Report Card v. Cardinals

Check out Denver's grades in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals.


PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Denver is finding it increasingly difficult to get the ball downfield to outside targets Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal, either via a commitment to dropping back aggressively in coverage or frequent blitzing. The result is RB Knowshon Moreno led the team in receptions with five. Kyle Orton had his worst game as a Bronco with only 19 completions and a season-high three interceptions.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Denver's final numbers look good on the surface: 31 carries for 132 yards, with Knowshon Moreno scoring the team's lone touchdown. But 73 of those yards came with the game already lopsided, including a 19-yard run on the final drive to run out the clock by Lance Ball. It does appear the Broncos will try to lean more on the running game moving forward, with the passing game struggling.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Champ Bailey did a masterful job on Larry Fitzgerald, knocking away two high jump-ball passes in the end zone. Fitzgerald finished with six catches for 72 yards, and while Bailey shadowed him some, a few of Fitzgerald's catches came in zone coverage. Arizona rookie quarterback John Skelton didn't do much -- 15 of 37 for 146 yards, but the Broncos, as is typical, couldn't apply heat nor seemingly confuse the rookie into mistakes. Skelton didn't throw an interception.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The surest sign of a team giving up is when the long runs begin piling up in the second half of a game that's slipping away. Arizona had just 50 yards on 13 carries in the first half but in the second half had runs of 41 and 35 yards, the second resulting in a TD.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Britton Colquitt had five punts for a 56.2-yard average, the third-best performance in Broncos history. Eric Decker was impressive on kickoff returns with a 30.1-yard average on seven attempts. However, the play of the game came on a fake field-goal attempt by the Cardinals that turned into a TD by kicker Jay Feely, who scored the game's first 22 points. Denver fill-in kicker Steven Hauschka, meanwhile, missed a 40-yard field goal and clanked another off the upright and in.

COACHING: C -- Interim coach Eric Studesville deserves credit for keeping things together after a rough week that began with Josh McDaniels' firing, followed by the arrest of CB Perrish Cox. The team played hard early in Arizona, but six turnovers were impossible to overcome, even with Denver in striking distance for most of the game. Give Studesville kudos for this, too: He's handled the fallout that's landed in his lap with authority and class.

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