Broncos v. Steelers Report Card

Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer has good timing with wide receiver Javon Walker on the jump balls that Walker is so good coming down with. Denver kept extra players in against the Steelers to protect Plummer, which turned out to be a smart choice. Check out how Plummer and the Broncos graded out in the game.

REPORT CARD VS. STEELERS

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Javon Walker is becoming a force for the Broncos. Denver's offensive game plan revolved around feeding Walker the ball whenever he got single coverage, which was surprisingly often. Jake Plummer has good timing with Walker on the jump balls that Walker is so good coming down with. Denver kept extra players in to protect Plummer, which turned out to be a smart choice.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- One 72-yard run on a reverse by Javon Walker was almost all of Denver's rushing offense. Rookie Mike Bell started for banged-up Tatum Bell and rushed for 28 yards on 17 carries. Cedric Cobbs had only 9 yards off the bench. The Broncos couldn't move the ball consistently on the ground, so they relied more on the passing game.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Denver gave up 433 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger but came up with a number of big plays. Champ Bailey intercepted two passes inside Denver's 5-yard line. The Broncos gave up a lot of yards but only one passing touchdown. Denver can't live on the edge like that every week, but it worked against the Steelers.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Steelers didn't have a lot of rushing attempts. They fell behind 14-0 early in the game and passed a lot to get back in the game. The game might have turned out differently if they could have established the run early. Pittsburgh averaged 5.1 yards per carry, and Willie Parker had 70 yards on 14 carries against Denver's defense. The Broncos were hurt when they lost three starters in the first half because of injury.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- One of the biggest plays of the game came after Denver took a 7-0 lead. Keith Burns forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Darrent Williams ran it back to the Pittsburgh 10-yard line. Javon Walker scored a touchdown three plays later. Paul Ernster had a good day punting and on kickoffs, and new kickoff returner Brian Clark showed a spark Denver hasn't seen much this year.

COACHING: A -- The Broncos had a good offensive game plan against Pittsburgh. They kept extra players in to protect Jake Plummer and took advantage of man coverage against Javon Walker. They respected Pittsburgh's run defense but took what the Steelers gave them. The defense gave up a lot of yards but forced key turnovers. The Broncos had to adjust on the fly when they suffered many injuries on defense, and the backups were prepared.



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