|Frank Franklin II/Associate Press|
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
The third edition of the Manning Bowl this weekend did not exactly live up to the hype that surrounded it pre-game; unless you are a Denver Broncos fan. The Broncos ended up taking control in the second half of the game as big brother Peyton was able to hand little brother Eli his third loss in the head-to-head series. Eli’s New York Giants struggled to get anything going on offense and the defense just could not contain Peyton and the Broncos offense all game. I will break down the performances of each team by grading them out; each team performed on opposite sides of the spectrum and the grades will show that as the Broncos had the upper hand across the board.
Passing Offense: Giants; C-: Eli put up a monster game for the second consecutive week in terms of yardage but for the second consecutive week he made a number of mistakes. Eli threw four interceptions in the game, the first of which put a sour taste in the Giants mouth heading into halftime as a heave towards the end zone was picked off by Broncos’ cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; this interception was painful because the Giants were already well within the range of kicker Josh Brown, who had made three kicks already in the half. The second half was a disaster for Eli as he threw three more interceptions as the Giants fell further and further behind the Broncos on the scoreboard. On the afternoon Eli finished with 362 yards on 28-49 passing with four interceptions and one touchdown; the touchdown came on a broken play in which he flipped the ball to Da’Rel Scott and he did most of the work scampering for a 23 yard touchdown.
For the receivers, Victor Cruz once again had a solid game catching eight passes for 118 yards. He started off the first Giants drive with a 51-yard reception but the Giants had to settle for a field goal. Hakeem Nicks had 83 yards on four receptions but had a costly drop early on the game that resulted in him getting a dislocated finger; Nicks missed only two plays but was hit hard in the fourth quarter near the sidelines as he was roughed up throughout the game. Rueben Randle struggled after a big game against Dallas in Week 1. Randle had only three catches for 14 yards as him and Eli were not on the same page throughout the game. He also fumbled at the goal line but was bailed out by a Broncos penalty. Brandon Myers had a solid game once again with six catches for 74 yards. He could have had an even bigger game if not for stumbling while running on his 27-yard reception and dropping a pass inside the three-yard line.
Broncos; A: Peyton put on a clinic for Eli and the Giants Sunday afternoon as he picked their defense apart with the precision of a surgeon. Peyton finished the game with 307 yards on 30-43 passing and two touchdowns. Peyton was barely touched all game as he wasn’t sacked once and was only hurried twice. He was comfortable the whole game behind his offensive line and it showed in his stats. He once again showed little brother a thing or two.
Peyton spread the ball around and used all of his weapons to decimate the Giants as he completed a pass to eight different receivers. Eric Decker, after being plagued by drops and poor play in Week 1, led the way for Broncos receivers with 87 yards on nine receptions. Julius Thomas once again found his way into the end zone and finished the game with 47 yards on six receptions. Wes Welker had a tough afternoon overall en route to three catches for 39 yards but he was the other recipient of a Peyton touchdown toss. Demaryius Thomas did not have a monster game but had a respectable five receptions for 52 yards. He had a potentially game-changing fumble following the Giants moving within one point of the lead but it was recovered by Knowshon Moreno and the rest was history.
Rushing Offense: Giants; F: The only positive to the Giants rushing game this week was that there were no fumbled this time around; other than that it was just as much of a mess as in Week 1. As a team the Giants ran for only 23 yards on 19 carries. David Wilson avoided fumbling but was unable to mount much of an attack with a long rush of only six yards. The newly signed former Giant Brandon Jacobs didn’t give much to the run game either outside a one-yard touchdown in the second half. Scott actually played the most snaps of the trio but was ineffective as the others running the ball, managing only two yards on five attempts.
|Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger|
Broncos; B+: The Broncos did not exactly light up the field with their running game but compared to the Giants they were barn-burners. Led by Moreno’s 93 yards on 13 carries the Broncos finished with 109 yards on 29 carries; Moreno’s stats are inflated by his two touchdown runs that went for 20 and 25 yards. Outside of the 45 yards on touchdown carries the Broncos were not very impressive but they did enough to get the job done. Moreno looks to have a stranglehold on the lead back role in Denver currently as he was by far the most impressive running back in the game and through the two weeks. This game could have been even more of a blowout if not for a Montee Ball fumble on the opening drive at the goal line.
Pass Defense: Giants; D: Coming into the game it was no secret the Giants struggled in pass defense and it was only further proven Sunday. The biggest problem for the Giants was the lack of pass rush and pressure on Peyton as he became too comfortable in the pocket. Jason Pierre-Paul once again struggled as he works his way back from offseason back surgery; it got to a point he was actually benched in the game. The only thing that kept this score from being an F was the play of Prince Amukamara and Terrell Thomas. You may ask how two cornerbacks can be applauded for their play in such a poor defensive performance but without those two it would have been even more of a massacre. Thomas hounded Welker all game into a poor performance and Amukamara was tasked with slowing down the explosive D. Thomas which he did as well as you could have hoped for; too bad the rest of the Giants defense was not up to the task.
|Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger|
Broncos; A-: As close as the Giants were to a flat-out failing grade the Broncos were to an A. They were able to intercept Eli four times as mentioned before and had a number of other opportunities to add to that total. They got after Eli relentlessly throughout the game though as they registered seven quarterback hits and had him running away from the pass rush almost every time he dropped back. The only negatives that came from the Broncos were the amount of penalties they committed. They extended Giants drives and gave them some chances to make this somewhat of a game but even their mental mistakes were not enough to keep the Giants in it.
Special Teams: Giants; C+: The Giants put Wilson on kick return duties and he was solid but not great. He didn’t break any big ones as he averaged 24.2 yards per return on his five chances. The Giants will most likely use him back there more often as he works his way back into the offense more as his confidence returns. The best way to get his confidence up is in the return game where he was very successful last season. Randle once again handled punt returns but was also held in check with only 13 yards on two returns. The kicking and punting game was solid for the Giants but when that is the highlight of a game things are not going well. Brown knocked in all three of his field goal attempts and two extra points while Steve Weatherford averaged 46.2 yards per punt on his five chances.
|Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger|
Broncos; A-: As like all the other grades on here the Broncos once again scored better than the Giants. The ability to hold Wilson in check was very important as the Giants were not starting drives in the best of field position. Kicker Matt Prater booted his two attempts through the uprights as well as five extra points. The punter Britton Colquitt had a solid game as well, averaging 42 yards per punt on his five attempts. The star of the game on special teams though was Trindon Holliday, the 5’5” speedster from LSU. Holliday didn’t have many chances in the kick return game, averaging only 17 yards on two attempts but destroyed the Giants in the punt return game. Holliday returned one punt for 81 yards to the house and averaged 30.3 yards on his four returns in the game.