The Denver Broncos manhandled the New York Giants in the season opener emerging victorious 27-13. Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos' offense were efficient and the defensive front seven imposed its will on the Giants’ offense.
For Broncos Country, it comes as a welcomed sight since the team's performance in September the past two years has been abysmal. Starting out on the right foot is a good harbinger and hopefully, a good September start will orient Denver's postseason hopes in the right direction.
Anytime the Broncos win by two scores, there are going to be several players that performed well, making the best player on the field a difficult decision. As romping as Denver's win was, though, there were a few individual performances that didn't pass muster.
Here are the three biggest risers and fallers coming out of Week 1.
Riser: Von Miller | OLB
The best player of the game goes to Miller. Coming back from missing all of 2020 due to an ankle injury, he showed why he has been the best edge defender for the last decade, logging two sacks, three tackles for a loss, and playing the run as good as anyone on the field.
When Miller dropped into coverage, he blanketed his potential receiver. He applied consistent pressure on Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones.
When Miller was not in the game, the Broncos saw a palpable drop-off in pressure. Welcome back, Miller.
Faller: Patrick Surtain II | CB
The rookie first-rounder had nowhere to go but down after a stellar preseason. Surtain played less than expected and when he was on the field, he was beaten in coverage more than once. It was just one game and perhaps his 'welcome to the NFL' moment can only make him stronger.
Riser: Teddy Bridgewater | QB
Bridgewater led the Broncos to 27 points and 420 yards of total offense. He finished the day with 264 passing yards and two touchdown passes while completing nearly 78% of his passes. It earned him a QB rating of 115.7 and a featured spot on this list.
Faller: Kyle Fuller | CB
Fuller wasn't terrible but he dropped a would-be interception and was beaten in coverage a couple of ties. He did bounce back with a pass deflection on a fourth down, making it a little harder to single him out as a faller. However, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday that he would like to see a more consistent performance from his veteran corner.
Riser: Noah Fant | TE
Fant finished the game tied with Jerry Jeudy for the team lead in receptions, posting six catches for 62 yards. The tight end's longest catch of the night went for 25 yards, and though he wasn't able to connect with Bridgewater for a touchdown, it was clear that Fant will hold priority for the quarterback.
Faller: KJ Hamler | WR
Hamler dropped what would have been a 50-plus-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater, which is what lands him on the list as a faller. However, he did bounce back and caught all three of his remaining targets for 41 yards. With Jeudy being sidelined for the next few weeks, Hamler has the chance to really shine with Bridgewater.
Follow Thomas on Twitter @ThomasHallNFL.
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