Broncos vs. Texans: Live Game Grades and Analysis of Denver

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIDecember 22, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Eric Decker #87 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against the Houston Texans during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos (12-3) started slow but pulled away late on Sunday, defeating the Houston Texans (2-13) 37-13.

With the win and a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs to Indianapolis, the Broncos have clinched the AFC West division title.

NFL history was also made on Sunday as Peyton Manning reached 51 passing touchdowns on the year, breaking the mark of 50 set by Tom Brady in 2007.

Denver can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a New England loss to Baltimore or a win over Oakland next Sunday.


Final Score:

Broncos - 37

Texans - 13

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after throwing his fourth touchdown during the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Image
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Final Analysis for the Denver Broncos

Passing Offense: Peyton Manning added to his stellar season, throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns on the day.

Passing Defense: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mike Adams both came up with athletic interceptions in the game. The one made by Adams set up a key touchdown that allowed Denver to begin to pull away.

Rushing Offense: Denver ran for over 100 yards as a team and gained over six yards per attempt. However, they called just 18 run plays compared to 51 pass plays.

Rushing Defense: The Broncos were able to hold Houston to just 3.3 yards per carry and a total of 87 yards in the game.

Special Teams: Matt Prater kept up his strong pace on the year with field goals of 25 and 44 yards. Through 15 games, Prater has missed just one field goal all season.

Coaching: Defensively, the Broncos played a strong game against Houston, even with Von Miller leaving early with a knee injury. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio called a good game. Still, the penalties must be addressed this week.

Denver Broncos Game Grades
Positional Unit1st-Half GradeFinal Grade
Passing OffenseAA+
Passing DefenseAA-
Rushing OffenseCB-
Rushing DefenseAA
Special TeamsB-B
Week 16 vs. Texans


First-Half Analysis for the Denver Broncos

Passing Offense: Manning threw for almost 300 yards in the first half alone. The connection between him and Demaryius Thomas has proven tough to stop for Houston as they have hooked up seven times for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Rushing Offense: Denver ran the ball just eight times in the first half, but they averaged 7.4 yards per carry.

Passing Defense: Houston quarterback Matt Schaub has played very poorly in this game and the Denver defense has allowed just 66 yards passing thus far as a result.

Rushing Defense: The Houston running game hasn't been any better. With injuries keeping both Arian Foster and Ben Tate out, there isn't much of a threat in the Houston backfield.

Special Teams: Kick returner Trindon Holliday almost broke a few big returns against the team that released him last season. He had 76 return yards in the first half.

Coaching: Penalties are hurting Denver and that is the reason they aren't leading this game by a larger margin. The coaching staff needs to address this as it has been a problem over the last few games. In the second half, it wouldn't hurt to mix in some more running plays. They threw the ball on 80 percent of their offensive snaps in the first half.