Denver Broncos vs New York Giants: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Denver
It was an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball. The Broncos started out the game slowly but, once again, came alive in the second half.
The ground game was sparked by veteran Knowshon Moreno. He was able to take advantage of the Giants defense, as they were solely focused on stopping the passing game.
The Broncos defense did a good job against Eli Manning and company. They picked off Manning four times on the day. Denver's pass rush also made Manning more uncomfortable as the game went on.
Special teams were on point as well. Denver got another big play when Trindon Holliday scored a touchdown on a punt return in the fourth quarter.
Check out the grades for each Broncos player against the Giants.
Peyton Manning: A+
It was just another day at the office for Peyton Manning. He started out hot and attempted 16 passes in the first quarter alone. At halftime, Manning had 200 yards passing on 29 passing attempts.
Manning finished the game with 307 yards passing, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He became the third player in NFL history to compile over 60,000 career yards passing.
He did a good job of distributing the football to many different receivers. Eight different players caught passes from Manning on Sunday. Manning does a good job of keeping a defense on their toes, and he doesn't tip off where he's going with the ball as the play unfolds.
With 769 yards passing in two weeks Manning is still on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards for the first time in his career. He only needs to average 302 yards passing per game to reach that mark.
Knowshon Moreno: A
Once again, we saw Moreno in the starting lineup for the Broncos. He's the most trusted back on the Broncos' roster and can be used effectively as a runner or receiver out of the backfield.
Moreno had a 20-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter where he followed right tackle Orlando Franklin down the right sideline.
In the second half, we saw even more from Moreno. On their first drive in the third quarter, Moreno had two carries in a row that went for 17 yards combined. Later on in the quarter, Moreno had another touchdown run, this time from a distance of 25 yards.
He did a good job of being patient and allowing blocks to develop in front of him. Moreno was also a standout player when asked to protect Peyton Manning.
Moreno finished the day with 13 carries for 93 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also chipped in with three catches for 14 yards. Moreno has emerged as the clear lead back for the Broncos.
Montee Ball: D
Ball looked good as a receiver out of the backfield early in this game. He had two catches for 27 yards in the first half and four carries for 10 yards as a runner. Ball had a costly fumble near the end zone on the team's first drive.
The rookie finished the game with 12 carries for only 16 yards, an average of 1.3 yards per carry. He recorded no more catches in the second half.
Ball has not impressed as a runner in two weeks of regular-season action. As I noted on Twitter, he needs to stop wasting steps behind the line of scrimmage and be more decisive as a runner.
Ronnie Hillman: C-
Hillman didn't get a lot of work in the first half for the Broncos. He lined up once in the backfield and got a carry for one yard. Hillman also lined up wide on a passing route, but did not get the ball thrown his way.
With this tiny workload, it's difficult to give Hillman a grade on his performance.
The Giants played umbrella coverage on the Broncos to open up this contest. That lead to mostly short passes for the wide receivers in the first half. Thomas had three catches for 27 yards through the first two quarters of the game.
He was unable to shake free for a long target Sunday, as the Giants sold out to cover deep. Thomas still showed great run after the catch ability on his short receptions. He finished the game with five catches for 52 yards on Sunday.
Wes Welker: A
Welker and Peyton Manning had difficulty hooking up to start the game today. We saw Welker targeted seven times in the first half but only had two catches for 37 yards.
In the second half, the Broncos offense came alive, and Welker was a part of that. On the team's first series in the third quarter, Welker ended the drive with a two-yard touchdown catch. Welker finished the contest with three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Eric Decker: A
In the first half, Decker had more catches than he did in Week 1. He was targeted five times and came down with three catches for 27 yards in the first two quarters. Decker did have one drop on a wide receiver screen.
Manning kept feeding Decker the football in the second half. He led the team in catches on Sunday, finishing with nine catches for 87 yards. Decker also had the most targets on the day with 13 passes thrown his way.
Decker had a poor performance in Week 1, and it's good for his confidence to have a bounce-back game this week.
Andre Caldwell: C
Caldwell came through, again, as a reserve player for the Broncos. He was on the field to give Demaryius Thomas a breather and made his lone target count. Caldwell hauled in the longest reception of the day with a 36-yard catch.
Julius Thomas: A
Thomas was targeted seven times in the first half against the Giants. The safeties were paying him more attention this week, and Thomas hauled in four catches for 32 yards in the first two quarters.
In the second half, we saw more of Thomas. He stretched out for a touchdown in the third quarter and, once again, proved difficult for the defense to match up with.
Thomas finished the game with six catches for 47 yards and one touchdown. With his consistent play, Thomas has become a trusted target for Peyton Manning.
Virgil Green: B
Green had one reception in this game that went for five yards. He's asked to be a run blocker mostly. Green did an excellent job on Knowshon Moreno's second touchdown run. It was Green who sealed the edge on the play. That block allowed Moreno to scoot to the second level untouched as he went to the end zone.
Jacob Tamme: C
Tamme played primarily on special teams and, for the second week in a row, did not record a reception for the Broncos.
Ryan Clady: A
Clady was playing well on Sunday afternoon against the Giants. He did a good job of keeping the pass rush away from Peyton Manning.
In the fourth quarter, Clady went down with a left foot injury. After the game, Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk reported that Clady was going to be okay, according to a source.
Zane Beadles: B
Beadles played strong against the Giants pass-rushers. He did allow one quarterback hurry during this game.
As a run blocker, Beadles was a standout player. He and Manny Ramirez teamed up on most downs to double-team an opponent. Beadles also did a good job of getting to the second level as a pulling guard.
Manny Ramirez: B
Ramirez continued his strong play in Week 2. He and Beadles teamed up to take on bigger defensive tackles. Ramirez did a good job of holding his ground in pass protection.
As a run blocker, Ramirez was able to move defenders out of his way.
Louis Vasquez: A
Vasquez can handle most defenders by himself. His power was on full display as a run blocker. Both of the touchdown runs by Knowshon Moreno went to the right side behind Vasquez and Orlando Franklin.
As a pass-blocker, Vasquez did a good job of stonewalling his opponent.
Orlando Franklin: B
Franklin was a road grader with his stout run blocking. He was able to bulldoze the Giants out of the way on both of the touchdown runs by Moreno.
He even did a good job of slowing down any pass-rusher he faced.
Chris Clark: C
Clark came in for an injured Ryan Clady with about three minutes to go in the game. He held his own as a run blocker. While the Broncos didn't throw much during his time in the game, Clark did a good job when he was asked to pass block.
Robert Ayers: B
Ayers did a good job of setting the edge as a run defender. He was able to consistently keep contain and force run plays to the inside. Ayers had three solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss.
He was didn't record a sack, but was able to hurry Eli Manning on a couple of throws.
Derek Wolfe: C
Wolfe didn't make the impact some had hoped for in Week 2. The Giants kept him away from Manning, and he only recorded one quarterback hit on the day.
Wolfe was solid as a run defender, collecting three tackles and one solo tackle.
Malik Jackson: C+
Jackson did a decent job as a rotational player for the Broncos. His strength and tenacity led to two quarterback hits as the Giants were in catch up mode.
Jackson had one tackle for a loss and was generally around the football when he was in the lineup.
Kevin Vickerson: C+
Vickerson set the tone for the Broncos run defense early. He was able to stand strong in the middle and push around his opponents. Vickerson was tough to run by and finished the day with one tackle for a loss.
Terrance Knighton: B+
Knighton had an especially strong contest against the Giants. He swallowed up ball-carriers nearby and was a big reason why the Giants only averaged 1.2 yards per carry on Sunday.
He finished the game with three tackles, including one solo tackle. Knighton did get a negative mark on his report card for a personal foul penalty after stuffing Brandon Jacobs near the end zone.
Sylvester Williams: D
Williams didn't get much playing time Sunday. When he did, he failed to impress. Too often, he was beat by his man and would essentially stop fighting after a few seconds.
He got no push as a pass-rusher. He seems to be slow off the football and wastes too much time hand fighting with opponents instead of getting through them.
Mitch Unrein: C
Unrein is solid, yet unspectacular. He gets into his opponent quickly and has the stamina to stay strong as the game wears on. The Broncos keep him fresh by making him a part-time player.
Wesley Woodyard: A
Woodyard was, once again, all over the field on Sunday. He showed well as a run defender where he was standing strong against power back Brandon Jacobs. Woodyard was also able to diagnose the run plays as they unfolded and quickly get to the football.
In coverage, Woodyard continued to play well and recorded one pass defensed. He even was able to record on quarterback hit on Eli Manning.
Shaun Phillips: D
Phillips didn't have the same impact Sunday as he did for the Broncos in Week 1. He was generally taken out by his man as a pass-rusher. None of his moves seemed to work, and he never got close to Manning.
Nate Irving: B-
Irving was a part-time player, but did a good job with what was asked of him. He was able to sniff out run plays and recorded one tackle for loss. Irving also did a nice job moving in space when asked to cover. He stayed in position and was able to cover tight ends or fullbacks over the middle or in the flat.
Danny Trevathan: A
Trevathan had an outstanding game against the Giants. He recorded the only sack of Eli Manning and was flying to the football no matter where it went.
He finished the game with more tackles (10) than any other Broncos defender. Trevathan did a good job in coverage by sticking with receivers through his zone.
Paris Lenon: C
Lenon played mostly special teams, but did get some playing time on defense as the Broncos were winning in a blowout.
Chris Harris Jr: B
Without Champ Bailey in the lineup, a lot of responsibility fell on the shoulders of Harris. He responded with a good game against elite-level talent.
Harris was matched up against Victor Cruz for part of the game. Cruz ended the contest with more targets (11) than any other Giants wide receiver.
He showed fantastic concentration when he was able to intercept Eli Manning on a pass that bounced off the foot of Tony Carter. Harris scooped the ball in with ease off the bounce.
Harris finished the game with six tackles, two passes defensed and one quarterback hit.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: A
Rodgers-Cromartie was not targeted by Joe Flacco in the opening game against the Baltimore Ravens. Eli Manning did go after the veteran a few times, and he held his own.
He was able to pick off Manning with a great over-the-shoulder interception in the end zone. That pick ended a drive for the Giants and got the Broncos back on offense.
Rodgers-Cromartie was credited with two passes defensed and five tackles on the day.
Tony Carter: C+
Carter will always take chances in coverage. He's also the type of player who draws some pass-interference penalties from time to time.
However, when he gambles and wins, it pays off big time for the Broncos. Carter was able to intercept Manning once in this game, as he generally made a difficult target to throw at.
Kayvon Webster: C-
Webster primarily played special teams, but did record two tackles late in the game.
Rahim Moore: B
Moore did a good job making plays all over the field on Sunday. He was an impact player who roughed up Giants receivers with big hits. Moore did draw a penalty on one such hit, even though the replay showed he led with his shoulder and not his helmet.
Moore was credited with two passes defensed against Eli Manning.
Duke Ihenacho: A
Ihenacho's spirit is infectious for the Broncos defense. He's always around the ball and loves to win collisions.
With his nose for the ball, he found his way to six tackles on Sunday. Ihenacho was also credited with one pass defensed against the Giants.
He left this game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Mike Adams: C
Adams came in off the bench and had a good game for the Broncos. The team asked him to blitz more than once, and Adams finished the game with one quarterback hit. He also compiled four tackles against the Giants.
David Bruton: C
Bruton's is the team's special teams star, but he received a few more snaps on defense against the Giants. He was able to record four tackles as a reserve player on Sunday.
Returner Trindon Holliday: A
Holliday made his presence felt with a big punt return for a touchdown in the fourth-quarter. That return went for 81 yards, as he sped through the Giants' coverage team.
On the day Holliday finished with 121 punt return yards and 34 kick return yards.
Kicker Matt Prater: A
Prater was, again, perfect on field goals (2-of-2) and extra points (5-of-5). His long field goal measured in at 47 yards.
Punter Britton Colquitt: A
Colquitt had five punts for 210 yards against the Giants. Two of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line, and his longest punt was 53 yards.