The Denver Broncos finally got all eight cylinders rolling on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Peyton Manning looked a little off at times, but that simply didn't matter as the wide receiver corps exploded for 476 passing yards and a plethora of touchdown catches - mostly due to Demaryius Thomas checking in as beast for the first time in 2014.
On the other side of the ball, this was easily the most dominant performance by the defense this season, with Von Miller recapturing his 2012 self and Chris Harris Jr. continuing to show the NFL that he is among the Top 5 cornerbacks in the league.
This week's "in focus" should be rather enjoyable, because who doesn't love having their team throw up a fortyburger? I keep saying that word, but it never gets old. Fortyburger.
LT Ryan Clady +1.9. The offensive line shined tonight, but really only in pass protection, because run blocking just doesn't seem to be anyone's forte right now. Clady finished in the red on run blocking, but his pass protection was so awesome that he took home the best offensive score of the evening. Ironically, when one guy is doing his job well it makes sense that the guy next to him gets a chance to shine as well and that's exactly what happened.
LG Orlando Franklin +1.1. Franklin was huge in the passing game, but his -1.2 in the running game really hurt his score this week. Even so, he and Clady finished with almost identical pass protection marks, which means Peyton Manning barely had to think about his blind side all afternoon. The result? Oh, just four touchdown passes and 41 points. I'd love to see this kind of production in the pass protection are from Clady and Franklin every single week!
WR Demaryius Thomas +0.5. I think PFF screwed up here by giving him a -1.5 in "pass blocking". Seriously, when should Demaryius Thomas ever be pass blocking? He's a ****ing wide receiver. Anyway, his +2.0 for, you know, pass catching is fairly dominating. In fact, his two touchdown catches were so impressive and displayed exactly how and why he is one of the two or three best wide receivers in the league. First, yards after the catch and stiff arming power.
Second, pure speed. You let him beat you and he will outrun anyone left in pursuit for that end zone. I think this might be the fastest I have ever seen Demaryius Thomas run. Just WOW, this dude has wheels!
Needs Improvement: With one of his worst games as a starter, Julius Thomas gets the dunce cap this week. Sure he caught a couple of big touchdowns, but outside those plays he was just plain awful. His -2.1 is much worse than it seems as the touchdowns helped offset that a bit. Not only was he horrible in run blocking and pass protection, but he sprained a guys MCL on a really stupid cheap shot chop block. No one on the team wanted him to do that, so he needs to stop being stupid and start playing with some intelligence in the blocking game.
Chris Harris Jr. +4.1. Yes, that's a ridiculous number for one game. Chris Harris Jr. is thriving since coming back from his ACL injury on Week 1 of the 2014 season. With no offseason, no practice, no prep time other than recovery work, Harris is leading the way of an increasingly impressive pass defense. Now if only their linebackers could stop screens to running backs. If you disagree, here are some stats that you may not be aware of.
Opposing No. 1 WR stats vs #Broncos through 4 games: T.Y. Hilton 5-41-0, Dwayne Bowe 3-40-0, Percy Harvin 7-42-0, Michael Floyd 1-7-0.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 6, 2014
Von Miller +3.8. This would also be ridiculous for one game, if it wasn't for Chris Harris one-upping Miller on Sunday. Miller has gotten progressively better each week and on Sunday he brought many of us back to his 2011-2012 stretch of greatness we all remembered. I think we can all move past the suspension and season-ending injury that plagued him in 2013 and enjoy the run he appears to be about to embark upon in 2014. The dude is an animal. Or beast, if you will.
The Defensive Line +5.5. The defensive line was incredibly stout against the Cardinals with Terrance Knighton, Marvin Austin and Malik Jackson all posting over a 1.0 PFF rating and all but one defensive lineman posting a positive score overall. If you plug Von Miller in there and you got a +9.3 rating from these guys. Now that is a good day at the office!
Needs Improvement: The only guy who really struggled according to PFF was Aqib Talib at -1.5. However, his rough day at the office really didn't do much to take away from the incredible pass rush and run dominance of the front seven. I am sure Talib will get back on track against Geno Smith and the New York Jets.