In the Week 10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, I had to give the Broncos Game Balls to Peyton Manning, Von Miller and Trindon Holliday for Offense, Defense and Special Teams respectively. I don’t think there would be much argument there, unless the coaching staff was mentioned. Anyway, instead of renaming these as the Miller and Manning awards, I thought I should just skip to the Horseshoes.
The Golden Horseshoe on Offense for Week 10 goes to Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas. Bay Bay was targeted 11 times on Sunday. He caught 9 for 135 yards, a 15 yard average. 5 resulted in 1st Downs and his longest, a 46 yard catch, set up the final score for the Broncos, a 5 yard run by rookie Ronnie Hillman. Demaryius had four receptions of 15 yards or more for the game. Thomas leads the Broncos in catches (54), yards (891), average (16.5) and has 4 Touchdowns this season. 33 of those 54 catches have resulted in 1st Downs (61%).
Brandon Stokley is the recipient of the Silver Horseshoe this week. On 5 Targets, he made 4 receptions for 54 yards and the first Touchdown in Sunday’s contest. The other three catches resulted in a 1st Down. For the season, Stoke’s has 28 receptions for 332 yards and 4 Touchdowns. He has been targeted 35 times for an 80% catch rate. 21 have gone for a 1st down and adding the 4 TD’s, that means only three of Brandon’s catches did not move the chains. I’d say this 36 year old has plenty of value.
One more thing. The Broncos have amassed 128 1st downs by Passing. Brandon Stokley is responsible for 16.4% of those and Demaryius Thomas 25.8%.
I’m going to give some more love to the big guys up front this week. The Broncos Offensive Line is the best pass blocking unit in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus and the stat line over at NFL.com supports that as well. Denver's O-Line has allowed 49 total pressures, 2 fewer than any other unit. They have surrendered 24 hits on their Quarterback, which ranks 1st (the Buccaneers are 2nd with 26 and the Eagles have the most with 77). Their 11 Sacks Allowed are tied with the Texans for the least in the league. (the Cardinals have allowed an NFL worst 41). At 10:21 in the 3rd Quarter of Sunday’s game, they allowed the 1st Sack of Peyton Manning in over a month. In Week 5 vs. New England, Rob Ninkovich strip Sacked Manning with 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter. Up to that point, Denver's Offensive Line had not allowed a Sack in 15 Quarters, a span of 174:49 in game clock time. For some reason, it wasn’t attributed to anyone in particular. I went to the film and saw that it wasn’t a coverage Sack either. Here is what happened on the play.
Carolina Left Defensive End Charles Johnson was lined up in the gap between Tight End Joel Dreesen and Right Tackle Orlando Franklin. At the snap, Dreesen went into a pass route and Orlando Franklin was engaged with another defender. Johnson came in unabated to Peyton Manning and made the strip Sack. It looked to me like Franklin was following his coverage call, so maybe this one is on Manning for not recognizing it.
The Golden Horseshoe on Defense this week is one you will vote on. The Defensive backfield really shone on Sunday. Chris Harris had 7 Tackles, 2 Tackles For a Loss, a Sack and a Quarterback Hit. Safety Mike Adams had 4 Tackles, 1 for a Loss, a Sack, a Quarterback Hit and a timely Safety. Rahim Moore had 4 Tackles, 1 Pass Breakup and his first Interception of the year. Tony Carter had 2 Tackles, a Pass Breakup and his 2nd Interception of the season, a 40-yard pick six.
It was Carter’s second defensive score of the season (He had a 65-yard Fumble Recovery Touchdown at San Diego in Week 6) Tony is the only player in the NFL to return both an interception and fumble recovery for a touchdown this season.
With that said, the Silver Horseshoe is being given to the Broncos Defensive Line, who accounted for 4 of the 7 Sacks on Cam Newton (57.1%), 3 of the 7 Pass Breakups (42.8%) and 3 of the 10 (30%) Tackles For Loss on Sunday.
For the season, the Broncos Defensive Line has accounted for 13 of the team’s 33 Sacks (39%), 20 of the 40 Quarterback Hits (50%) and 47 of the 90 Quarterback Hurries (52%). The guys in the trenches are certainly doing their job.
Punter Britton Colquitt takes the Golden Horseshoe for Week 10. Britton punted six times on Sunday, with a 48.0 yard average and a 46.3 Net. His longest went for 60 yards. Colquitt placed 3 punts Inside the 20 yard line where 2 of them were downed. He forced one Fair Catch and 3 were returned for a total of 10 yards, a 3.3 yard average.
The Coverage Unit gets an Honorable mention for holding Captain Munnerlyn to a 3.3 Punt Return average and Armanti Edwards to a 17 yard Kick Return average.
Overall, this was a great team win on the road. This week, the San Diego Chargers come visiting the Mile High City. Don’t hold your breath San Diego!
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