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Broncos vs. 49ers game balls: Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and more

Broncos 42, Niners 17 means the MHR Staff gives out game balls!

Justin Edmonds

Peyton Manning

All the superlatives in the world cannot encapsulate the moments we have witnessed as Broncos fans since Peyton Manning has been a part of the team. Manning can be considered a limited quarterback. His armstrength is average at best and his mobility is something only a mother can love. Yet time and again he stands apart as one of the greatest to play the game. There's something to be said about work-ethic, preparation, and execution, and no one in the game past or present can close to the way Manning prepares for and plays the game.

Peyton has now thrown 111 touchdown passes in 1459 career attempts as a Denver Bronco. That means he throws a touchdown once every 13 attempts. For reference, the one quarterback closest to his frequency was Johnny Unitas who managed to throw a touchdown once every 17.8 attempts. - Bronco Mike

DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus Ware, with a big high five to Von because these two edge rushers consider themselves a team, and so do I.

Ware had his best game of the season so far and possibly one of the best of his career, as he pulled Colin Kaepernick to the dirt three times - adding a fake spin move that might land him on Dancing with the Stars in a few years - and bringing his sack total to seven through six games this season.

DeMarcus Ware fake spin move

His performance also vaulted Ware up the all-time sacks leader board a few spots to 15th as he notched No. 124 for his career. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Demaryius Thomas

You likely caught it on Sunday Night Football, but Demaryius Thomas has strung together three games unlike anyone else.

After starting the first three weeks of the season going 13/147/1 he has gone 26/521/5 in the last three games if you include his numbers against the 49ers, Thomas is fourth in the NFL in yardage (662), first in yards per game (110), has the longest touchdown reception on the year (86t), tied for fourth in touchdown receptions (six) and tied for second in 40+ yard touchdown receptions (four). I think that he's got his swagger back. - Ian Henson

Von Miller

In case you didn't know, Von Miller was a beast again on Sunday. He posted two sacks, four quarterback hurries and three stops. His +6.2 ProFootballFocus grade was a team best. Sorry Peyton, but Von is still the beast in Denver.

Miller is spearheading a defense that has been the leagues most dominant unit over the last three weeks. After bottoming out at 31st in pass defense prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Orange Crush has steadily moved up. Add that to a third ranked run defense and you have something worth mentioning every week. 

Is it February yet? - Tim Lynch

Ronnie Hillman

While two games is still a small sample size in my eyes, I still have to hand it to Ronnie Hillman. He's really finally showing this year the kind of promise we were hoping for when we drafted him. I was on the record this offseason in saying that he was the guy from last year that needed to go. This crow tastes good. I absolutely love being wrong like this: 14 rushes, 74 yards, 5.3 ypc, 2 TD with 4 catches for 29 yards. His running style has been a breath of fresh air and a superb compliment to our passing attack. - Sadaraine

Defensive line

The defensive front 4 - On first down, the 49ers ran the ball 9 times for 7 total yards. Yeah, you read that correctly, 9 carries for a whopping 7 yards. That included two TFLs and one stop for no gain. Admittedly this was against two backups starting on the SF OL, but that is domination against a team whose bread and butter is running the ball. Overall the big nasties up front limited the 9ers to 62 yards on 18 attempts 3.4 ypc with a good chunk of that occurring in garbage time against the backups (Hyde's carries for 10 and 9 yards occurred with the Broncos up by 32 points). - Joseph Mahoney

Chris Harris Jr.

Harris has still not allowed 100 receiving yards the entire season, cumulative, through all games. He's only allowed 21 yards since the bye (as he's gotten healthier). He continues to make a strong case for the unofficial "Best Cornerback in the NFL" award, as well as the official "Comeback Player of the Year" award. - Monty

Honorable mentions

Aqib Talib hauled in another interception and had a sick tackle in space in the red zone against the 49ers.

Paul Cornick had his first career start at right tackle, and while things looked shaky for awhile there, he pulled himself together nicely (and the run game seemed to improve).

Brandon Marshall continues to grow as he gets more and more game time and had probably his best game Sunday.

Emmanuel Sanders hauled in Touchdown #507 from Manning, but it was after several 100-yard games, it was only his first Broncos touchdown. Congratulations to him!

Who gets your game ball?