Broncos Running Backs and Offensive Line Grades From Tampa Bay Win

Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) scores a touchdown in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) scores a touchdown in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos lacked a running game in their victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A big reason for that is the lack of blocking from their offensive line. So how did the running backs grade? Did the offensive line pass block well enough to save their grades?

Thanks to their passing game, the Denver Broncos were able to move the ball. They were getting nothing on the ground, which has been an issue the last two games. This is something they have to remedy to take pressure off their young quarterbacks as the season continues.

Some blame falls on the running backs. They had some open lanes a couple of times and just went towards Tampa Bay defenders, or where there was no hole. They did that because of the play design, but they need to use their vision and see open lanes and take them.

That only happened a handful of times. The issue is their blocking up front from their offensive line. For the second consecutive week, the Broncos offensive line got no push off of the line of scrimmage. This allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers to come downhill and get to the ball carrier, often at, or behind, the line of scrimmage.

There was very obviously two players this game that were consistently owned at the point of attack in the run game. One of the players has had these issues all season, and could be facing a benching here soon. That said, all five offensive linemen had plays where they were dominated in the run game.

The only hope for their grades was in pass protection. A few of them redeemed themselves there, but not all of them. They allowed a lot of pressure on the young quarterbacks, and even a couple of sacks. That will always happen, but the area of concern is how quickly they were allowing pressure.

Running Backs/Fullback

First up comes the running backs and the fullback. Kapri Bibbs played really well, and got the ball on half of his snaps. He ran it really well picking up 14 yards, and looked the best he has this season in his limited action. However, he only played six snaps and won’t get graded.


C.J. Anderson started this game and the last two weeks have been not so good for him. He put up only 49 rushing yards and 52 yards from scrimmage, but he did score a touchdown on a short run. There were a few chances for Anderson to pick up more yards with open holes, but he missed them and instead ran into Buccaneers defenders.

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He didn’t get much help from his offensive line, and found himself getting hit a yard or two behind the line of scrimmage. Anderson had to break tackles just to get back to the line of scrimmage. The line up front has to help him out and do a better job blocking for him. They have to open holes and allow him to get to the second level.

When a running back is getting hit behind the line of scrimmage so often, they become tough to evaluate. However, Anderson is so strong that he can turn that into positive yards. That is something he did over and over again against Tampa Bay. He looked impressive with all things considered.

Anderson didn’t do much as a receiver, catching only one pass for three yards, but he has no control over that. All he could do is get open and give the quarterback the option to target him, which Anderson did. While he didn’t pick up a lot of yards, Anderson looked good. In the end, he gets a 82.7 grade from their victory.

Backup Running Back

Behind Anderson was Devontae Booker, who looked great picking up 30 yards on the ground. He used his speed and quickness to pick up yards, even though he was getting hit behind the line of scrimmage. He has played himself to more touches in a game so far. Yet, he still is stuck behind Anderson.

Booker has to improve on his blitz protection, and making himself available as a receiver. Those are the two areas he has struggled with this season. When the Broncos selected him in the fourth round, they knew pass protection was a concern. The running backs coach for the Broncos has been working with Booker to improve that area.

All in all, it was a solid game from Booker. While he looked better as a runner than Anderson, Anderson looked better everywhere else. Booker earned a 79.4 grade, thanks to some good running from the young rookie.


Andy Janovich didn’t get any touches, but he is primarily a blocker anyways. This game, it wasn’t always pretty from the rookie fullback. Multiple occasions he found himself blown up at the point of contact, which led to a quicker tackle on the ball carrier. It didn’t help that Janovich found himself having to block big defensive linemen thanks to poor offensive line play.

On one play in particular, Janovich found himself having to stop the 300 pound defensive tackle Clint McDonald. McDonald beat the offensive linemen off the snap, and was to Janovich just after the ball carrier got the ball. Janovich did what he could, but he wasn’t ready for immediate contact and found himself knocked back.

Janovich has played better this season than he did in this game. Very obviously, this was his worst game so far this season, but there should be no doubt about him bouncing back. Janovich still earned himself a 73.8 grade, thanks to some amazing blocks he made.

Offensive Line Left Side

To put things bluntly, this group was pretty bad. For a few of them, saying their play was poor would be a compliment. One of these players, left guard Max Garcia, has struggled all season. His play was atrocious against the Buccaneers, and was, somehow, his worst game of his season.

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Last week, Garcia earned a 3.1 grade for his pitiful performance against the Bengals. Yes, he was worse than that. He wasn’t ever effective as a run blocker and was consistently stood up at the line of scrimmage. That lead to tackles at, or behind, the line of scrimmage.

It has been clear that Garcia has been outmatched in the run game, and for the first time he looked severely outmatched as a pass blocker. He was a revolving door allowing pretty consistent pressure on the quarterbacks. Garcia gets the first 0.0 grade for the Broncos on the season.

Next to him was Russell Okung, whose play was below average. Okung was beaten as a run blocker pretty consistently and he allowed multiple pressures. It could be the back injury he suffered last game, but something has him off. Okung earned a 32.6 grade on the game.

Offensive Line Right Side

Michael Schofield at right guard saw his worst game of the year. However, he was the best offensive linemen out there for Denver. It wasn’t always pretty, but he got the job done. He played his way to a 62.7 grade on the game.

Next to him was Ty Sambrailo, a second round pick who was starting his fifth game of his career. It was obvious that he has played in so few games. Sambrailo continued to give up on plays before the whistle blew, something that was noticeable against the Bengals. One of these plays was a tackle for a loss of two yards.

His run blocking was nearly non-existent, as was his pass protection. Sambrailo just wasn’t able to get the job done with any kind of consistency. He, like Garcia, is playing himself to a seat on the bench. Sambrailo is running out of time as Donald Stephenson is working his way back from injury.

It was an improvement from his 7.4 grade he got last week, but only barely. Sambrailo walks away with a 7.7 grade. He has one more week for sure as the starter, and in order to keep it, he has to step up. The Broncos have options to replace him, same with Garcia.

Offensive Center

This was by far the worst game from Matt Paradis this season. Paradis, to put it bluntly, was awful. He found himself on the ground often when blocking in the run game. His technique was bad, and nowhere near the level he normally plays at.

It just wasn’t the run game where Paradis struggled, as he allowed pressure on the quarterback. Also his mistake led to a sack on Paxton Lynch. He just wasn’t his typical self and the Broncos need him to bounce back from his 25.1 grade performance. If any of the Broncos offensive linemen were to bounce back, odds are it’d be Paradis.

Next: Broncos Quarterback Grades From Win Over Tampa Bay

The quarterbacks played some really good games, and got help from their receivers and tight ends. Just how did those groups grade out? Well, they’re up next to be graded.