News & Analysis

Denver Broncos 2018 Season Recap

By PFF Analysis Team
Feb 18, 2019

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DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08: Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos warms up before taking on the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

During the NFL season, our team of 300-plus staff spend around 20,000 man-hours grading and analyzing every play of the NFL season, from the kickoff in the Hall of Fame game to the final play of the Super Bowl.

Now that the 2018 season is officially in the books, we can now take a look back at the season through the eyes of each NFL team and using the grades and statistics that we have compiled, we and detail what went right, what went wrong, and explain what that team has to look forward to.

Below is the 2018 season recap for the Denver Broncos.

Overview

Denvers season began well enough, but after a 2-0 start the wheels began to fall off, and the team ultimately finished in third place in the AFC West with four consecutive losses to finish the year, leading to the firing of Head Coach Vance Joseph shortly thereafter.

What went right?
  • Undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay was a revelation, providing quite the backfield combination with fellow rookie Royce Freeman, and finding his way to a Pro-Bowl selection after notching over 1,000 rushing yards and breaking 22 tackles.
  • Outside of 13 penalties, Garett Bolles cleaned up his game and provided solid blocking both in the run game and in pass protection at tackle, making last year’s pick look like a good selection. 

  • On the defensive side, Von Miller continued to be one of the NFL’s top edge defenders, grading out at 80.0 or better against the run, as a pass-rusher, and in coverage.

  • Another long-time defensive stalwart, Chris Harris Jr. locked down the slot again at cornerback before going down hurt late in the year.
What went wrong?
  • Quarterback Case Keenum couldn’t back up his career year in Minnesota the season before and earned a 70.0 overall PFF grade which ranked just 27th in the NFL. That’s more than 10 grading points worse than a year ago, and Keenum was particularly bad in the face of pressure, earning a PFF grade of 41.9 when hurried, which happened on 36% of his dropbacks.

  • On the offensive line, utility interior lineman Connor McGovern started the season well but then limped to a 58.3 overall grade by the end of the year.

Highest-Graded Defensive Player

Unheralded interior defensive interior lineman Shelby Harris was one of the best performers of the year, finishing with a PFF grade of 90.8, a top ten mark among players at the position. Harris has shown well in limited snaps in the past, and really showed he is deserving of more playing time going forward.

Highest-Graded Offensive Player

The highest-graded player on offense for the Broncos is also their breakout star and most notable rookie standout – running back Phillip Lindsay. He never carried the ball more than 20 times in a game, but still topped 1,000 rushing yards and gained 451 of them after contact.

In conclusion

Denvers season was one of disappointment, made to look even worse by the success of Kansas City and Los Angeles within the division. The coaching staff paid the price after the season, and now Vic Fangio will look to carry over his impressive work in Chicago as the new head coach.

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