Broncos v. Raiders Report Card

How did the Denver Broncos grade out in their 41-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night?

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Jay Cutler looked fantastic without his top target, suspended receiver Brandon Marshall. He threw for 299 yards, mostly using rookie Eddie Royal as his main weapon. The team picked on Raiders cornerback DeAngelo Hall with Royal, which shows the kind of confidence they have in the rookie. Cutler looks like he is on his way to a Pro Bowl season.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Nobody took the lead role. Selvin Young and Andre Hall took most of the carries between the 20s and Michael Pittman was the short-yardage back, rushing for two touchdowns. Young and Hall will continue in a timeshare, and each will lose some plays to Pittman. The Broncos were pretty good running the ball against Oakland, with 142 yards on 34 carries.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- JaMarcus Russell looked flustered against Denver's defense, finishing with 180 yards on 26 attempts. Most of those yards came after the game was decided. Denver got a little bit of pressure on Russell with a pair of sacks, but didn't intercept him.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Justin Fargas broke a 42-yard run late that skewed the statistics. Oakland had 150 yards, but when the game was in doubt the Broncos did pretty well against the Raiders, who rushed on their first eight plays and thought they would be able to move the ball on the ground. The Broncos were quite pleased with how the run defense held up.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- A 58-yard kickoff return by the Raiders on their first attempt of the night was probably their biggest play. There were some coverage issues and Denver's own kick return game wasn't that great. On the bright side, kicker Matt Prater made both of his field-goal attempts.

COACHING: A -- Denver had a risky game plan, featuring Royal making his NFL debut. But the Broncos didn't get conservative without Marshall and pushed the ball upfield, using many different targets while mixing in the run effectively. Unlike the Raiders, the Broncos looked well prepared for what was supposed to be a tough game on the road.



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