Broncos v. Chiefs Report Card

The Denver Broncos defense allowed plenty of yards to Chiefs running back Larry Johnson even though they knew he was going to get the ball a lot. But they didn't allow a long run that broke their back, and made several key tackles in important situations. Check out the grades of the defense and the other Broncos' units in today's report card.

REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan decided Jake Plummer wasn't going to lose the game against the Chiefs, after turning it over four times in Week 1. So Shanahan scaled down the game plan, called a lot of running plays on third and long and kept Plummer out of situations where he could turn the ball over. Plummer did have one interception that led to a Chiefs field goal but the Broncos overcame it. Denver needs to decide how many chances they're willing to let Plummer take.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Broncos were disappointed in their running game, until the fourth quarter and overtime. Tatum Bell and Mike Bell started to get some significant gains on the ground and were a big part of the victory. Tatum Bell's 20-yard run in overtime was one of the biggest plays of the game.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Kansas City's Damon Huard, subbing for injured Trent Green, completed a lot of his passes, but most were short dump-offs. The Broncos didn't allow many big plays, aside from a 37-yard pass to Eddie Kennison when they bit on a play fake. That was Kansas City's only pass play of more than 14 yards. Considering Huard was getting rid of the ball quickly, Denver had a pretty good day rushing the quarterback.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- Denver allowed plenty of yards to running back Larry Johnson even though they knew he was going to get the ball a lot. But they didn't allow a long run that broke their back, and made several key tackles in important situations. The biggest might have been when linebacker Ian Gold dropped Johnson for a three-yard loss at midfield with less than a minute remaining. Denver also forced Johnson to lose a fumble inside the 10-yard line.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The Broncos are not very good in the return game. Cedric Cobbs almost fumbled away the opening kickoff in overtime. Denver allowed a couple of nice returns by Dante Hall but none that were a difference in the game. Jason Elam missed one field goal but hit his last three, including the game-winner in overtime.

COACHING: C -- The Broncos didn't have much faith in their quarterback. They gambled that the defense wouldn't allow much to the Chiefs and backup quarterback Huard, which was the case, but made the game very low scoring and close. The Broncos can't expect their defense to hold every opponent out of the end zone, so they have to start putting Plummer in situations in which he can succeed.



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