The Denver Broncos delivered a statement to the rest of the NFL on Sunday night when they dismantled a good San Francisco 49ers team. The final was 42-17 and it may not have been that close.
It was, by far, the Broncos most complete game of the season and there was a lot to like.
What I liked:
Peyton Manning: It has to start with Manning. Yes he set the record and that’s great but he picked the 49ers apart all night. He threw four touchdowns and only had four incompletions for the entire night. When he plays like that, the Broncos are almost impossible to beat.
Defense: The talk is all about Manning and rightfully so but it’s the defense that should have fans excited. They dominated a very good offensive football team. The front four shut down the run and then they harassed Colin Kapernick all night, finishing with six sacks.
Von Miller/DeMarcus Ware: The two combined for five sacks on the night and are currently the top two in the league in sacks. Keep in mind the Broncos have had their bye week, so they are doing all of this in one less game than the other leaders. Miller is quickly returning to his spot as one of the best defensive players in the league.
Ronnie Hillman: We are watching a player grow up right before our eyes. He was fantastic on Sunday night with two touchdowns including a 37 yarder where he made a safety miss. He’s running inside and turning no yard gains into three or four yard gains. It took a while but the Broncos are now being rewarded for their patience.
Demaryius Thomas: The early season slump is now a distant memory after Thomas turned in his third straight great game. The 49ers had no answer for Thomas who also caught the record breaker from Manning.
Chris Harris Jr.: People don’t realize how good Harris Jr. is, he just shuts people down. I’ve held back on saying this but he belongs in the conversation when talking about the best cornerbacks in the league. He’s that good!
Malik Jackson: Lost in the play of Miller and Ware is the effort turned in by Jackson. He had the other sack and was in the offensive backfield all night.
Offensive line: After a less than stellar game last week versus the New York Jets, they were terrific versus the 49ers. Manning was only sacked once and never touched after that. They also opened up huge holes for the running game in the second half.
The Running game: We’ve touched on Hillman already but for the second straight week, the Broncos had over 100 yards rushing. If they continue to do that, then this offense is going to be even better.
The Broncos finished: Despite being up big, the Broncos kept their foot on the pedal and never let the 49ers back in the football game.
What I didn’t like:
Not enough punting practice: (Sarcasm) it’s 11:30 at night and that’s all I got!
In all seriousness, though, they are always things to improve on but the Broncos played a complete game and left no doubt as to who is the best team in the NFL right now.
It doesn’t get any easier with the San Diego Chargers coming to town on Thursday night. With the Chargers loss on Sunday, the Broncos sit on top of the AFC West and can take complete control with a win on Thursday.