Broncos v. Chargers Report Card

The Denver Broncos were swamped at the beginning of the game. They got back in the game in the third quarter but couldn't tie it up in the fourth quarter. The Broncos' decision to switch quarterbacks two weeks ago doesn't look that good now, and they haven't had many answers during their first four-game losing streak since 1999.

REPORT CARD: DENVER BRONCOS V. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Jay Cutler played poorly in the first half, had a very good third quarter, then a tough fourth quarter. The flashes he showed in the third quarter give Denver some confidence going forward. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns that quarter, working mostly out of a spread formation. In the fourth quarter the Chargers' rush started to get to him and the Broncos couldn't move the ball.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Had the Broncos not fallen behind so quickly, their effectiveness in the running game might have been a huge factor. Tatum Bell went over 100 yards and backup Mike Bell was also effective. But the Broncos were down 28-3 at halftime and the running game didn't matter much.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Philip Rivers completed many deep passes, and had a couple of nice touchdown throws to tight end Antonio Gates. The Broncos didn't get much of a pass rush, and cornerback Darrent Williams struggled against double moves. Rivers probably would have had more than 300 yards if the game would have been more competitive.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Even though LaDainian Tomlinson had more than 100 yards and three touchdowns against Denver, the Broncos didn't do a bad job containing him. Tomlinson broke a couple of good gains, but on many plays he was swarmed near the line of scrimmage. Two short touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, and the NFL record that Tomlinson broke on them, made the Broncos' performance look worse than it was.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Jason Elam kicked through a hamstring injury and hit all of his kicks. That was the good news. The flip side is that their coverage teams didn't play well again, and they haven't hit a long return in many weeks.

COACHING: D -- The Broncos were swamped at the beginning of the game. They got back in the game in the third quarter but couldn't tie it up in the fourth quarter. The Broncos' decision to switch quarterbacks two weeks ago doesn't look that good now, and they haven't had many answers during their first four-game losing streak since 1999.



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