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Game Balls: Dolphins at Broncos

The Denver Broncos won a shoot-out with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Our staff hands out game balls to the players who made an impact.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Our team dug a big hole in the first half. We spent the second half climbing our way back out, highlighted by a huge 22 point 4th quarter performance. Given the points put up on the board, I have a feeling we won't see much in the way of our defensive players this week, but to be fair they did a solid job in the 2nd half.

Game Balls

C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson has breathed new life into the Broncos running game. The stats here line right up with the eye test too: 27 rushes for 167 yards and 1 TD on the ground with 4 catches for 27 yards receiving. It isn't just because of an improved performance by the offensive line (though it was). He LOOKS like a legitimate NFL running back on the field. I don't see a hint of a consistent hole in his game: he pass protects well, he runs with authority, he catches passes out of the backfield like a boss, and he has the talent to make guys miss in the open field. ~ Sadaraine

Peyton Manning

A week after having one of the worst performances in his season, Peyton Manning stepped up and did what he should do. Move the chains and make plays. Manning is now 8-0 in his career after a loss. This was a top 5 defense in both yards and points and the Bronco offense moved the ball at will. It's nice to have balance. ~ Bronco Mike

Virgil Green

When Virgil Green is on the field, the Broncos have success. They're undefeated(maybe a coincidence) when they have Virgil Green playing. On Sunday he put his mark on the offense. He consistently was helping out the offensive line pass block, and opening up running lanes for C.J Anderson who had a career game.

I touched on this some on Horse Tracks on Saturday, but the Broncos have a lot more success running the ball when they have Virgil Green out on the field. I believe it's safe to say he's a very important piece to the Broncos offense, and important to it's success going forward. ~ Scotty Payne

Omar Bolden

So why does omar Bolden deserve a game ball? It's not for getting their early on the final Miami TD drive and getting flagged for pass interference. It's for his work on kickoff returns. He was able to return three for 31, 29 and 40 yards.  While that may not seem gameball worthy relative to some of the games the Holiday managed for us,  it is lightyears ahead of what Caldwell did in the last 6 games. Caldwell took his first KO return of the season for 54, since then he has 10 for 198 including one game where he failed to bring one back more than 16 yards. Bolden looked like he belonged back there returning kickoffs. A game after we didn't start a drive beyond our own  21, starting drives at the 23, 29 and 40 seems like a vst improvement. ~ Joe Mahoney

T.J. Ward

When TJ Ward was signed by the Broncos, most people believed that Ward would be a massive upgrade at the safety position and would be a big difference-maker on the defense. In the pre-season, Ward was around the ball at all times, making tackles on nearly every play he was on the field for (or so it seemed); however, until yesterday's game Ward went relatively unnoticed in the Broncos secondary, except for when he was allowing gains to opposing tight ends. That being said, Ward stepped up huge in yesterday's game against the Dolphins; he was only credited with three tackles by Pro Football Focus, but he seemed (as in pre-season) to be contributing to every single defensive play. JDR used Ward effectively in blitzes for the first time all season, and Ward delivered with some quality quarterback pressures. Finally, without Ward's interception in the fourth quarter, the Broncos likely wouldn't have won the game yesterday; the pick changed the entire course of the game, and allowed Denver to take a two-score lead which would eventually be enough to fend off the visiting Dolphins. Yesterday was not Ward's highest-graded game, but it was most certainly the most impact he's had on a game this season, and he deserves a game ball for that performance. ~ Jacob Dearlove

Offensive Line

The O-Line has been needing some love for a long time, but it hasn't really deserved it until now. Between reshuffling and replacements, it's been a rough 11 weeks for our favorite punching bags. Until tonight. They weren't perfect, but they were so much better. And in this game, "so much better" was really necessary. Broncos had 201 yards rushing offense - amazing! - and of their 25 first downs, 10 were from running plays -also amazing! While CJ deserves a lot of credit, the O-line was giving him some help. Peyton Manning's only sack was really his own doing as he tripped on a third down play, and Broncos had to try for a field goal (which they missed, but that goes in a different story). The first offensive line penalty didn't come until just before the half, and the only other two came late in the fourth quarter. And all this against the NFL's top defense. Solid all around. ~ Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas saw his seven game streak of one-hundred yard games come to an end amongst a barrage of touchdowns. Ten catches for 87 yards and three touchdowns is all that it took for Thomas to certify that not a single Broncos analyst or fan would mention Julius Thomas until Julius was healthy and ready to play again. Demaryius would will himself open at certain points against the Dolphins and lead the team in catches with ten. Demaryius came into the game second in the NFL in yardage with 1,105 and tied for 25th in touchdowns with 6. He left the game leading the NFL in yardage and tied for sixth in the NFL (at the time of this writing) in touchdowns (third amongst receivers and tight ends). ~ Ian Henson


Our team is now 8-3 thanks to the great play of these guys and the rest of the team. Who's missing up here? Who needs to Bronco Up next week? Who needs to hit the streets? Talk amongst yourselves.