Broncos v. Jets Report Card

Getting the Denver Broncos ready for a tough road game with two-and-a-half days preparation before traveling to Dallas wasn't easy, but the coaches did a fine job. Denver won a huge road game without playing its best, and got a few extra days to rest before its next game. Read how the Broncos graded on their performance in Dallas.

REPORT CARD VS. COWBOYS
PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus
-- Jake Plummer's streak without an interception finally ended at 229 passes. The Cowboys didn't give up very much to Denver's passing game. Plummer had 162 yards. He did have a nice touchdown pass to Rod Smith, and he did enough to guide Denver to a win.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- The Broncos once again struggled against a 3-4 defense. Mike Anderson had a lot of trouble, gaining 31 yards. His longest run was five yards. But Ron Dayne, playing because Tatum Bell was inactive, saved the Broncos. He had 98 yards on seven carries, and his 55-yard run in overtime set up the game-winning field goal.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Champ Bailey was in the right place at the right time for an interception and a 65-yard touchdown return. Denver had trouble with Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Bailey was fooled on a fake wide receiver screen, leading to a touchdown by Keyshawn Johnson. But Denver allowed only one catch longer than 20 yards and made plays late in the game to send it to overtime.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Dallas didn't give up on its running game. The Cowboys pounded the ball on the ground 32 times, but they averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. Julius Jones was held to less than three yards per carry and Marion Barber didn't have a run longer than six yards. The Broncos swarmed to the ball with their speed on defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Punter Todd Sauerbrun had a solid game, averaging 44.4 yards per punt, and Jason Elam did hit a chip shot field goal to win the game. But the rest of the special teams weren't a big factor. However, neither were Dallas' special teams. Neither team allowed any long returns or had any disastrous plays in the kicking game.

COACHING: A -- Getting Denver ready for a tough road game with two-and-a-half days preparation before traveling to Dallas wasn't easy, but the Broncos coaches did a fine job. Mike Shanahan made an interesting decision to go with Ron Dayne instead of Mike Anderson at tailback to start overtime, and then Dayne broke a 55-yard run that was the difference. Denver won a huge road game without playing its best, and got a few extra days to rest before its next game.



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