Broncos v. Cardinals Report Card

Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler was in command the whole game against the Arizona Cardinals. He looked very little like a rookie making his third career start. Check out how Cutler and the rest of the Broncos graded for the game.

REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Jay Cutler was in command the whole game. He looked very little like a rookie making his third career start. He threw the ball hard and on target, especially on third downs. His 54-yard pass to Javon Walker to start the game was impressive. He also spread the ball around, which is a good sign for the Broncos offense going forward.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Cardinals loaded up against the run and did a good job stopping it. Tatum Bell saw his playing time cut after a second quarter fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Mike Bell had a solid game, rushing for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Broncos did a good job taking away Cardinals receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Neither had a catch in the first half. They got some passes in the second half but no game-breaking plays. The Broncos ran a little more zone defense than usual because of an injury to starting cornerback Darrent Williams, and executed well. Matt Leinart didn't have much time to throw, and he tossed a pair of interceptions to Champ Bailey.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Edgerrin James didn't have many holes to run through on Sunday. The Broncos wanted to make sure James, who had back-to-back 100-yard games coming into Sunday's game, didn't beat them. James had 63 yards on 14 carries, which was manageable.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Denver's special teams finally contributed to a win. Quincy Morgan's 64-yard return late in the third quarter set up a touchdown that put the game away. Denver covered kicks pretty well, and reliable kicker Jason Elam hit all three field-goal attempts.

COACHING: A -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan deserves credit for not letting his team go in the tank after a four-game losing streak, and for Jay Cutler's stunning progression in three weeks. Cutler has come a long way since his first start, and that was only on Dec. 3. The Broncos had a good plan against the Cardinals and executed it very well.



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