Broncos vs. Lions Report Card

Even with the injuries the Denver Broncos have suffered, the thought of getting blown out by five touchdowns twice in a season was unthinkable for a team that made many offseason moves and had hopes of competing for a division title this season.

REPORT CARD VS. LIONS
PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus
-- Patrick Ramsey was at his best after the game was decided, but he wasn't the lone culprit Sunday. Ramsey actually handled the situation well, coming in for the first time all season after Jay Cutler hurt his leg. Ramsey had two bad mistakes that turned the game into a blowout, however. A fumble on a sack near Denver's goal line was returned for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, he threw a pass right to DT Shaun Rogers, who ran 66 yards for a touchdown. Ramsey and Cutler didn't get much help from the offensive line, which had a lot of trouble against Detroit's pass rush.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Aside from one 22-yard run in the third quarter, Travis Henry had 9 yards on eight carries. He has been struggling lately, and changes on the offensive line due to injuries have been a factor. Denver could hardly run the ball after falling behind 23-0 early in the third quarter. Still, the Broncos needed to establish their run game early and couldn't. That was the start of a long day.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Denver gave up too many big plays in bad spots. The worst sequence was a pair of 40-plus yard pass plays that resulted in a two-play, 96-yard touchdown drive for the Lions. Once again the defensive line didn't get much pressure and the secondary didn't create any big turnovers. Since the second half of the San Diego loss on Oct. 7, the Broncos have looked vulnerable in the secondary. Losing John Lynch, who was inactive after suffering a stinger, doesn't help.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- Kevin Jones had some nice runs, and T.J. Duckett ripped off some big runs off the bench for the Lions. Detroit didn't dominate in the running game, but allowing 130 yards and 4.5 yards per attempt on the ground isn't exactly a feather in Denver's cap. The Lions were effective early in the running game, which helped keep Denver's offense off the field and out of rhythm.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Andre Hall had a good day returning kickoffs, one of the few bright spots for the Broncos. Denver has played much better on special teams since its bye three weeks ago, although the Broncos would love if the special teams eased some pressure off the offense and defense with a huge play like a return for a touchdown or a blocked punt. Still, the progress on special teams is welcomed.

COACHING: F -- The Broncos have suffered two shocking losses -- a 38-point loss to San Diego and a 37-point loss to Detroit on Sunday. Each time, Mike Shanahan has expressed embarrassment, and he said it has been a challenging time for the franchise. Even with the injuries the Broncos have suffered, including one in the first half to Cutler, the thought of getting blown out by five touchdowns twice in a season was unthinkable for a team that made many offseason moves and had hopes of competing for a division title this season.



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