearly every play.

    The Broncos have five sacks on the day and after Manning was hit and fumbled, giving Carolina a glimmer of hope, Tony Carter intercepted a Newton pass and ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown.

    Through three quarters, Carolina is 0-for-9 on third down.

    Second Quarter: B

    The defense has continued to apply pressure on Newton, collapsing the pocket and holding him to just 9-of-16 passing.

    While the Broncos haven't been able to run the ball, Carolina hasn't either. At the break, they have just 34 yards on the ground, two more than Denver.

    First Quarter: C

    Von Miller picked up his 10th sack of the season on the Panthers' first possession, but when they got the ball back, they couldn't keep track of tight end Greg Olsen.

    The Panthers drove the ball 77 yards down the field in just six plays, capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Olsen. On the drive, Olsen made three catches for 46 yards. Mike Tolbert also had a big 26-yard catch on the drive.

Special Teams

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    Overall Grade: A

    Fourth Quarter: A

    There have been no gaffes on special teams today as the Broncos are putting together a complete team performance.

    Prater tacked on a 27-yard field goal to put Denver up 27-7, and with his extra points he has scored 10 points on the day.

    In the return department, Denver has outgained the Panthers 169-44.

    What a find Holliday has been.

    Third Quarter: B+

    Special teams continues to be a key cog for the Broncos today as Holliday has 121 yards on seven punt returns.

    They're giving up little to the Panthers in the return game as well, yielding a total of 41 return yards.

    Second Quarter: A-

    The Broncos are leading this game at halftime 17-7 due to their special teams.

    Last week's AFC special teams player of the week, Trindon Holliday, has done it again. He opened the second quarter with a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. Luckily for Denver, it wasn't reviewed, because replays clearly showed Holliday letting go of the ball in celebration prior to crossing the goal line. The ball went out of the back of the end zone, which should have resulted in a touchback.

    Although Prater missed a field goal from 43 yards, he did put one from 53 right down the middle.

    First Quarter: B+

    Matt Prater proved he doesn't need the thin air of Denver to boom kickoffs out of the end zone, not allowing the Panthers to return the opening kick.

    Britton Colquitt had a couple of booming punts, one of which went for 60 yards.

    They kept Panthers return man Captain Munnerlyn in check as he got just six yards on two punt returns.


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    Overall Grade: A-

    Fourth Quarter: A

    It's hard to find any blemishes in the Broncos today. The play-calling has been good and there haven't been many mistakes.

    Denver was penalized seven times for 60 yards but none of them were very costly.

    This will be a very good game to go back and watch in film study because if Denver can play like this in all three phases of the game, it is going to be very hard to beat.

    Third Quarter: A

    The Broncos have gone through multiple defensive coordinators over the last few years. If Del Rio continues to have his defense performing at this level, he won't be in Denver long either, as the head coaching offers would be coming left and right.

    The coaching staff has been well prepared today and have orchestrated a nearly flawless game.

    Second Quarter: B+

    Del Rio continues to call a solid game on defense as Newton has accounted for just 11 yards rushing in the first half.

    On offense, Manning and company are taking what they can get, and if the game is played that way, Denver should win it easily.

    First Quarter: B

    Fox seems to be settling in to his old stomping grounds nicely and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio is calling a good game so far on defense, keeping Newton in check with a lot of pressure.

    The Broncos will need to get the running game going to keep the Panthers defense guessing. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy should consider some runs from the shotgun formation.