The O'Reilly Report

Broncos Update Contributor Dan O'Reilly passes out grades for the Denver Broncos in their 12-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Stop me if you've heard this: an ugly win is still a win. This was, by just about any definition, an ugly win. It was a game the Denver Broncos should have used to roll over the Ravens and get healthy, but instead it turned out to be a dogfight to the finish. The important thing is that this win, plus the Cowboys and Dolphins wins over Kansas CIty and San Diego, respectively, gives the Broncos a two-game cushion with three left to play. The bad thing is that yet again, some glaring weaknesses in the Broncos game have been exposed.

Offense: D
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This was one of the most ineffective games the offense has played in recent years. The play calling seemed uninspired, the rushing game was fair ineffective, and while Plummer had a decent day passing, they Broncos just plain couldn't put the ball into the end zone.

It really seemed as the offense was just plain having a major letdown from last week's game against KC. It's easy to say (and I've seen it said already) "the Ravens' defense is a top defense, they're hard to score against". True, but then how could a VERY sub-par Houston Texan team put up more points against the Ravens than the high-powered Broncos offense?

On the plus side, quarterback Jake Plummer had a fairly mistake-free day, although he missed some wide-open receivers and made some bad throws at inopportune times. The third-down conversion rate was much better at 50% than it's been so far this season.

Defense: B-
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Holding Baltimore to 10 points is hardly a banner game for the defense, as terrible as the Ravens' offense is right now. Yet again, the defensive backs played soft on the receivers, which allowed Bollinger to look much better than he really is. Had QB Kyle Boller made fewer mistakes, the Ravens could have easily won this game. And yet again, a pass rush that had trouble getting to the QB combined with the soft DB play to make things even worse.

On the plus side, all three starting linebackers had a very solid game. Al Wilson has become the heart and soul of this defense, and Ian Gold is playing a close second to him. Kudos to Champ Bailey for his continuing strings of INT's, and to John Lynch for his hard hits.

Special Teams: D
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A blocked punt, a missed PAT, a long runback on the opening kickoff. No reason for ANY of those mistakes. Add in the occasional (it seems "typical" may be a more descriptive word) flag on the kick coverage, and this made for a lousy special-teams performance.

Coaching: C
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As mentioned before, an uninspired offensive game plan. The defensive game plan was obviously adequate, but why defensive coordinator Larry Coyer allows the DB's to play so far off the receivers is still beyond my comprehension.



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