The Broncos fell flat against the Raiders in a 32-23 loss in Las Vegas on Sunday. It was the fifth consecutive loss at the hands of the Raiders, and dropped Denver’s record to 2-2.
Here’s how the Broncos graded out…
QB Russell Wilson – A-
A few great throws stand out from Wilson. He hit Eric Saubert high between the linebackers and the safeties. He hit KJ Hamler deep when he got behind the defense. He hit Courtland Sutton across the back of the end zone and he pulled the trigger before he’s come free past a pair of defenders. All three balls were right where they needed to be. He finished the first half with one incompletion on 11 attempts. He had two important runs, a conversion on 3rd & 9 and a touchdown.
He missed a couple of throws in the second half though, mostly when the game was out of hand. He finished with 17 completions for 25 yards and two touchdowns and four carries for 29 yards. He didn’t turn the ball over.
RB Javonte Williams – B-
The torn ACL is the story of the night for Williams, but he put together an alright day before he left the game on the first play of the third quarter. The numbers aren’t great—10 carries for 28 yards—but most of that can be blamed on the offensive line. On one run he may have been able to bounce outside instead of taking the four-yard gain but you can’t blame him for taking what’s there when the offensive line is struggling. He put his nose down and plowed through a defender on 4th & 1. He had his two best runs of the day right after Melvin Gordon fumbled.
RB Melvin Gordon – F
Four fumbles in four games. This one was on his first touch. Given the circumstances, there’s no way to give him a better grade. His only priority was holding onto the ball. He also had a drop that would’ve given the Broncos a few more yards of space for a punt deep in their own territory. He finished with three carries for eight yards, despite picking up seven on his fumble.
RB Mike Boone – C-
Boone blew a blitz pickup that allowed a drive-ending sack. He dropped a pair of passes at the end of the game that probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome but definitely were a bad look. He was solid as a runner though, which saved his day. He picked up 20 yards on three carries in a three-play span.
TE Eric Saubert – C
The 25-yard catch up the seam was the highlight of the night for the Broncos’ tight ends. It salvaged Saubert’s grade in a rough night blocking.
WR Courtland Sutton – B
Russell Wilson’s go-to target made an early splash with a slant route for a first down on the Broncos’ first play. His touchdown in the back of the end zone was one of the Broncos’ highlights of the day. He finished the day with five catches for 52 years and a touchdown on seven targets.
WR Jerry Jeudy – B
The slot fade for 32 yards was the show-stopper. The touchdown on the skinny post was another highlight. But a missed block on a dumpoff to Javonte Williams and a drop that could easily have turned into an interception make the performance feel a little hollow. Still, four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown is a solid day for Jeudy.
WR Kendall Hinton – B
Hinton served as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver and held his own. He wore a hit after his first catch. He got into the hole on the sideline and made a guy miss on his second catch, which went for 35 yards. He wasn’t able to separate on his deep-ball opportunity but that’s not really his game. Two catches for 39 yards is a solid night.
WR KJ Hamler – A
Fifty-five yards on one target while only playing four snaps? Yep, that’s a good night.
I have a feeling we’ll see more of Hamler next week.
LT Garett Bolles – D
Two holding calls are two too many. He made a couple of good blocks but not enough to negate the pressures he allowed and the penalties.
LG Dalton Risner – C-
Risner was beaten on a couple of occasions, including on a short run in the second quarter. He also made a couple of nice blocks, including when he pulled and led the way on Mike Boone’s first carry. He was also called for a false start.
C Lloyd Cushenberry – F
The Broncos’ offensive line struggled and Cushenberry had the worst day of anybody. He ended multiple runs by not blocking his man at the second level. On one instance, the short-side toss at the beginning of the game, almost no center would’ve been able to make the play. But there were no redeeming plays. But Cushenberry struggled consistently all night, often getting pushed backwards. He didn’t have any key blocks, either.
RG Graham Glasgow – C-
Glasgow led the way on Javonte Williams’ longest run of the day. His fourth-quarter hold could have been a brutal blow.
RT Cam Fleming – D
Working solo against Maxx Crosby isn’t easy, and Fleming did that often. He held up occasionally, like when he made Crosby a non-factor on Courtland Sutton’s touchdown, but he also gave up plenty of pressure. He missed a block in space that ended Montrell Washington’s screen, too.
DL DJ Jones – B
Jones slipped blocks like usual but wasn’t able to get into the backfield like usual. He stuffed a run on the first play of the second drive but that was his only notable play in the run game. He was pushed out of the hole and onto his back on the Raiders’ first touchdown run.
Jones provided one of two sacks for the Broncos’ defense, which came on a stunt. It ended the Raiders’ second drive at their own two-yard line.
DL Dre’Mont Jones – B+
You would’ve expected worse from Jones, considering how poor the rushing defense was on Sunday.
He provided a tackle for loss deep in the red zone, sparking a defensive stand that held the Raiders to three points on their opening drive. He had another tackle for loss at the goal line later on in the game, too. A pair of fourth-quarter stuffs added to his solid night and a slight pressure on the first play of the Raiders’ game-clinching drive provided an incompletion that could have been more important if the game had played out differently.
When he was pushed around, it was mostly because of double-teams. His false start knocks his grade down slightly.
DL DeShawn Williams – C
Williams had a pressure that forced a throwaway on the first drive and got into the backfield on the game0clinching drive, but didn’t do much in between.
OLB Randy Gregory – B-
The knee injury that will keep Gregory off the field for at least a few weeks limited his snaps on Sunday, but there’s still plenty to grade. He forced a throw short of the sticks with a pressure. He should’ve had a sack on Derek Carr’s long scramble before the half but was tackled from behind. It should have been a holding. Gregory had a quiet day overall. Maybe that would’ve changed if he’d been on the field in the fourth quarter.
OLB Bradley Chubb – B-
Chubb forced a third-and-goal incompletion with a pressure. He helped with a key stuff on the Raiders’ game-clinching drive. He broke up a third-down screen in the fourth quarter. But he didn’t provide as much pressure as you’d expect and he gave up the edge on a couple occasions, including on a Davante Adams jet sweep at the end of the game.
Josey Jewell – C–
The linebacker made a couple of big plays, like a tackle for loss late in the game and when he helped with another tackle for loss on the first drive, but there were too many mistakes. He was late to fill his gap on a fairly-long Josh Jacobs run. He let Davante Adams get by him one-on-one in the flat late in the game.
Jewell also had to play conservatively in coverage, since he isn’t anything special in coverage. That meant he had to back of Darren Waller to respect the deep route, allowing a quick out underneath, for example.
LB Jonas Griffith – D+
The 25-year-old linebacker was too often in the wrong spot. He wound up in the backfield on a play that went right past him on the first drive. He was blocked out of the hole on a couple of occasions. He missed a tackle in the hole on Josh Jacobs’ longest run of the day and couldn’t make the tackle on a 13-yard, first-down run on the game-clinching drive.
Davante Adams beat him in pass coverage on a couple of occasions. We’re only bumping Griffith down for one of the completions when his only job was to stop Adams from getting outside hi. That’s a reasonable assignment. He didn’t complete it.
Pat Surtain II – A
The matchup of the night was Pat Surtain vs. Davante Adams. Surtain won.
Adams caught a couple of back-shoulder balls, but Surtain had three loud breakups. The first was on third down at the goal line. Adams broke inside and Surtain was all over him. The Raiders were forced to punt. Then Surtain stuck on Adams on a slant and got his hand on another ball. The last PBU was on the sideline just before the half. Adams finished with 101 yards but he only caught four of his eight targets for 46 yards against Surtain.
CB Ronald Darby – B-
It was a quiet night for Darby. The biggest play he allowed was a pivot route to Darren Waller on a third-quarter third down in the red zone. He wasn’t aggressive attacking the run, which showed up on the first touchdown of the Raiders’ day, but it was all-in-all a decent, forgettable performance.
CB K’Waun Williams – B+
Williams made one of the Broncos’ two sacks, which came on a blitz out of the slot. He was also physical in the run game, making a couple of strong tackles on the edge. He was beaten on a 3rd & 5 dig in the third quarter.
S Kareem Jackson – C-
It was a tough night for the Broncos’ veteran safety. He missed a couple of tackles, including when he gave up a few extra yards that turned a 3rd & 3 into a first down on the game-clinching drive. He was around Josh Jacobs’ legs on the first touchdown run but it was a really good play just to funnel him inside and also make contact, so he doesn’t lose points there. Still, his physical presence was missed.
S Caden Sterns – D+
The second-year safety wasn’t the sure tackler the Broncos needed him to be. He missed the tackle on the Raiders’ final touchdown. He had a hand on Josh Jacobs on the previous touchdown but it looked like he assumed Kareem Jackson was going to bring him down. He was knocked backward on another tackle. There were a couple of solid tackles, including a clean one in the hole in the third quarter, but he was too inconsistent for a positive grade.
K Brandon McManus – B
The missed PAT wasn’t his fault. He made his two other extra points. He made his only field goal attempt from 28 yards. His kickoffs were fine.
P Corliss Waitman – B+
The one touchback on the night could’ve been saved at the one-yard line. Two of five punts ending up inside the 20 is still solid. A 48.2-yard average is nothing to scoff at. All-in-all, good stuff.
LS Jacob Bobenmoyer – F
The bad snap on the extra point was a killer. Sure, the Raiders had just missed an extra point of their own but the Broncos faced a nine-point deficit that could have been a one-score game instead. Regardless of the situation, one bad snap from a man whose only job is to snap is worthy of an F.
PR Montrell Washington – A
The rookie started his day with a 30-yard return. He picked up 23 yards on his second. Then he gained 13 on his third. You can’t ask for more than that.