The Denver Broncos defense starred once again as the unit continues to put on quite a show leading up to the regular season. However, there were some offensive stars on Saturday night that received some game balls as well. On with the awards ceremony!
WR Jordan Norwood
There were two Broncos that were targeted more than twice and caught all of their passes James Casey (3) and Jordan Norwood (4). Norwood you saw playing the Emmanuel Sanders role from the slot was the only thing happening well on offense for awhile nabbing balls from Peyton Manning as the offense switched from huddling to not. He made it tougher for the team to cut him tonight, showing that he can have success in the slot. Norwood is currently listed behind Sanders and Cody Latimer on the depth chart, but ahead of guys that we have seen do well throughout training camp and the preseason like Nathan Palmer, Bennie Fowler, Corbin Louks, Isaiah Burse and Jordan Taylor. - Ian Henson
CB Omar Bolden
Despite fumbling the first kickoff of the game, safety Omar Bolden might be the best we have for the job. He averaged 31 yards per return, and the entire Broncos secondary allowed for zero pass yards while he was playing. He suffered a cheap shot by 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin with 12 seconds left in the half, but seems to just have had the wind knocked out of him. The Broncos special teams may need some serious work, but Omar Bolden is a bright spot. - Kelly Flemming
OLB DeMarcus Ware
It is tempting to give a game ball to the entire defense again, especially since there were not as many flashy individual defensive stats in this game, yet once again, the Broncos D kept coming ... and kept winning.
But one flashy individual stat definitely earns DeMarcus Ware a game ball. Breaking through the 49ers offensive line and escaping the grasp of former CSU Ram Erik Pears, Ware rounded the corner, grabbed Kaepernick and Would.Not.Let.Go.
Despite Kap's noble attempt to get out of the end zone, Ware ensured the mobile QB was staying put...and putting two points on the Broncos' scoreboard. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Sacks rock. https://t.co/69o8a9hpFo— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) August 30, 2015
Starting Secondary Unit
Thanks in part to a plentiful pass rush that kept Colin Kaepernick on his for the entire first half, the Broncos secondary only allowed two completions for thirteen yards. With sacks courtesy of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, the San Francisco 49ers were credited with 0 passing yards for the entire first half. Bradley Roby stepped up in place of Chris Harris, Jr. and performed admirably, while Aqib Talib shut down opposing wide receivers and happened to level Reggie Bush before he could reach the first down marker on a 3rd and 22 draw play. If they keep playing this well into the regular season, there just may be something to the idea that T.J. Ward and his teammates have espoused since the beginning of training camp -- to be the best secondary in the NFL. - Christopher Hart
CB Aqib Talib
Aqib Talib showcased physicality and superb tackling technique in week 3. We've seen this a bunch of times on both sides of the field from our corners in this preseason: single coverage areas where if the corner misses the play, it will be a highlight reel play. Talib invites quarterbacks to throw to his side for little gain. Talib also enjoys driving poor fools into the ground who try to foolishly hop over him near the sideline. Fooball. Playa. - Sadaraine
QB Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning gets my game ball. I know 14/21 for 124 yards and an interception isn't typically gameball worthy. I get it, not leading his offense to anything but a before the half field goal isn't gameball worthy. But that's where you're wrong. You see, there's nothing wrong with Manning's arm. There's nothing wrong with Manning's eyes. There's nothing wrong with Manning's execution.
You see, the reason why Peyton gets my gameball is because as untuned as he has looked, it's because he's out there executing plays that they won't use during the regular season.
Instead of practicing to look pretty in the preseason, Peyton Manning and the offense have spent their time tuning up for the Baltimore Ravens, and they're going to lure the entire NFL into their trap. What you saw week 2 and again last night isn't what you'll see come the regular season. What you saw last night was Kubiak baiting the trap. How many touchdowns is the record? 7? How about Manning throws for 8 against a familiar record-allowing team in Baltimore You, Mr. Peyton Manning, get my gameball for fooling everyone in the NFL, including almost everyone who roots for you and the Broncos! - Pete Baron
RB Juwann Thompson
His final stat line was a pedestrian 4 or 15 yards, but when you punch in the only touchdown in a defense slugfest and follow it up with a two-point conversion to seal the deal then you deserve a game ball from me. That was clutch when the Broncos needed it most.
Juwann Thompson, I think, has earned a spot ahead of Montee Ball on this roster. It works out well, with C.J. Anderson as the starter and best all-around running back. Ronnie Hillman the lightning bolt backing him up and Thompson as the short yardage thumper. Gary Kubiak has his committee of running backs set and Ball looks to be the odd man out here. - Tim Lynch
DL Darius Kilgo
Darius Kilgo has the coolest name on the Denver Broncos. Just saying his name invokes images of an intense staredown of which I want no part. "Dare us, you say? DARE ME? .... KILL! GO!" I'm not sure the context of this staredown or what those words mean exactly, but whatever they are, they end up with me, dead.
Kilgo is killing it. He was the top-rated Bronco according to PFF, and the tape shows why. He played the second most snaps on the team and still wound up productive. After back-to-back weeks with sacks in Weeks 1 and 2, Kilgo had a pass block and a tackle for loss Saturday. One day the crowds at Mile High will be chanting, "Kill - Go," if this guy continues to grow, which will be an awesome staredown for any enemy team on the field. - Monty
There you go Broncos Country - who gets your Game Ball for Denver's 19-12 victory?
H/T to Rodney Adams for the info I shared in these two tweets about the defense.