The Denver Broncos are hitting their mid-season stride after dismantling the San Francisco 49ers on national television. Peyton Manning broke records, while the rest of the team put up some impressive ProFootballFocus stats. We are finally seeing the team everyone thought we would see from Week 1.
From the first drive, it felt like this game could become a blowout win. However, I kept expecting Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers to come back to make a game of it like so many other teams have done this year when the Broncos have a double-digit lead. Not this time. The Broncos finally found their killer instinct.
This week's "in focus" is just filthy. The offense put up combined score of +13.3, while the defense had their scores hampered by a weak showing in the 4th quarter when the backups come out in force. That said, Von Miller helped prop everyone up with the most ridiculous score of the day.
QB Peyton Manning +4.5. In just three quarters of work, Peyton Manning just went 22/26 for 318 yards and 4 beautiful touchdowns. Manning was having tons of fun last night and why not, the Broncos just destroyed the NFC's runner-up from last season on national television. So, anyone know what the next record is they Manning is close to breaking?
WR Demaryius Thomas +2.7. Demaryius Thomas is on fire over the last three weeks, notching 226 yards, 124, and 171 yards receiving with five touchdown catches. He is right back among the league's best statistically. Thomas is back on pace to have another dominating season and it was fitting that he was the guy to catch the historical 509th touchdown pass from Manning.
RB Ronnie Hillman +2.4. In Ronnie Hillman's best game as a pro, he also showed off his best individual run of his career on a jaw-dropping 37 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. I wish I could say the run blocking was just as bad as it was when Montee Ball was starting, but its not. The offensive line is finally starting to run block with some sort of relative efficiency.
Needs Improvement: Paul Cornick struggled mightily in his first start, posting a -2.1 and was abused time and again in pass protection. This doesn't bode well for Cornick as Chris Clark at least was average in pass protection. The Broncos last night gave up 4 QB hurries and 1 Sack. Cornick was responsible for that sack and three of the four hurries.
LB Von Miller +6.2. Seriously, these scores are getting ridiculous to see every week. Von Miller terrorized the offensive line all night, posting two sacks and four quarterback hurries. He posted the best mark on defense in the pass rush and the second best mark against the run. Von Miller is a complete player and firmly in his prime. How sweet it is!
LB Brandon Marshall +2.8. Brandon Marshall had his best game as a pro, playing stoutly in both run defense and rushing the passer. He has filled in more than just admirably for Danny Trevathan. He is proving that playing time is going to be a given once Trevathan returns as well. Marshall needs to be on the field.
CB Chris Harris Jr. +2.1. The best cornerback in the league, keeps on getting better. Since the Bye Week, Harris has given up 21 yards receiving. Total. That is just filthy. Richard Sherman should be jealous. Chris Harris leads the team with 10 passes defensed. Just filthy.
Needs Improvement: Rahim Moore had a really rough game last night, posting an awful -3.4. It was even worse in pass coverage as he finished with a -3.7. It's not a complete disaster, as T.J. Ward also posted -2.1, so it seems the safeties just had an awful day all around. They'll need to pick things up against Philip Rivers on Thursday Night Football.