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Broncos Game Grades: Where things went wrong individually in Baltimore

Andre Simone Avatar
September 25, 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.

After a troubling 27-14 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos showed some serious issues on both sides of the ball.

After tracking every play, here’s how everyone graded out in a rough outing.

Standouts from the game

Bradley Chubb: A

  • Chubb had the best game of his young career and was a presence against the run and pass, playing tough all game and making several impact plays.
  • He split a double team, attacking the LTs inside shoulder to get a sack on the opening 2nd-and-8, on a spectacular play. 
  • Had another quarterback hit rushing Joe Flacco from behind, forcing an incompletion to set up 3rd-and-10.
  • Did a nice job setting strong edge than coming back to tackle Alex Collins for a run stuff, holding the RB for no gain. 
  • Broke through the line and stopped the RB in his tracks leading to another run stuff by Derek Wolfe.

Derek Wolfe: A

  • Wolfe had a terrific outing and was a massive presence against the run with a season-high five run stuffs.
  • Was in Flacco’s face to force the Chubb sack as the QB didn’t have a pocket to step into.  
  • Knocked a pass down at the line, forcing a third down. 
  • His only blemish came when he was flagged for being offside.

Garett Bolles: F

  • There were times Bolles created a solid push for the run but, otherwise, he had an awful game.
  • Allowed a tackle for a loss on a Royce Freeman run.
  • Was beat on a strip sack by Terrell Suggs while looking lackadaisical and slow blocking outside.
  • Had two holding penalties that really killed drives.
  • Allowed more pressure on Case Keenum flushing him out the pocket.

Case Keenum: F

  • Keenum struggled with pressure and the weather, as he was unable to make plays on the move and his arm strength fell off. 
  • Was 5-for-11 on third down and had trouble on third-and-long, going 3-for-7.
  • His red zone interception absolutely killed the Broncos, putting the nail in the coffin as he again tried to squeeze a throw into double coverage.
  • Keenum did throw some decent, on target passes, but struggled with pressure all day long.
  • He held onto the ball too long, though his receivers, line, and game plan didn’t help, as he didn’t have quick hitter looks against a banged-up Ravens back seven.


Domata Peko: B

  • Peko started off hot with several big plays against the run and was, as usual, a reliable anchor against the ground game in this one.
  • Combined with Todd Davis for a run stuff on the opening play.
  • Had another tackle against the run with Wolfe’s help, and had another stop close to the line of scrimmage.

Adam Gotsis: B-

  • Gotsis wasn’t a huge presence throughout but had a handful of big impact plays.
  • He started with a monster TFL, playing with great leverage and breaking through the line to close down on the run.
  • Added another run stop.
  • Had another pass deflection at the line.
  • Then hurried Flacco and got a QB hit forcing an incompletion.

Brandon Marshall: C

  • In 45-percent of the defensive snaps, Marshall had a few noteworthy plays but wasn’t the most impactful.
  • Played good coverage on RB to the flats, forcing a 2nd-and-10 incompletion.
  • He was targeted three other times allowing three receptions for 26 yards, as he wasn’t always the sharpest in coverage.

Todd Davis: C

  • Davis was involved in the run game and rarely tested in coverage, allowing only one reception for a yard. Still, he was far from perfect.
  • Combined with Peko for a run stuff on the opening run.
  • Was flagged for hands to the face.
  • Couldn’t get off a block on the TD by Collins to tie the game up at seven.
  • Did a nice job wrapping and tackling on a run up the middle. 

Von Miller: C-

  • Von struggled, was attacked on a few screen passes and even allowed a touchdown in coverage.
  • His impact rushing the passer was limited, though he moved Flacco off his spot, forcing him to throw on the run.
  • Flagged for neutral-zone infraction on third and long and then had another penalty later on.
  • Had a solid tackle on Collins on a run up the middle.

Darian Stewart: B-

  • Stewart was cleaner in coverage, though he was responsible for at least one broken coverage.
  • He did a nice job in coverage early on John Brown, forcing the receiver out of bounds and getting the third and long stop. 
  • Had a good run stuff coming screaming up the middle and breaking through the line to close on the play. 
  • No. 26 also came up with a quarterback hurry, forcing the ball out quickly as he got through on a blitz.
  • He also allowed a crucial 3rd-and-1 conversion as the QB outran him to the sticks.

Justin Simmons: A-

  • Simmons had his best game in coverage of the season, allowing two short receptions for three yards, getting downhill and closing on plays in a hurry.
  • He did allow a first down conversion on a 3rd-and-1 attempt.
  • He made a few tackles against the run too, especially a nice stop on Collins after a five-yard gain.
  • He was effective on a blitz getting in Flacco’s face as well and had one of the plays of the game with a field goal block.

Bradley Roby: C-

  • Roby was targeted eight times, allowing five receptions for 63 yards. This was the first game all year he forced an incompletion when a quarterback targeted a man he was covering
  • He did a better job tackling and reacting quickly to underneath throws.
  • Still, Crabtree high pointed the ball on him for a big gain.
  • Willie Snead got 17 yards on him, and he allowed another decent gain to Brown while trying to jump a crossing route. 
  • Was lucky Flacco missed Brown deep on a poorly-played ball that could’ve been a huge play.
  • All in all, not a great outing, but he showed some improvement. 

Chris Harris Jr.: B

  • Surprisingly, Harris was picked on quite a bit. He was targeted seven times and conceded two receptions for 22 yards.
  • The biggest gain he allowed was a Willie Snead 15-yard gain.
  • He did a nice job playing the ball, yanking the football out of Crabtree’s hands, and had a clean day in coverage, even if he wasn’t able to punish Flacco for throwing his way as often as he did.

Other noteworthy defensive performances:

Shane Ray: B

  • Appearing in 43-percent of the snaps, Ray had a monster strip sack to force a punt with a minute left in the first half.

Isaac Yiadom: F

  • After picking on Roby and Harris, Flacco turned his attention to Yiadom, targeting him five times for four receptions and 68 yards. 
  • His worst play was a deep reception to Brown down the sideline for 44 yards.
  • Didn’t look quick in reacting to plays, flying downhill to get stops. 
  • The young CB did have a good tackle on a TE down on the goal line, delaying a TD.
  • Was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the second kickoff while on the sideline. 

Josey Jewell: B+

  • On 52-percent of the defensive snaps, Jewell was impressive, getting two run-stuffs and a TFL while wracking up eight tackles on the day. 
  • He even had a great play in coverage running with a TE down the sideline and knocking the ball down.


Ron Leary: D

  • Leary wasn’t smooth allowing a run stuff and a sack in pursuit.
  • His worst blemish was an unnecessary roughness penalty that was very costly, taking the Broncos out of field goal range.
  • Allowed a pressure on a blitz up the middle, splitting him and Paradis.

Matt Paradis: C

  • Paradis was far from perfect but managed to not allow any major plays, though he struggled to create push for the run game.
  • He did allow a run stop, getting stood up on a run up the middle. 
  • He was clean in pass protection aside from allowing a pressure on the aforementioned blitz, conceding a third-down stop.

Connor McGovern: D-

  • McGovern struggled, getting flagged for two holding penalties.
  • He did a nice job recovering the football after Suggs’ strip sack.
  • He then allowed a QB hit on a scramble and allowed another pressure up the middle before holding.

Jared Veldheer: C+

  • After getting beat badly on a swim move for a 3rd-and-2 sack, Veldheer played a clean game.
  • His impact as a run blocker was limited, with few runs going outside to his side, but he was fairly clean in pass protection. 

Royce Freeman: C

  • Freeman had an uphill battle and scored a touchdown, showing good patience running behind his blocks.
  • He did a great job cutting back a few more runs for 15 and 10-yard gains respectively.
  • Ran tough up the middle but not consistently.
  • At times, he didn’t read his lanes and was tackled for no gain, as he wasn’t able to make a defender miss in space. 

Emmanuel Sanders: B-

  • Sanders opened things up by running untouched on a reverse for a big time 35-yard TD.
  • He did a good job spinning out of multiple tackles to get a three-yard gain, as he was rarely targeted early on.
  • Made a tough grab to the ground to get close to the sticks after a bad holding penalty on McGovern.
  • His one blemish was a dropped pass on a quick crosser over the middle.
  • Wasn’t getting open at will as he usually does.

Demaryius Thomas: B

  • DT led all Broncos receivers with 63 receiving yards hauling in all five of his targets.
  • He made a nice play on a comeback to get the 3rd-and-2 conversion with a 12-yard play.
  • On another back shoulder pass, he did a nice job bringing in a 17-yard reception to convert second and long.
  • He also drew a pass interference flag.
  • He still wasn’t wracking up YAC or breaking tackles after the catch but had an underrated game. 

Jeff Heuerman: N/A

  • Heuerman was clean as a blocker, though he didn’t open up any holes and was seldom used in the passing game. 

Other noteworthy offensive performances:

Courtland Sutton: C+

  • Sutton made a big-time grab on 3rd-and-11 in tight coverage, fighting for extra yardage.
  • He made a great block on the Sanders reverse TD run.
  • Had a bad drop on the sideline on third down.
  • No. 14 had another great catch down the sideline on third-and-long to get a crucial conversion. 

Devontae Booker: D

  • Forced onto the field more than Denver would’ve liked after Lindsay’s ejection, Booker was far from explosive, struggling to make the first defender miss consistently.
  • He had at least two runs that went nowhere and had nothing to do with the line, as he wasn’t making cuts and just tripped over Bolles’ feet at one point. 
  • He made a strong catch and run to get a 3rd-and-6 conversion.

Andy Janovich: C

  • Janovich allowed a run stuff on the second drive.
  • He then had a dive play getting a 3rd-and-1 conversion up the middle.

Special Teams: A

Joseph Jones had a huge day, with a terrific tackle on the opening kick off to set the Ravens back and then blocked a punt. He was one of the game’s unsung MVPs.

Justin Simmons also had the huge blocked FG.

The only blemish for the special teams unit was punter Marquette King, who struggled, averaging only 41 yards per punt on the seven attempts he had. 

Coaching: D

Bill Musgrave was again a bit too conservative on early downs and struggled to put together a plan that exploited that exploited the Ravens banged up back seven. 

With the clock running down, and down two scores, Musgrave chose to run it up the gut twice on 2nd and 3rd-and-1.

Joe Woods’ ‘D’ struggled to stop screens as Baltimore used the screen pass as a way to attack the edge rushers. There were still broken plays in coverage that hurt throughout. 

Vance Joseph had his worst game of the season with some puzzling game management strategies, burning timeouts early and challenging debatable calls.

It’s easy to talk about the penalties, but those are a direct reflection of the staff, as the team didn’t look prepared for adverse conditions in a road environment.

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