The O'Reilly Report

Broncos Update contributor Dan O'Reilly grades a game that has put Denver in a position to make the playoffs with a win next Sunday.

A stand-up performance by the offense and defense, in a game where the Broncos FINALLY played as if they realized they had an awful lot riding on the game. However, a word of caution - this was against a Titans team that couldn't dress 45 healthy men! So, while it was a supremely satisfying win, it was at the same time, a win against a team literally decimated by injuries and who were playing a number of second-stringers. Now, given the loss by the Jacksonville Jaguars , the Broncos once again control their playoff fate, and they'll be playing (and must beat) an Indianapolis Colts team that has nothing on the line next week.

Offense: A-

Jake Plummer, at long last, finally threw more touchdowns than interceptions (although with his lone interception, he leads the league in them!). Running back Reuben Droughns seemed to come back to life - was he going through "dead legs" just as a pitcher goes through "dead arm" late in the preseason? The offensive line was adequate, the wide receivers did a great job of getting open, and, most important, the tight ends were back in the game plan, something that was conspicuous by their absence the last few games. This would have been a higher scoring game, save for the continued problems in the red zone. I predicted this at the beginning of the season, and I'll say it again - they have to get touchdowns against Indy to have any hope of beating them. Field goals won't cut it.

Defense: A

Billy Volek may have been a backup quarterback for the Titans, but he hadn't been playing like it for the previous couple of weeks. So to shut him down so thoroughly was really an impressive achievement. This was the best chokehold I've seen the defense put on opponent in a long time. I was also struck by how well Reggie Hayward has been coming around the last few weeks. He's no Trevor Pryce, but he's beginning to figure out how to consistently get to the quarterback.

Special Teams: C

Jason Baker ain't the answer, at least for kickoffs. Period. But unlike the last several weeks, the Broncos won the battle for field position, and that's huge. I don't know how Jason Elam shanked that one field goal attempt as he did, but that at least isn't a big worry.

Coaching: A

Unlike the Kansas City game, this team and coaching staff came out prepared and ready to play. On both sides of the ball, the game plan worked to near-perfection.

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