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Pro Football Focus: Shaquil Barrett was nearly unblockable against Chargers

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Here were the top graded players by PFF in the Denver Broncos 24-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We learned a few things about the Denver Broncos in their 24-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night and the biggest one might be how good Shaquil Barrett was lining up opposite Von Miller at the edge position.

Here were the top graded Broncos players in that game:

Barrett and Miller were the top two graded Broncos players in that game and were harassing Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offensive line all night.


Miller started off the season in a big way, making his presence felt in both the run and the pass game as he has so often done in the past. Miller rushed the passer 34 times and finished with one quarterback hit and another four quarterback hurries. That was good for an impressive pass-rushing productivity score of 11.0. And while he only recorded one solo run stop, Miller was forcing cuts and squeezing holes all night against the Chargers.


With edge rusher Shane Ray out injured, the Broncos turned to Barrett to pick up his slack and did he ever deliver. Barrett was even more impressive rushing the passer than his teammate Miller, racking up a sack and five additional hurries of the quarterback. His pass-rushing productivity score of 17.6 ranks third among all 3-4 outside linebackers in Week 1. He also chipped in with a solo run stop and was nearly unblockable all game long for this Broncos defense.

With Shane Ray out until midseason, Barrett has a golden opportunity to make his presence known on the defense. So far so good in that regard. With Miller getting double and triple teamed, teams may have to reconsider their focus in games as Barrett is showing he is also a force coming off the edge.

The other player of note here would be quarterback Trevor Siemian. After finishing with a putrid 44.5 grade from PFF last season, he nearly doubled that mark in this game. A lot of the grading has to do with the quality of the throw and the quality of the decision based on what the defensive alignments look like.

Siemian struggled reading defenses last year and making the right reads against certain defensive alignments, which is likely why his grade was so low. In this game, however, he was elite in both regards. As someone who criticized Siemian heavily heading into this season, this was an area of improvement I didn’t see from him until the third preseason game - and now the first regular season game.

One game is an aberration, but two is a trend. And this is one trend I’m liking very much heading into Week 2.


Despite the dropped interception thrown in the first quarter, Siemian played an efficient game and displayed what the Broncos hope to get from him all season. When given time, Siemian was 13 of 20 for 143 yards and two touchdowns, compared to 4 of 8 for 76 yards under pressure. He was accurate on the deep ball, going 2 of 3 for 73 yards with the lone incompletion being a drop by WR Emmanuel Sanders in the endzone.

Frankly, I’d take 4/8 for 76 yards when pressured. Those are respectable numbers when 300 pounders are draped over your body or 260 pounders are launching the crown of their helmet into your throat.

In my view, Siemian was nearly flawless in this game. He has me excited to see what he can do against a team like the Dallas Cowboys who do not possess an elite outside pass rush.