Broncos Linebacker Grades from Victory over Colts

Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) rushes past Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) in the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.The Broncos defeated the Colts 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) rushes past Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) in the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.The Broncos defeated the Colts 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

To continue the payer grades from the Denver Broncos victory over the Indianapolis Colts comes the linebackers. They played outstanding as a unit and as an individual. Just how did they grade out?

The Denver Broncos ended up stomping on the Indianapolis Colts in their victory. It was a close game up until the final minutes, where the defense took a stand and made it a stomping. It started up front, but the linebackers were excellent as well.

It didn’t mater if it was a run play or a pass play, the linebackers were great. With the defensive line controlling the gaps and running lanes, the linebackers were able to shoot the gaps and make a play. They also more than did their job in coverage, or applying pressure on the quarterback.

Inside linebacker Corey Nelson didn’t see enough snaps on defense to qualify for a grade, and linebacker Zaire Nelson only played on special teams. Neither of them get a grade.

Veteran and captain DeMarcus Ware only played 13 snaps before he fractured his arm. The injury will cause him to miss four or five weeks, but his leadership can still be had on the sidelines. Before he got hurt Ware was playing excellently and getting a lot of pressure. Ware netted a 96.8 grade, which is fantastic for 13 snaps.

With Ware getting hurt, it opened up some playing time for Dekoda Watson, who saw twelve snaps on the game. Watson applied little pressure, but did what he was supposed to do against the run. For his first serious action of the season, getting a 81.2 grade is really good.

More from Mile High Maniac

Shane Ray got an increase in snap counts with Ware getting hurt and he was excellent. After a teammate forced a fumble, Ray picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown. This made the game out of reach for the Colts and cemented the win for the Broncos. That was just the highlight play Ray made.

Besides that play, Ray was able to apply pretty consistent pressure and made Andrew Luck uncomfortable in the pocket. As for the run game, there were a few instances of Ray losing containment and the Colts running back was able to bounce it outside. Teammates of Ray ended up making the play for a small gain.

The former first round pick is really coming into his own in his second year. Ray doesn’t have a sack yet, and only a few tackles, but the sacks will come. With Ware out, Ray will be taking over the starting spot. As for his game against the Colts, Ray ended up with a 86.9 grade.

Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett also should see an increase of snaps with the Ware injury. So far this season Barrett has been solid, but has yet to notch a sack. Like with Ray, the sacks will come for Barrett. Until then, Barrett just needs to keep doing what he is doing. Contain the run and apply pressure. It is a 83.5 grade for Barrett.

Todd Davis played a solid game. His run defense was exceptional and was helped by the play of the defensive line. In the first game, Davis was limited against the run because the defensive line had issues controlling the gaps. In addition, he was exploited in coverage.

His game against the Colts was better. The defensive line was able to do their jobs and maintain gap control. That allowed Davis to shoot the gaps and make the play. As for in coverage, Davis didn’t play in coverage much, but he was able to stick with his man when he did. His grade of 94.8 is much improved from week one.

More from Denver Broncos

The other inside linebacker, Brandon Marshall, has struggled off and on so far this season. Against the colts he played 89% of the defensive snaps, but not all of them were very good. He lost his assignment a couple of times in coverage, and missed some holes in the run game. However, his mistakes and issues were few.

When Marshall is on, he is one of, if not the best linebackers in the NFL. His coverage is exceptional and his play against the run is as well. This year he is playing a new position, after moving over to replace Danny Trevathan. Most of the role is the same, with some small differences that he is still adjusting to.

Those adjustments are probably why Marshall has been off and on this season. One thing is for sure, he improved from game one to game two. As the season goes on, he should get better and better. Marshall gets a 91.0 grade for his game against the Colts.

Now for the star of the show. Von Miller. Going into the game, Miller had never sacked Andrew Luck in four previous games. He now has three sacks on him, including a strip sack, which SHane Ray picked up and returned for a touchdown. Not much can be said about Miller’s game except that he was perfect.

Miller gave the Colts offensive line issues all game long. During the game, Miller showed that he added and refined some of his pass rushing moves, which makes him even more dangerous. Not only that, but Miller is fantastic when defending the run as well. A perfect 100.0 grade for Miller. If the grade could be higher, it would’ve.

Next: Broncos Defensive Line Grades From Victory over Colts

All that is left to be graded is the secondary. They are up next so stay tuned.