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Broncos Game Grades: Analyzing the individual performances in an embarrassing loss

Andre Simone Avatar
December 28, 2018

Throughout the entire 2018-19 season, BSN Denver will be giving you game grades from every Denver Broncos contest. Evaluating all the starters and beyond to give you a better look at the team’s strengths and weaknesses on a game-to-game basis.

For the second time in three weeks, the Denver Broncos traveled to the Bay Area, against another cellar-dwelling team only to get embarrassed 27-14 by the hated Oakland Raiders.

Here’s how it all transpired.

Standouts from the game:

Derek Wolfe: A

  • Wolfe was getting off his blocks early, playing active against the run and having his way with Oakland’s rookie offensive tackles, forcing the Raiders to run away from him as the game wore on.
  • Created pressure on a strong 2nd-and-20 bull rush, jamming the right tackle into the QB and forcing a rushed throw.
  • Was masterful on a tackle for loss dominating the LT at the point of attack and swallowing up RB DeAndre Washington in the backfield.
  • Had a strong run stuff generating penetration at the very end of the game and holding Doug Martin to no gain.

Bradley Roby: A-

  • Roby was only targeted once the entire night, allowing a short three-yard reception while covering the slot. He played sticky coverage most of the contest.
  • While his effort against the run was put under the microscope on the broadcast, Roby actually played well, was almost always in the right position and fought hard on outside runs.
  • Flew downhill to get a run stuff on Martin with a nasty tackle on the perimeter, made a key shoestring tackle on a 3rd-and-8 draw that went for five yards.

Connor McGovern: B

  • McGovern was solid in pass protection throughout the first half and created good push for the inside run game.
  • Astutely picked up a delayed blitz midway through the third and kept the QB clean allowing an eight-yard completion.
  • Got beat on an inside stunt, allowing penetration up the middle down in the red zone on Sutton’s TD, and allowed another pressure late on an incompletion.
  • A mixed bag but ultimately a performance that saw the center make more positive than negative plays.

DaeSean Hamilton: B

  • When targeted, Hamilton was an efficient route runner, getting open underneath and scoring a TD while beating man coverage to cut off the DBs angle.
  • Beat double coverage up the seam on an overthrown pass by Keenum that could’ve been a momentum-changing TD. 
  • Did a nice job getting open for his first 15-yard reception with a nifty double move and converted 3rd-and-3 later on off of a smooth drag route for six yards.


Domata Peko: C+

  • Peko was a non-factor in the first half, struggling to stand up double teams.
  • Finally made a play on a three-yard run up the middle by Martin where he clogged the interior.
  • Played well against the run late in the fourth as the Raiders tried to milk the clock, generating two stuffs by plugging the interior.
  • Had his flashes at the end but not enough to get Denver closer to winning.

Adam Gotsis: B

  • Gotsis had some high-end plays but also seemed to wear down in the second half losing ground to the run game. Poor field condition and fatigue seemed to have an effect.
  • Did a nice in a two-man game with Chubb that resulted in a big 3rd-and-7 sack on the opening defensive drive.
  • Had a key deflection at the line in the two-minute drill prior to the half, forcing an incompletion. 

Bradley Chubb: B-

  • Chubb was dropped in coverage far too often early on and actually did a fine job holding TEs to consecutive six-yard gains with sound tackles after the catch.
  • Was key on Gotsis’ sack, taking on blockers while coming off a twist to free up No. 99.
  • Did a nice job getting loose with a stutter move off the edge to hurry Derek Carr.
  • Generated two assisted run stuffs, setting a strong edge and was active in pursuit on the backside chasing down RBs.
  • An odd performance with little impact as a pass rusher but a strong showing in other areas.

Josey Jewell: C+

  • Jewell had his moments against the run with two stuffs and battled in coverage on RBs while also conceding a couple big plays.
  • Had no chance guarding Jalen Richard in space as he got burned for 14 yards to the flats, did better but still got outran by Martin on a flat route for a nine-yard gain.
  • Did a good job chasing No. 28 down across the formation and stuffing him after a two-yard gain with less than seven minutes remaining.
  • Played strong coverage to the flats on Keith Smith, holding the RB to a one-yard gain on 3rd-and-7 on the very last Oakland possession.

Todd Davis: D

  • Davis’ impact as a thumper against the run was lacking, and he had a few key mishaps in coverage, too, none bigger than a pass interference flag on a Jared Cook crosser in the second quarter.
  • Had a couple strong stops on Martin but also whiffed on a tackle on an inside run.

Von Miller: C-

  • Von seemed very impacted by the Raiders early lead and poor field conditions which severely limited his impact as a pass rusher.
  • Coming off the edge, he was able to rush a Carr throw for an incompletion in the second quarter, impacting the pass as he pushed the LT into the backfield.
  • Seemed to be in perfect position to close on a Martin run up the middle off the back side but just couldn’t close down on the RB who took off for 11 yards.
  • Read a quick dump off to the flats to perfection knocking the ball down to force an incompletion.
  • Set a strong edge, forcing an outside run towards the sideline for a run stuff.
  • Had Martin dead to rights in space but couldn’t make the tackle, allowing the RB to get to the sticks on a nine-yard gain.
  • Far from his best effort.

Darian Stewart: B-

  • Stewart allowed Jordy Nelson to get open on 3rd-and-10 over the middle, where he could’ve jumped the throw that was right at him.
  • Did a good job flying up the middle on the goal line to hold Martin to three-yard gain on 1st-and-goal.
  • A limited performance that lacked any major flashes or errors.

Justin Simmons: B-

  • Simmons was targeted three times all game, conceding two short throws for 13 yards and forcing a 3rd-and-2 incompletion while playing strong coverage on a Nelson crosser.
  • Got lost in the shuffle down in the red zone, playing in the box, as Martin cut outside for a crucial 14-yard gain.

Tramaine Brock: B-

  • Brock was challenged six times, allowing three receptions for 38 yards while always in the right position and stifling any potential long gains. 
  • In close to perfect coverage, he just got out-leveraged inside by Nelson for a 12-yard reception as the ball went over his outstretched arm on a crucial 3rd-and-4 conversion.
  • Was the most targeted DB in the game and allowed the most yards but was solid in this one.

Other noteworthy defensive performances:

Brandon Marshall: C

  • Marshall struggled early, reacting slowly on a Martin outside run that resulted in his 24-yard TD and was flagged for roughing the passer on 3rd-and-7 falling into the QB’s feet.
  • Generated a nice run stuff on 3rd-and-6 spinning out of a block to shut the run down.
  • Blanketed Martin to the sideline forcing an incompletion, in an up-and-down showing.

Isaac Yiadom: B-

  • Yiadom had a strong game, battling with Nelson most of the evening and allowing three receptions for 27 yards on five targets.
  • Forced a 3rd-and-4 incompletion down the sideline, blanketing the veteran WR, was beat on 3rd-and-3 by Nelson in press on a hitch route where he just didn’t react quickly, conceded 14-yards on an in route playing soft off coverage, and got juked for six-yards after a short dump off.
  • A valuable performance with encouraging signs of improvement, though far from perfect.


Garett Bolles: C+

  • Bolles was solid in pass protection throughout the game with a few notable exceptions.
  • He got beat off the snap and allowed consecutive pressures off the edge resulting in incompletions to end the half.
  • He also got completely undressed on an inside move on 3rd-and-14, resulting in holding flag.
  • Was also flagged on a false start in the game’s dying moments.
  • A sound performance with some maddening bouts of inconsistency.

Billy Turner: B-

  • Turner was flagged for a costly holding penalty while run blocking early on, but settled in after that with some exhilarating flashes as a run blocker creating push up the middle.
  • Got beat inside on 2nd-and-8 to start the second quarter, forcing Keenum to scramble and leading to a Karl Joseph sack in pursuit.
  • Did a nice job blocking on the move for a Lindsay six-yard gain.
  • Was sound pass protecting Oakland’s lackluster line.

Elijah Wilkinson: F

  • The starting right guard struggled run blocking and was overpowered on two separate occasions, conceding run stops. 
  • In pass protection, he had his moments but was also pushed back on 3rd-and-3 flushing Keenum out the pocket for an incompletion. He was then beat inside by Clinton McDonald forcing the QB to take off and run.
  • A sloppy performance in all faces of the game.

Jared Veldheer: D+

  • For the majority of the game, the veteran right tackle played soundly but also had some key mishaps.
  • Allowed pressure on 3rd-and-3 off a botched cut block, forcing an incompletion.
  • Again, Veldheer allowed pressure off the edge on 3rd-and-12, forcing the QB to climb the latter on another incompletion.
  • The vet fell apart in the dying moments of the game with a poor block out on the edge on 3rd-and-4 where he was called for holding, and subsequently getting called for false start on 4th-and-14 in an embarrassing finale.

Phillip Lindsay: C+

  • Lindsay ran tough up the middle, exploding through gaps for medium gains and making the first man miss regularly.
  • Amazingly recovered a fumble without losing a beat on an option pitch to convert 4th-and-1.
  • Bonced a 2nd-and-4 run outside when he had blockers creating push up the middle, one of the rare forced runs outside he’s had all year.
  • Made a nice catch and run on a check down throw underneath for 10 yards and was injured shortly afterward, ending his game and season.

Courtland Sutton: C

  • Sutton was targeted early and often on third down, converting only one of three opportunities.
  • Struggled to create YAC and get open on quick routes underneath.
  • Couldn’t haul in a big 47-yard throw at the end of the first quarter, dropping a tough diving grab.
  • Was flagged for a costly PI on a pick play, nullifying an easy 3rd-and-2 conversion.
  • Made some tough contested grabs in the short-to-intermediate game.
  • Got open and worked back to the ball on a scramble drill TD in the red zone.

Brian Parker: C

  • Parker was absent in the first half outside of a short target in the two-minute drill that wasn’t all that close to him.
  • He started the second half with an 11-yard reception to the flats, and soon after got open on a short dump off, though Keenum didn’t see him, opting to run instead.
  • The TE was sound blocking as well, if unspectacular.

Case Keenum: D-

  • Keenum’s most telling plays came pre-snap, as he had a terrible delay of game penalty on 4th-and-1 and struggled to read blitzes in a sloppy effort.
  • Only had success on short dump-offs early as his deep ball accuracy was lacking. The timing with his receivers looked off, he missed Sutton on 3rd-and-4 and overthrew Hamilton over the middle on what could’ve been a big TD deep.
  • Third down was a struggle, converting only 3-of-11 attempts for first downs.
  • Did a good job converting a couple first downs with his legs, including a huge 17-yard scramble midway through the third quarter.
  • Made two nice plays on his TD throws, staring down an all-out blitz and delivering a timely pass to Hamilton and then scrambling to find Sutton for his second score.
  • The first interception was an absolute backbreaker, leading Tim Patrick too far as his ball placement was off most of the game on passes that exceeded 10 yards.

Other noteworthy offensive performances:

Andy Janovich: D

  • On just 12 offensive snaps, Jano struggled as a blocker getting beat twice by Arden Key on a pair of tackles for a loss, and then conceding a sack in pursuit by safety Karl Joseph.
  • Made a nice catch and run for 11 yards, fighting for extra yardage.

Tim Patrick: C+

  • Patrick had a big deep ball over the middle that he dropped before getting hit on a vicious head collision, but made up for it with an insane contested catch down the sideline for 26-yards, falling down to haul in the pass.
  • Also ran a nice route on a double move to get open on 3rd-and-1 for a big 13-yard conversion.
  • Struggles as a blocker continued in an inconsistent performance where he was also stopped for -7 yards on a rushing attempt.

Special Teams: F

Breaking down the individual performances here isn’t even necessary, as the special teams unit fell flat on their face. First, they allowed a disastrous 99-yard return that doomed the Broncos from the start, they then missed a field goal to end the half and were penalized on two separate returns.

Nothing the special teams unit did brought Denver any closer to winning.

Coaching: F+

Bill Musgrave‘s offensive plan has been figured out, as the outside run game and the play-action pass have been completely nullified, and Denver’s offense has been unable to adjust. 

Joe Woods’ ‘D’ was flagged for too many men on the field, and penalties got the Raiders going on their first scoring drive in the second quarter. Outside of that, the defense was the only sound unit holding the Raiders to fewer yards and first downs than Denver’s offense.

Vance Joseph‘s team played sloppy football, committing costly penalties in the game’s biggest moments. The Broncos didn’t look ready to start the game and never adjusted to get back in it, marking one of Joseph’s worst coaching jobs of the season.


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