The Denver Broncos headed to the motor city to take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football. Thanks to Peyton Manning, and the Denver Broncos suffocating defense, the Broncos came away with a 24 to 12 victory. With this victory, the Broncos moved to 3-0.
So with all that said let us take a look at the top performers from the Broncos during their 24 to 12 victory over the Lions according to Pro Football Focus.
Top performers on offense:
Quarterback Peyton Manning +2.4:
Peyton Manning had his best performance of 2015 on Sunday night when he totaled 324 passing yards and 2 touchdowns against the Detroit Lions.
Manning earned his best grade of 2015 from Pro Football Focus earning a +2.4 after those ugly -4.1 and -3.3 weeks he had earlier.
It's not a surprise that Manning's best game came when he played all but one snap(kneel down) out of the Pistol and Shotgun. He looked comfortable and like the Manning of old on Sunday night.
Guard Evan Mathis +1.7:
Like Manning, Mathis had his best game of 2015 on Sunday Night against the Lions. He was given a +1.7 overall grade by PFF and earned a team-high +1.2 grade in the run blocking.
It shouldn't be a surprise to see a steady improvement from Mathis from week one to three. He joined the Broncos late into the summer and did not take part in any Training Camp or Preseason action with the Broncos. So Mathis being a little rusty early on had to be expected.
Hopefully, Mathis and the rest of the Broncos offensive line can continue to grow and get better as a unit.
Wide receiver Bennie Fowler +1.5:
Bennie Fowler had a bit of a breakout game for the Broncos on Sunday night. He totaled 4 catches for 50 yards and earned a +1.5 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Fowler earned snaps ahead of veterans Andre Caldwell and Jordan Norwood, and ahead of second-year player Cody Latimer.
It wouldn't shock me to see Fowler continue getting slot reps going forward for the Broncos.
Other notable offensive players who did well:
- Right tackle Ryan Harris: +1.8
- Center Matt Paradis: +0.3
- Running back C.J. Anderson: +0.2
Offensive Players who need to improve:
Left tackle Ty Sambrailo -4.2:
It was a rough game for the Broncos rookie left tackle. He earned a -2.2 run blocking grade and a -1.3 pass blocking grade.
There are going to be plenty of growing pains for Sambrailo this season. He was originally drafted to play right tackle but was forced to the left side after an injury to Ryan Clady.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas -2.7:
Thomas finished the game with 9 receptions for 92 yards and a 45-yard touchdown. He was Manning's go-to target, and he had himself a big game.
I don't really agree with this negative grade. Yes, Thomas did have a fumble while reaching out for a first down and a couple drops. However, I believe the good greatly outweighs the bad in this situation.
Top performers on defense:
Outside linebacker Von Miller +6.4:
Miller didn't get credited with a tackle or sack on Sunday night, but he sure was disruptive. He was credited with 8 quarterback hurries, and 1 quarterback hit.
Miller was given a +8.1 pass rush grade by PFF(That's pretty damn good).
Many fans were saying that Miller was invisible on Sunday night because of his lack of tackles and sacks, but that was not the case. He was continuously flying off the edge and making Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throw the ball quickly.
Cornerback Bradley Roby +3.7:
While cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. get the majority of the recognition at cornerback, second-year cornerback Bradley Roby stepped up on the primetime stage.
He snagged a beautiful interception off quarterback Matthew Stafford and was given a +3.5 pass coverage grade.
Other notable defensive players who performed well:
- Safety T.J. Ward +2.0
- Inside Linebacker Brandon Marshall +1.4
- Outside Linebacker Shane Ray +1.4
- Free Safety Darian Stewart +1.6
- Defensive end Malik Jackson +1.3
Defensive players who need to improve:
Safety David Bruton -2.2
David Bruton did have the game-clinching interception off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford late in the fourth quarter, but according to PFF, Bruton struggled throughout the game.
According to PFF, Bruton was given a pass coverage grade of -2.1. The only notable "blunder" in coverage for Bruton was against Lions tight end, Eric Ebron. Bruton was beaten down the seam by Ebron late in the fourth quarter, and Stafford delivered a beautiful pass to him.