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Broncos Game Grades: Jerry Jeudy provides his best performance of the season in Denver's 27-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders
The Denver Broncos’ season ended on a low note.
The Broncos lost 27-14 to the Raiders in their finale in Las Vegas. Denver finished with an 8-9 record, and their losing streak to the Raiders extended to eight games. The Broncos still haven’t beaten the Raiders since they moved from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Here’s how the Broncos’ offense graded out…
Jarrett Stidham: C- — Stidham took a beating on Sunday. Tyree Wilson hit him four times. Maxx Crosby hit him four times. Three other Raiders hit him too. Stidham was sacked five times.
Despite the beating, Stidham made some plays. He split a couple of defenders on a throw to Brandon Johnson that picked up 36 yards. He hit Johnson again for a 25-yarder. Jerry Jeudy had a 24-yard touchdown catch and another 47-yarder. The touchdown was mostly Jeudy’s doing, but the deep ball was a pretty throw into a gap in the zone.
Stidham’s 276 passing yards were the third-most for a Broncos quarterback this season. He could have had more if Courtland Sutton had held onto one of the three balls that hit his hands before hitting the ground. All of them would have been tough catches.
Half of Stidham’s 20 completions were dump-offs to running backs. His ball to Jeudy was his only completion 20 yards downfield despite a handful of tries. The game’s final play was a deep ball up the right sideline that was underthrown because of pressure and wound up intercepted.
Javonte Williams: B- — The Broncos got Williams going in the short passing game. He served as an outlet option and picked up 43 yards on seven catches. Williams didn’t have a great day on the ground, picking up 32 yards on nine carries.
Jaleel McLaughlin: D+ — This is a tough one because McLaughlin didn’t have much to work with. On one play, it took great vision and burst to turn nothing into three yards. His long run was a six-yarder. But the other two carries combined for a loss of three.
Michael Burton: A — Marvin Mims Jr. caught a short pass and ran for a first down on 3rd & 15 because Burton sealed the edge and gave him a lane to cut upfield.
Courtland Sutton: D- — Courtland Sutton didn’t have three drops, but he had opportunities to bring in three balls that wound up hitting the ground. Expecting him to catch them all is unreasonable. Catching none of them is a tough day, though.
Sutton caught one pass for two yards. He was also called for offensive pass interference.
Jerry Jeudy: A — A 47-yarder. A 24-yard touchdown. 79 total yards.
Jeudy played his best game of the season on Sunday.
Brandon Johnson: A- — No Broncos rusher or receiver has gained 100 yards in a game this season, but Johnson came close in the season finale. The second-year receiver caught four of his five targets and gained 88 yards.
After a steady dose of slants in Week 17, the Broncos ran him a little deeper in Week 18. He picked up 36 yards on a play-action crosser in the first quarter. He sparked an early fourth-quarter drive with a 25-yard crosser. He converted a 4th & 10 by stopping in a gap in a deep zone in the fourth quarter.
Johnson wasn’t perfect; he missed his blocking assignment on a toss on the first drive and gave up a tackle for loss, but he had one of the best games of his career.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey: C — After a big game last week, Humphrey was quiet against the Raiders. His only target was on a third-down drag in the first quarter. Humphrey sat in the middle of the field. Stidham expected him to keep running. It’s tough to say who screwed up, but the result was a punt.
Humphrey was as solid as ever as a blocker.
Marvin Mims Jr: B+ — As always, Mims’ grade depends on how much you weight his special teams production. Mims took the opening kickoff out of the end zone and carried it across the 30-yard line. He picked up 33 yards on his three punt returns.
Mims ran 22 routes on Sunday and was only targeted once. He converted a 3rd & 15 with a drag route on that play.
Adam Trautman: B — Trautman sparked a scoring drive with a 21-yard catch on a crosser in the third quarter. That was his only target.
Nate Adkins: C- — Adkins only played eight snaps. Seven of them were great. He gave up a hit on Jarrett Stidham on the other.
Garett Bolles: C- — Other than a first-half holding penalty, Bolles was steady for the majority of the first three quarters. But in the final 20 minutes or so, Bolles struggled. He gave up a couple of pressures. He gave up a sack on the final drive. He did not have a highlight outing.
Ben Powers: C+ — Powers led Javonte Williams into the end zone for a wildcat touchdown in the fourth quarter. He also missed a block on a screen in the second. Overall, a solid day. Nothing special.
Lloyd Cushenberry III: B+ — I took a peek at Pro Football Focus’ numbers and was shocked by how many pressures they credited Cushenberry with. Shocked. To me, it’s tough to find flaws from the Broncos’ center on Sunday. He missed a block in space on a screen, but other than that, I thought he had a great day.
Quinn Meinerz: C+ — Meinerz probably deserves the blame for the drive-ending sack after halftime, but it’s tough to say for sure. He thought the linebacker was coming and picked him up. The center pushed a defensive lineman his way. I’m putting the blame on Meinerz. (I might be wrong, in which case Meinerz deserves a much better grade, and Cusheneberry should be knocked down.)
Cam Fleming: D — Fleming had a tough day, but it wasn’t as tough as I thought on first watch. Fleming was lined up one-on-one against Maxx Crosby for most of the game. Crosby won the matchup—as you’d expect—but Fleming locked him up more often than I’d realized.
A lack of chemistry showed up occasionally, like when the Broncos ran a toss to his side, and Fleming left to get a linebacker before finishing a combo block with Adam Trautman.
But what did you expect? A “D” grade is always ugly, but for a backup tackle going one-on-one against Maxx Crosby, the day could have been much worse.