Broncos Report Card vs. Chargers

Broncos Update is handing out the grades from Sunday's 41-3 loss to the Chargers. Check out the full story...


PASSING OFFENSE: D-plus -- Jay Cutler didn't play that poorly, and the Broncos had little choice but to be predictable when they fell behind early. Cutler had one interception, after the game was pretty much over, but WR Brandon Marshall's fumble in the first quarter was a tough blow. The Broncos miss WR Javon Walker, whom they hope returns after the bye. He has a knee injury.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- With the Broncos behind early, the running game wasn't much of a factor. Travis Henry played despite injuries and off-field issues, and he was decent but not great. He had 65 yards on 16 carries. Once again the Broncos had trouble getting into the end zone, and for the first time this season, they scored no touchdowns.

PASS DEFENSE: D-minus -- QB Philip Rivers completed only 13 passes but had 270 yards. The Broncos hadn't given up many big passing plays, but they gave them up in bunches Sunday. The most disturbing was probably a 45-yard gain by Vincent Jackson on a second-and-33 on the first drive of the second half. San Diego ended up with a touchdown on that drive. TE Antonio Gates had little trouble getting open and had seven catches for 113 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- At this point, the Broncos' run defense needs any good news, and containing LaDainian Tomlinson is a start. Tomlinson had only 67 yards on 21 carries, which would have been great progress for the struggling run defense. But Michael Turner had a big game, with 147 yards on 10 carries. He had a 49-yard gain with 13 seconds left in the second half, an embarrassing letdown for the Broncos.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Brian Clark took over as kickoff returner, and on his first attempt, he fumbled. The Chargers recovered and returned it for a touchdown, which gave them a 14-0 lead. That was a major turning point in the game and another black mark on the Broncos' special teams, which have been poor all season.

COACHING: F -- Mike Shanahan wanted the blame for the 41-3 loss put on him. He said he didn't have the Broncos prepared. Whatever the case, it was Denver's worst home loss in 41 years and the worst loss of the Shanahan era. Right now, the coaches don't seem to have many answers for the many problems that have popped up during the team's three-game losing streak. They now get a bye week, which they will need to turn things around.

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