As fans, we’re often left rooting for individual successes for our team’s players during a season as weird and generally crappy as this one has been. We cheer a former undrafted running back to his unforeseen thousand yards, or celebrate a young pass rusher blowing up the franchise rookie sack record. We watch a tight end rewrite the franchise’s rookie records at his position and look forward to the good things to come, and cheer for a linebacker who trod a rough road to the NFL as he becomes a standout playmaker. We eat a happy plate of crow as a cornerback we thought was a bad pick has an immediate impact in the secondary. In a bad season, you take positives and fun where you can find them.
In this case, unfortunately, we just get to experience a bit more frustration alongside the Denver Broncos’ veteran kicker.
Players of the Month — October— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 29, 2020
Off: RB Derrick Henry, TEN
Def: DE Myles Garrett, CLE
ST: K Jason Sanders, MIA
Off: QB Tom Brady, TB
Def: S Budda Baker, AZ
ST: P Johnny Hekker, LAR
NFL Rookies of the month
Off: QB Justin Herbert, LAC
Def: S Jeremy Chinn, CAR
The NFL announced its conference player of the month awards for October, and arguably the biggest snub was Brandon McManus not getting AFC Special Teams Player of the Month. McManus, who single-footedly scored every point in the Broncos’ underdog victory over the New England Patriots, went and impressive 10 of 10 on field goal tries in October, and went 5 of 6 on extra point tries.
Jason Sanders of the Dolphins, who got the award instead, did edge McManus in volume. He went 11 of 11 on field goal tries in October, and 7 of 7 on extra point tries. That’s definitely an excellent performance, and Sanders’ perfection vs the missed XP try by McManus is probably what made the difference in who got the nod for the monthly award.
But did both kickers experience the same challenge on their road to lofty stats for the month? No, not really. And that’s why McManus deserved the nod despite the extra point miss.
Sanders’ 11 field goals went for a combined 396 yards, which comes out to an average distance of 36 yards. By comparison, McManus’ 10 field goals went for a combined 432 yards, or 43.2 yards on average. That 7.2 yard difference in average FG distance represents a pretty wide gap in difficulty of the kicks involved. Where Sanders made 5 kicks from under 30 yards, McManus had only 2 at that short range. And where Sanders’ long for October was a 50 yarder, McManus kicked 4 field goals of 50+ yards in October, for 54, 54, 53, & 52 yards respectively. That is some impressive work.
It’s also worth noting that McManus won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice in October- once for the Jets game and once for the Patriots game. Sandwiched between those awards, during the Broncos’ warped “bye” week, Sanders notched his own AFC Special Teams Player of the Week nod. He’d been McManus’s primary competition for the prior week’s award as well, but McManus got the head-to-head nod in Week 4.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that winning 2 out of 4 weekly awards should net you the monthly award as well.
It is what it is now, in regard to the award. But I think it’s good for us as fans to take a moment and appreciate our Broncos’ individual accomplishments. We need those feel-good moments, and so do they. So here’s to more excellent play by McManus down the stretch, and to the hope that he’ll get to kick many more extra points than field goals. And he’s just one of a number of Broncos who showed out in October- whose play encourages you the most?
What was most encouraging about the Broncos to you this month?
This poll is closed
The Rise of Ojemudia
McManus putting the team on his back
Lindsay exploding for 180 yards (5.63 YPA) in 2 games
Patrick emerging as an offensive playmaker
Chubb roaring back into form (4.5 sacks in Oct)
Reed stepping up (4.0 sacks in Oct)
Other - Let us know in the comments!