The Denver Broncos crushed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-7 to move to 4-0 on the season and the game had big plays from both the offense and the defense, so there were plenty of options for us to give out game balls for.
Let’s get right to it!
Trevor suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the rest of the game. That meant the quarterback that General Manager John Elway and the Denver Broncos traded up for in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft would make his regular season debut during Sunday's game. Paxton Lynch came in and did not disappoint.
He finished the game 14 for 24 for 170 yards, 1 touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 94.1. That's pretty damn good for a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut cold off the bench on the road and thrown into a two-minute drill to end the first half.
First career NFL touchdown pass!— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2016
Alright, @PaxtonLynch. #DENvsTB pic.twitter.com/A0P9Eslr3q
Lynch flashed his potential, strong arm, and mobility in the game, but did at times look like a rookie. Most importantly, he led the Broncos to multiple scoring drives and did not turn over the ball or make any costly mistakes in his debut. - Scotty Payne
How amazing to have two quarterbacks getting a game ball from the same game. In my five things we learned post earlier today, I noted the job was still Trevor Siemian’s to lose.
Siemian was an efficient 5/7 for 68 yards and a touchdown before injuring his shoulder in the second quarter. Plus, he put up more points on the board than Lynch.
For me, it was important to note that we have two starting quarterbacks on the roster now and Siemian remains the better option right now. - Tim Lynch
Back in 2008, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a CB out of Kansas with the 20th overall pick. That CB was Aqib Talib. He played four+ years with the Bucs before he was traded during his fifth season to the P*ts. Talib has enjoyed his best years since the Bucs decided that his continued services to them were only worth roughly a 4th round pick (he and a 7th round pick were traded to NE for a 4th round pick). You have to think that he really wanted to prove to the the Bucs and their management that they should have kept him around. He is only tied for 4th all-time in pick-6's (Rod Woodson is the career leader with 12, Talib has 9, tied with Deion Sanders, Ken Houston and Aeneas Williams - who are all in the HOF). So what did Talib do against his former team?
He had three tackles and kept Mike Evans in check most of the night, but his biggest contribution was his two interceptions returned for 40 yards. His two picks really set the tone and showed that our defense was going to dictate the terms of the game. His first interception came on the third play of the game and set our offense up with a very short field (1st and 10 at the TB 11). Aqib gets my game ball for showing his original NFL team what they lost when they ostensibly gave him away. - Joe Mahoney
Shaquil Barrett is the unsung OLB for the Denver Broncos so far this season. He's still in on over 1/2 the snaps, but with names like Von Miller and 1st round draft pick Shane Ray out there, the spotlight is hard to find. He was the best performing OLB in this game though and noteworthy. He consistently sealed the edge in the running game while forcing plays to go for 2 or less. His pass rush was also phenomenal. He ended the game with 4 solo tackles, 2 assists, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QB hit, and 1 pass defended. Barrett is a superb talent at OLB and deserves some big time love from Broncos Country for his performance in this game. - Sadaraine
Von Miller has consistently lived up to his new contract by his production on the field and the way he wreck's offensive gameplans. The Buccaneers were double teaming and chipping Miller throughout the game to minimize his impact, which left plenty of 1v1 opportunities for the interior guys. Derek Wolfe and Sly Williams took advantage to the tune of 3.5 sacks, and Miller still got some good numbers too as he stayed active on Winston's scrambles and shared a few sacks of his own.
We could literally just give Miller a gameball every week for the scheme factor alone, but this week in particular the rest of the defense took advantage of it and sunk the Bucs (yes, I went there). - Jeff Essary
The Defensive Line
What did you see yesterday? Aside from a Denver Broncos win, I saw Jameis Winston running for his life. There has been a problem with Denver's defense that hasn't materialized into much more than a side note so far. The interior defensive line has been the lone leak in the dam so far, but on Sunday, they came to play. The Tampa Bay running game was nil, and Winston could not get comfortable in the pocket. He was running for his life. Sly Williams got into the act with a sack. Jared Crick was a constant presence in the backfield. Derek Wolfe howled his way through the game. It was the first time in this young season that this group really forced the other team's hand. They were mean and nasty. They blew up the Buccaneers' game plan. Aqib Talib was the guy who came down with the picks, but it was the interior DL that pushed the Bucs around. - Adam Malnati
The best wide receiver duo in the NFL - Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. For the second week in a row, our top wide receivers made key catches and big scores to put in a dominating offensive performance and bring home the fourth victory in four attempts. And they did it with two different quarterbacks, proving this offense has enough weapons to withstand growing pains from any/all signal callers. Combining for 182 of the team's 238 passing yards, Sanders and Thomas are keeping the Broncos' air attack alive and well, making the offense a true dual threat on the ground or in the air. Since Sadaraine hates us giving out more than one game ball per person, I'll give the edge to Sanders in this one, primarily for his cartwheel TD celebration. Perfect 10. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Emmanuel Sanders celebrates TD with a cartwheel pic.twitter.com/AIxuwtdL5V— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) October 2, 2016
There’s no other way to describe it: Wolfe was a man possessed on Sunday. To play off a popular phrase in the NFL for a former running back, he went full Wolfe Mode. Jameis Winston probably woke up over the course of the night fearful Wolfe was still there. The Broncos defensive end led the team in total tackles (6), quarterback hits (5) and sacks (2.5). It was the first two-sack game of his career, and he has at least a half sack in 11 of the last 14 games (11.5 sacks over that time). Wolfe was a half sack away from being the third-straight Denver defender to get three sacks in a game. If the Broncos defender makes Wolfe Mode a common occurrence, watch out. - Ian St. Clair
There's no other way to describe it: @Derek_Wolfe95 was a BEAST vs. the #Bucs.#Horsepower pic.twitter.com/qOpYfZUFBr— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) October 3, 2016
Who gets your game ball?