For the second straight week, the Denver Broncos defense dominated the opposing offense as they did against the New York Jets on Sunday. The ProFootballFocus scores will reflect that today as well. On a day when the Broncos offensive line had one its worst days in recent memory (Super Bowl anyone?), the defense helped ensure Peyton Manning would be able to put up just enough points to get out of MetLife Stadium with a victory.
Naturally, fans always want the blowout obliteration, but football is great because its never easy all the time. On any given Sunday, plays can straight up ball and beat a theoretically better team. This is what draws most of us into true fanaticism for the sport and I'll take a two touchdown win every day of the week and twice on Sunday!
Besides it wasn't as close as people think.
This week's "in focus" is another highlight for the defensive side of the ball. Collectively, the offense scored a whooping -8.8 so it was hard to find three guys worthy of mention today. In fact, there were so many top performers on defense that I feel bad that I couldn't profile them all. I will definitely mention them though!
TE Julius Thomas +1.8. After posting one of his worst scores of the last two years, Julius Thomas broke out big time against the Jets, especially in the red zone. In fact, five of his six targets came in the middle of the field, including both of his touchdowns. It was just too f***ing easy. Thomas now has 9 touchdowns on the season and is on pace for about 29 in the regular season. Yeah. That is just disgustingly yummy.
RT Chris Clark +1.5. The only positive grade along the offensive line came from the guy most would expect to do so. Chris Clark played a solid game in both pass protection and run blocking. This is even more incredible given the rest of the offensive line was absolutely terrible.
WR Demaryius Thomas +1.1. Demaryius Thomas built upon last week with a solid 10 catch for 124 yards effort against the Jets secondary that just couldn't seem to keep him from catching the ball on Sunday. Phillip Adams was abused the most as Thomas had four catches for 75 yards against him. Once again, there is little doubt that DT is among the leagues most elite group of wide receivers.
Needs Improvement: The offensive line as a group definitely needs improvement. Outside of Chris Clark, they posted a collective -9.2 with Manny Ramirez leading the way with an atrocious -5.9. Ryan Clady struggled in pass protection, but Louis Vasquez and Orlando Franklin just couldn't get the job done in the rushing game at all. These guys are better than this and need to show it against a far superior 49ers defense next week.
OLB Von Miller +5.2. I think we need to just make this top spot the "Von Miller spot", because he seems to be right here every single week. There's Von Miller, then there is everyone else! With two sacks and relentless pursuit on every play its no wonder he is able to achieve such high scores week in and week out. Geno Smith was probably just happy to get out of that stadium with the game-ending pick six. I would be too.
DE Derek Wolfe +2.8. It's fairly obvious that Derek Wolfe will never be a big time pass rusher, but his run defense is just as important to the success of a defense as is Von Miller's quarterback destruction. In on most of the run plays the Jets ran, Wolfe was a huge part in that stout run defense, but he also had a sack and a batted pass. The Broncos are quietly moving into the Top 5 against the run.
CB Bradley Roby +2.5. Speaking of quietly, is Bradley Roby the best defensive rookie in the league right now? So far through five games, Roby has 21 tackles and a sack. He is an underdog thought unless he gets some of those interceptions, which is what the "experts" all look for when voting for these kinds of things. I like those interceptions too, of course.
Honorable Mention: Two other guys scored a +2.1 and finally one was a linebacker in Corey Nelson. He was joined by Malik Jackson. Both were stellar in the run game. DeMarcus Ware and Rahim Moore also added excellent scores. All around, it was an epic day for the Denver Broncos defense.
Needs Improvement: For the second straight week, Nate Irving has struggled in both pass coverage and run defense. So much so that he posted a -1.2 even though he was only on the field for 16 total plays - down from 76 plays two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks. He needs to get his head back into it.