As expected, the Denver Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. However, the margin by which the Chiefs won, and how poorly the Broncos played overall, was not expected.
Denver was clearly outmatched, which most realized heading into the game. Add in the cold-weather elements and the young Broncos were going to have their issues.
Even still, it was an abysmal team out there in two of the three phases. Denver has a long way to go if it wants to contend for anything more than a WildCard playoff spot.
However, let's get away from the team aspect and drill down to the cogs of the team.
For the first time this season, I have to note that there is a snap requirement to get graded:15 snaps. Special teams play doesn't get graded for this very reason.
I mention this because Phillip Lindsay, who played just 14 snaps before getting knocked out of the game, didn't get graded, but was well on his way to being the MVP for the game before leaving with a concussion.
As always, be sure to check out the video above to learn who ended as the Broncos' MVP (highest-graded player) from Week 7.
Bryce Callahan | CB: 86.9
Moving back to the slot has turned the season around for Callahan. Who would have guessed that putting players in their best position could have such an effect? I jest, but Callahan had a tough matchup, giving up a pair of catches, but he also mostly shut down his guy in coverage. Additionally, he really did what was needed when coming up to attack against the run.
Demar Dotson | RT: 84.2
While Dotson did give up a sack and another pressure in the game, the sack was partially on the quarterback. What really stood out was what Dotson did as a run blocker. He did a great job of selling the right side for running backs to get upfield which was a concern with him. While this was only Dotson's third start, it was his most complete game this season.
DeShawn Williams | DT: 81.8
This defensive lineman has really been a surprise for the Broncos. While Williams isn't exactly filling up the stat sheet, with one pressure in each of the last three games, and no stops, he is doing all the right things, keeping quarterbacks from stepping up and clogging the middle against the run. His play has really helped the linebackers and edge defenders with finding the room to make the needed play.
Nick Vannett | TE: 80.4
Finally, Denver got a good game out of the veteran tight end. He did most of his work as a run blocker and looked clean and comfortable there. The technique, especially the footwork, was much better than it had been in each game prior this season. Denver gave Vannett a decent deal to be the blocking tight end and hopefully, he can take this game and build on it.
Drew Lock | QB: 29.1
Anyone who watched Lock out there could see he was having a terrible day. His mechanics were a mess, from his footwork up, and there was no actual reading of the defense. He would lock in on one receiver at the snap and that was that, making life easy on the Chiefs.
Lock's overaggressive nature needs to be balanced out because multiple times vs. the Chiefs, he went for the big play, on a terrible read, leaving an open receiver underneath that would have moved the chains. These issues have been consistent thorns in his side dating back to college.
Lock's inconsistencies have been a problem and led to bad results for the majority of the day against the Chiefs. Such has been the trend for Lock all season, with a few good plays mixed in, but the needle is pointed in an unfavorable way for Lock right now.
Melvin Gordon | RB: 31.0
What more can be said? Gordon has no idea how to protect the football. It was an issue when Denver signed him and remains one. Gordon did his part in a big way to help the Chiefs win so Kansas City should cover his game check for that Week 7 performance instead of Denver.
Alexander Johnson | ILB: 48.5
Finishing just below the average starting point grade-wise, Johnson missed two tackles against the Chiefs and was out of position on multiple other plays. This is becoming a trend with Johnson and Denver needs it to improve.
He is also still having the same struggles in coverage he did a year ago. Johnson brings energy but his recklessness is starting to cause issues for others on his team.
Josey Jewell | ILB: 51.3
Despite being on the negative side of things, Jewell still had an overall positive impact on the game. He lands in the negative more so because of how well the defense played as a unit overall. Jewell was alright vs. the run and in coverage, which was a big concern coming into the game. On one play, he really hung with the running back to break up a pass. It was a solid day, but finished as the second-lowest graded defender due to how well everyone else played around him.
Other Noteworthy Grades
KJ Hamler | WR: 67.9
It was a rookie day for Hamler. He ran some really good routes and even had some good blocks, but his hands created a big problem for Denver. Lock threw a bad pass behind Hamler, who had it hit his hands, bounce out, and right into the hands of a defender.
Such miscues can teach young receivers a lot. If you're unable to make the catch, you've got do more to protect it. There is a lot of work in store for Hamler to get better.
Malik Reed | OLB: 67.6
Reed had two sacks, but let's add some context to that. One came with him untouched and the other vs. a tight end. He did what he was supposed to do, but they weren't great plays on his part.
Reed did have one really impressive rep as a run defender where he fought to get off a block, but the rest of his production was largely due to going unblocked and taking care of business. He performed well when going against anyone except for the starting right tackle, Mike Remmers, who controlled Reed for the game.
DaeSean Hamilton | WR: 42.3
Hamilton is dead weight on the Broncos' offense. While he has two catches vs. the Chiefs, they were literally the only positive plays he produced on offense. Hamilton's run blocking, which has been said to be a strong suit, was not there.
On one run, Hamilton let the defender dictate the block which ended up hurting the offense. When blocking, receivers need to be the ones to set up and dictate the block, as letting the defender do so will end up poorly the majority of the time.
Dre'Mont Jones | DL: 70.5
In his first game back, Jones was up and down. He made plays needed as a pass rusher, but his run defense was not up to par. Jones has had issues against the run going back to last year, but it was a step back in this game. On one bigger run for the Chiefs, Jones got completely turned around before the ball-carrier was through the trenches.
Don't forget to check out the video above for the Broncos' MVP of Week 7.