The Denver Broncos avoided being 'one and done' by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs. They defeated the Steelers to the score of 23 to 16, and will advance to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.
So with all that said let us take a look at the top performers from the Broncos during their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers according to Pro Football Focus.
Manning didn't have a great game nor did he have a terrible game on Sunday, but as I said last night, he did enough. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 222 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.
The Broncos offense had a dropping problem during the game, and that led to 7 or so more incompletions that should have been completions. Also, a few of those drops(especially C.J. Anderson's) could have gone for a big gain and potentially for a score.
Metrics here won't be kind to Manning, but I think he played a pretty good game all things considered. He didn't turn the ball over, made big plays when needed, and should have had more yards and probably a TD or two if the receivers weren't dropping passes.
Evan Mathis has consistently been the Broncos best offensive lineman all year, and that continued on Sunday against the Steelers.
He was rated as the highest Broncos offensive player on Sunday with a (+6.3). He was dominant in the run game with a score of (+5.2). He helped open up running lanes for C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.
Another guy who did well was right tackle Michael Schofield. He has struggled with pass protection all year but had a (+2.7) pass blocking grade against the Steelers. This was a great showing by Schofield after struggling big time for the final month or so of the season.
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After all the talk about how awful it would be that he was starting, and how Polumbus should be the guy, Schofield played rather well.
Many people were saying during the game "Where is Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware" or something like that. I have seen these two get called out by the media today, but they both played rather well.
Von Miller had a (+4.3) overall grade, and a (+3.2) overall pass rush grade on Sunday. He totaled 7 QB hurries on his 27 rushes and added 2 run stops as well. This wasn't his greatest game by any means, but he played very well as usual.
Ware also had a pretty good game. He was given a (+3.3) overall grade for his performance on Sunday. He was credited with 3 run stops, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 sack against the Steelers.
While this unit played well, they will have to step up their game next weekend when Tom Brady and the quick hitting New England Patriots offense comes to town.
The Denver Broncos locked up defensive end Derek Wolfe to a four-year deal late last weekend, and he proved why they gave him this deal on Sunday.
Wolfe finished the game with a (+3.4) overall grade on Sunday. He finished the game with 5 quarterback hurries, 2 run stops, and 2 sacks. He has been a force for the Broncos on the inside this season.
Malik Jackson also had a great game as well. He was given a (+2.4) overall grade and a (+1.6) run defense grade on Sunday versus the Steelers.
These two guys will have to have monster games against the New England offensive line next Sunday. If they can provide interior pressure on Tom Brady, the Broncos can win this game and advance to the Super Bowl.