Broncos v. Colts Report Card

The Denver Broncos did what they had to do against Indianapolis. The Colts waved the white flag, and the Broncos didn't let Indianapolis into the game in the second half. Denver was even able to pull back in the fourth quarter and not show its entire game plan, maybe saving a little bit for the rematch this week.

REPORT CARD VS. COLTS

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer played under control. Indianapolis played a pair of rookies at cornerback and Denver attacked them with good success. The Broncos are getting plenty of contributions from Ashley Lelie as a deep threat and Rod Smith as a possession receiver, but tight end Jeb Putzier's improvement (three catches, 67 yards vs. Indianapolis) is a great sign for Denver's offense.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Tatum Bell and Reuben Droughns combined for 31 carries and 167 yards, something they might have to duplicate in this week's playoff game if the Broncos want to advance. The only problem is a recurring one -- the Broncos struggled inside the red zone, something they need to figure out a solution to.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Rookie Jim Sorgi completed 16-of-25 passes for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns, a very bad sign for the Broncos, who will face Peyton Manning in their first playoff game. Champ Bailey allowed a touchdown to Marvin Harrison and rookie cornerback Roc Alexander gave up a long touchdown to Reggie Wayne.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Broncos weren't facing Edgerrin James after the first series, but they did hold the Colts to 2.3 yards per carry. Dominic Rhodes is accomplished and he only had 34 yards on 12 carries. The Broncos didn't allow a run of more than 10 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Jason Elam hit four field goals and the Broncos finally got a spark from their return teams. Cecil Sapp had a long kickoff return and Charlie Adams had a long punt return. Sapp and Adams hadn't played in those spots all season, and might get a second look this week.

COACHING: B -- The Broncos did what they had to do. The Colts waved the white flag, and the Broncos didn't let Indianapolis into the game in the second half. Denver was even able to pull back in the fourth quarter and not show its entire game plan, maybe saving a little bit for the rematch this week.

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