Report Card v. Texans

Check out Denver's grades in the win over the Houston Texans


PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Tim Tebow tossed screen after screen in the first half and an end-zone pick, and it appeared Denver wouldn't cut him loose for a second straight week. But the second half was vintage Tebow. He even stretched the field, with a 41-yard completion and a 50-yard hookup with Jabar Gaffney. The rookie finished with 308 yards, the third-highest total for a Denver rookie QB in history.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- The early recurrence of Knowshon Moreno's rib injury forced the Broncos to switch gears. Correll Buckhalter was particularly effective with 42 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving and two combined TDs. Tebow's scrambling not only moved the chains but produced the game-winning TD off a broken play.

PASS DEFENSE: C-plus -- The Texans played without top receiver Andre Johnson and still managed a 310-yard passing output. Jacoby Jones notched his first 100-yard receiving game, but it was the two tight ends who caught Matt Schaub's eye the most, with Owen Daniels and Joel Dreesen targeted 17 times. They came up with 11 catches for 106 yards. The late interception by Syd'Quan Thompson off a tip ended Houston's chances at a final-minute comeback and raised the grade a notch.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- For a team that had been consistently trampled for weeks on the ground, holding NFL leading rusher Arian Foster to just 91 yards on 19 carries is a huge success. The big question from the Houston side is, in a game in which it seemingly had control, why did Foster barely touch the ball in the second half?

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Punter Britton Colquitt twice pinned Houston inside the 20. Punt returner Eddie Royal had a 19 yard run-back. The coverage teams were solid, both against Jones on punts and Steve Slaton on kickoffs. Fill-in Denver kicker Steven Hauschka kicked a 27-yard field goal, making him 6-for-7 since Matt Prater injured his groin and was lost for the year. Nine of the Texans' 10 offensive drives began inside the Houston 20-yard line.

COACHING: A -- Interim coach Eric Studesville has been put into a no-win situation with a team bound for massive offseason changes, but he does demonstrate a positive spirit that infiltrates the players and allows the assistants to navigate their roles without nitpicking their every move. Mike McCoy, the new play-caller, deserves credit, too, for allowing Tebow to throw the ball downfield after going heavy on conservative calls in the first half.

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