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Broncos 24 Bills 17: Game balls

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Who earned them this week Broncos Country?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Juwan Thompson

Juwan Thompson gets my game ball this week. I think most of us got pretty worried seeing C.J. Anderson hobble off the field in the first half, but it was quite a relief to know Juwan had his back. If this team has any aspirations for great things in the post-season we will need a running game. Juwan looked as good, if not better than C.J. on limited looks in this game with a big time run for 47 yards.  -Sadaraine

Peyton Manning

His stats were wimpy, his throws were wimpy and his offense was mostly wimpy yet, he put the team first and the win first. Since coming to Denver, Manning has been eatin' greedy for three seasons now and for the first time since his arrival he seems more concerned with winning than he does with proving everyone that he is back and as good as ever. This reminds me a lot of John Elway in the twilight of his career and its the only analogy that makes me feel really good about how this offense is functioning heading into the final quarter of the regular season. Peyton Manning has a running game! - Tim Lynch

Brandon Marshall

He recorded his first career interception on Kyle Orton in the 3rd quarter. With that interception, he is just the sixth player in the league to accumulate nine tackles, three passes defensed, and an interception in a single game. When asked about the interception Marshall stated, "It was a zone defense. I just read the quarterback's eyes and I saw where he was throwing the ball. I jumped right in front of the receiver. That was all she wrote. That was my first career interception."

Von Miller had praise for his fellow teammate, stating "He's definitely stepped up in the absence of [LB] Danny [Trevathan] and at the beginning of the season when he came in, I knew what type of player he was going be and I knew what type of plays he was going to make for us. Everything that he's doing is not a surprise to me because I've seen him do it week-in-and-week-out in practice." With Trevathan eligible to return in the next game against the Chargers, and the Broncos are going to have to figure out a way to get them both on the field. There is just too much talent not to. --Kelly Fleming

Wes Welker

My game ball goes to Wes Welker, with an honorable mention to Emmanuel Sanders for getting his bell rung and still standing up to bow.

On a day that was not designed to be a highlight reel for Manning and the wide receivers, Welker and Sanders made some important catches when they needed to for gaining first downs and moving the team downfield (and then were content to let C.J. Anderson do the end zone work, which really is only fair after the guy rushed for over 160 yards each of the last two weeks!)

Welker caught all six of his targets for 82 yards and had a solid 7-yard punt return. His 38-yard catch to start the second drive of the game was a huge play that eventually led to the Broncos first touchdown.

"Real pleased with Wes. He's played hard all year," Peyton Manning said of his slot receiver. "I know all those guys really want their number to be called every single play, but it doesn't always happen that way. This was not a good game for the receivers to have a lot of big numbers. Wes played well and helped us get this victory today." --Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Chris Harris Jr.

Chris Harris Jr gets my game ball this week. He's the best cornerback in the league. Announcers that do their homework before the game know this. Chris Collingsworth does not do his homework. Harris' stat line from yesterday was as about as impressive as you can get for a CB: 5 tackles (all solo), 1 sack, 1 QB hit (this was not the sack), 1 INT (38 yard return), 1 PD. We used him both in coverage AND as a situational pass rusher. He was all over the field last game and we need to sign him long term ASAP. --Joe Mahoney

CJ Anderson

CJ Anderson's stat line was fantasy gold (3 rushing touchdowns), but his real-world football stat line was even more impressive (3 TDs, 21 carries, 58 yards, mostly on a sprained ankle). This dude is just a baller. He doesn't know how to give up. He doesn't know how to slow down. He doesn't know how to be injured and not play. He simply gets the job done at a ridiculously high level. Look, I know Juwan Thompson had more rushing yards, but remember, one of them was a 47 yard gain. When the coaching staff basically refused to allow CJ to hobble back out onto the field, Juwan stepped in admirably. But make no mistake, this is CJ's position to stay. CJ played with the grit and guts that this team was lacking earlier in the year. The "Finess" moniker that has been bestowed upon this team because of Peyton Manning has been replaced with "smash mouth" and "hard nosed" styles of football, and nobody has to look any further than C.J. Anderson to see who the catalyst is for this playoff brand of football. Peyton will always be the offensive MVP, but man, C.J. sure is making his case to take that award away from Manning (much like the Broncos were always Elway's team, but eventually Terrell Davis took it away).


My honorable mention HAS TO BE to my main man, Steven Johnson (co-main man being Chris Harris Jr. Rock Chalk guys!!!). Anyway, Steven Johnson got his first sack early on. He is stout in the running game and improving in the passing game. Remember, he was a backup and mostly special teamer, so his production in fillin gin for Nate Irving is exceptional. He's getting better each and ever week. I'm quite comfortable with him in the lineup come playoff time. -Big Pete

David Bruton

Bruton played a fantastic game yesterday and made a case to become the Broncos #3 safety when Quinton Carter comes back from injury. He was all over the field disrupting screen plays, tackling chekcdowns and outlets, providing help over the top, and just providing an overall imposing presence in the Broncos secondary. He led the team in tackles with 9 and was targeted in the passing game 5 times. He allowed 5 receptions--all dump offs and checkdowns for just 18 yards. Bruton added a forced fumble and a couple of PD's on some deep throws down the sideline. --Bronco Mike

Honorable Mention...Kyle Orton

What can I say Mr. Orton, you're still one of a kind. Only you would slide two yards short of the first on 3rd and 2. Only you would march your team to the redzone only to lay a big fat 0 on the scoreboard when you decide to thread the needle into the best corner in the NFL.  Only you would be so inept for 3 quarters that the south standers started to chant "Tebow Tebow", and only you could have engineered such garbage time magic against prevent defense as to finish the game with over 350 yards passing and a touchdown strike. Broncos Country was reminded of what it lost several years ago. Whenever a trivia question pops up and "Kyle Orton" is the answer, you better believe the question is "Who paved the way for Tim Tebow to become an NFL starting quarterback."

Thank you for another inspired neck-beard-ian performance. Someone get this guy a shot of Jack!

Who earned your game ball this week Broncos Country?