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Broncos-Chiefs: Manning, Knighton get Week 2 Game Balls

A win is a win is a win. And while the Broncos are getting more criticism than praise following Week 2's nailbiter, it's time we celebrated those who played well. Alright, Broncos Country - Broncos 24, Chiefs 17. Week 2 Game Balls, who ya got?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Terrance Knighton

Though his stat line be little, it be fierce-- two tackles and one pass defensed. The Broncos' newest captain saved a game, as so many of his teammates have seemed to do dating back to last season and throughout the 2014 preseason. The object of the game is to win, it can be pretty or it can be ugly, but fans should find assurance that when the game is on the line it is Denver's captains who continuously come up with a clutch play. Whether it is Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware (with the strip/fumble/forward pass) or Terrance Knighton with the game saving pass deflection at the line of scrimmage. In a game that saw the Broncos defense criticized so heavily by fans, it seemed to me that they made the plays when it was absolutely necessary. The ever humble 'Pot Roast' said almost apologetically after the game, "That is what defense is for." - Ian Henson

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning gets my game ball. Give KC credit for putting together a solid game plan meant to slow down our team and give them a chance to be in it. Even with the team around him failing on multiple levels to play up to their potential, he still threw 3 TDs and completed over 80% of his passes. It was a tough win, but without Manning at QB, I don't know how we score enough points to pull it off. - Sadaraine

Von Miller

Von Miller deserves a game ball after his solid Week 2 performance. On a day where he picked up his first sack since December of 2013, Von was the only Broncos player to apply relatively consistent pressure to QB Alex Smith. Miller added another half sack later in the game, and almost added a second full sack when he brought down Smith for a one yard gain on a scramble. Along with the highlight of the game- Miller's sack dance- the third-year linebacker added five tackles, four of which were run stops, to his stat-line, capping off an impressive second game of the season. It's officially time to welcome back the dynamic, explosive pass-rusher that Broncos fans have come to know and love in Denver. - Jacob Dearlove

Emmanuel Sanders

The Broncos went aggressive right out of the gate with a 48-yard pass. You can't help but do that when Emmanuel Sanders blows the top right off the secondary. Sanders finished with 108 yards, his first 100-yard game in his career. To be honest I wasn't sure what Denver was getting with Sanders. Now it's plain to see that the Broncos have a brand new dynamic to this offense - one that will be needed this upcoming Sunday against Seattle. - Mr. East

Aqib Talib

Alex Smith converted 100 first downs against the Broncos, but it wasn't against Aqib Talb (or Chris Harris Jr. for that matter). Smith attacked linebackers and nickel corners on Denver's dire downs, but Talib had a solid game, allowing two receptions on four targets according to PFF, not counting a pick-six that got wiped out by Quanterus Smith's offsides penalty. - Monty

Brandon Marshall

Although SportsCenter's Top 10 is going to feature former Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall's one-handed TD catch, the "other" Brandon Marshall - and the only one who matters - gets my game ball for consistent defensive play. If Terrance Knighton's efforts were "little but fierce," then Marshall's defensive presence was frequent and successful - a great complement to Knighton's clutch tipped ball to end the game.

I had the great fortune to watch this game at Mile High, which is a very different perspective from TV and nearly impossible to keep track of stats for players. While watching (and looking for the nearest defibrillator way too many times), it seemed Marshall's name was mentioned a lot on the tackles, and the stats after the game proved my inclination was correct. He combined for eight tackles (six solo), registered one sack for a five-yard loss, defended a pass and forced a fumble. In every defensive stat category, Marshall outdid Von Miller and was second only to Nate Irving in total tackles (who gets my honorable mention for his 11).

But more important than the stats was Marshall's consistency and timing. The linebacker's sack came at a crucial point when Kansas City was driving to the goal line, and he helped the defense hold the Chiefs to no score after a missed field goal attempt. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Demaryius Thomas

There isn't much positive to note about a Broncos team effort that was lacking in coaching, discipline and third down defensive effectiveness throughout the day; though one bright spot was Demaryius Thomas' clutch 12 yard touchdown grab over Chris Owens that gave the Broncos a 21-10 point lead.    He had a total of 5 catches for 62 yard and the aforementioned touchdown in today's performance.  Look for Demaryius to continue to improve as the season moves on.   At this point in time, they are not being too creative with the calls going his way.   Note to Adam Gase:  He can do more than catch balls on screen patterns.   Please utilize him in the Pro-Bowl manner we all know he is capable of. - Christopher Hart

John Fox

Foxy gets my game ball because he showed of his psychic abilities by refusing to take any timeouts with the Kansas City Chiefs closing in on a tying touchdown. A normal human being without these psychic powers would have used every last one of those timeouts to provide Peyton Manning - you know, that guy who is considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history - enough time to drive down the field for the winning field goal if it were necessary.This kind of thing is why Dan Reeves is in the Ring of Fame, because he would have used those timeouts to give the magnificent John Elway enough time to go out there win it for the home team! So count me as very impressed, John Fox. I am not worthy. - Tim Lynch

C.J. Anderson

When Montee Ball got dinged up, CJ Anderson stepped up big time. He averaged 6 yards per carry and the Broncos offense didn't look any worse for the wear. If anything, CJ kick started the Broncos running game so that by the time Montee was able to return, our offense was humming along and he was able to be much more effective. For everyone who said that the Broncos needed a different type of back than Montee and Anderson to complete the rotation, I ask "why?" This one-two punch looked just fine to me. If you have two backs who are both fantastically effective, then why does it matter what "style" of runner they are? Effective is effective. Five and Six yards per carry is effective however you get it.

Honorable Mention Game Ball: San Diego Chargers - because screw the Seattle Seahawks!!! - Big Pete