For the final time this season, it is the Buster list that far outweighs the Ballers. That has been the case through much of the latter part of this season and in that regard, it's a relief to see the last of them and look to the hope of less of the monotony next season.
Pryor returns with a healthy offensive line, healthy running back corps, healthy receiving corps, against the NFL's worst defense missing BOTH their top two pass rushers and yet somehow the Raiders offense looks the worst it has looked since... well, since the last time Pryor played. After three quarters, he had completed 8 of 16 passes (50%) for 58 yards and the offense was shut out.
The first drive ended with a 2-yard Pryor scramble on third and four. The second drive was over as soon as it began after a fumbled snap that wasn't Pryor's fault, although it appears in his stats. The next drive ended with a Pryor roll out and sack for a loss of 8, then a pass to Rod Streater who was tackled immediately for a loss of 4. The series ended with an ugly pass from Pryor intended for Steater that was low and incomplete.
The first drive of the second quarter began with hi throwing behind Streater and ended with Pryor throwing into coverage for a near interception and throwing short to Andre Holmes on a curl route. The next drive ended the same way; a pass for Holmes that fell short.
He would get the ball in scoring position at the Broncos' 21-yard line. off a blocked punt. But Pryor could get just one yard on the possession before the field goal unit was sent out. The next drive ended when he threw a two passes on three plays that both were to no one in particular. The second one was far more dangerous because he rolled right and threw across his body.
He led a couple drives late in the fourth quarter but by then, it was all window dressing. What is so affectionately called "garbage time". They were garbage points because of the garbage play through the first three quarters.
We expect Peyton Manning to abuse some defensive backs. We don't quite expect linebackers to look even worse. Things started well for Burnett. He had a tackle for a loss of five yards on the very first play. He wouldn't have another good play the rest of the first three quarters.
On the Broncos' second possession, following a fumbled snap that gave the Broncos the ball at the 21-yard line, he first gave up a catch on third and six to give the Broncos first and goal at the 7-yard line. Then on the next play, he was blocked out of the play to give up a screen pass for a touchdown.
The next drive, he was blocked for an 11-yard run on the first play. The next drive, on third and 6, he slipped in coverage to give up a 7-yard catch for the first down.
The final drive was his worst. He was blocked on a 10-yard run and a nine-yard run. The final two plays of the drive were Burnett giving up a 6-yard catch followed by a 5-yard touchdown catch. That catch gave Manning the single season passing record and sent them to the locker room for half time up 31-0.
Chimdi Chekwa, Phillip Adams
Chekwa was starting due to Mike Jenkins being out with an injured hamstring and it seemed instantly apparent, Peyton was going to be going after him early and often. On the first drive alone, Chekwa gave up three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. Then on the Broncos fourth touchdown drive of the first half, he gave up another three catches along the way for 18 yards and a touchdown. That's six catches on seven targets for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half alone.
In between Chekwa's first three catches surrendered and his last three, it was Adams' turn to get toasted. That is a pretty accurate description considering he got flat out burnt to a crisp by Damaryius Thomas to give up a 63-yard touchdown. Then to begin the next Broncos drive he gave up two-straight catches for 25 yards. That's three catches given up in a row for 88 yards and a touchdown. He wasn't done though. On a single drive In the third quarter, with Brock Osweiler at quarterback, Adams gave up three more catches for another 34 yards. That is a total of six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. In total, between Chekwa and Adams, that's 12 catches on 13 targets for 185 yards and three touchdowns.
I can't recall a single great play made by Roach in this game. Not even a run stuff for short yardage. In fact, he was getting pushed around all day by Broncos blockers and was a complete non-factor. He had a missed tackle on a nine-yard screen pass on the Broncos' first drive, was blocked on runs of 10 and 7 yards on the Broncos second drive, and then gave up a 10-yard run and an 11-yard catch on consecutive plays on the Broncos final drive of the first half. In the third quarter he gave up a 5-yard catch, a 7-yard catch, and missed a sack. Roach finished with 6 combined tackles (3 solo) in the game and none of them were closer than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.
As per usual, his blocking skills were top notch. But he lands as a Buster because of yet another bad snap which resulted in a fumble. This one came in the first quarter. It was low and bounced off Pryor's left ankle and was recovered by the Broncos at the Raiders' 21-yard line. The Broncos would punch it in for their second touchdown a few plays later. This bad snapping was quite an issues this season for Wiz. Matt McGloin had at several fumbles from bad snaps by Wisniewski as well.
And stay tuned for my 2013 season Ballers & Busters in the coming days.