Broncos v. Saints Report Card

How did the Denver Broncos grade out in their 34-32 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday?

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus - The Broncos weren't as explosive as their previous game against San Diego, but they were good enough. Jay Cutler completed 21 of 24 passes for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He got some huge plays from Brandon Marshall, who had six catches for 155 yards. Cutler had one interception, which helped the Saints get back in the game, but he has been very efficient all season.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus - The Broncos were once again solid but not spectacular running the ball. Selvin Young got a little more workload, which meant 11 carries for 65 yards. Michael Pittman has turned into a reliable goal-line and short-yardage runner. He scored his fourth touchdown on the season. As a team Denver had 105 yards on 24 attempts.

PASS DEFENSE: F - The Broncos barely slowed down a Saints passing offense that was without receiver Marques Colston. Drew Brees had 39 of 48 passes for 421 yards and a touchdown. Even after New Orleans fell behind 21-3, Brees got the Saints back in the game. Denver had no interceptions and Denver had only one sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: B - Reggie Bush gained 73 yards on 18 carries, but mostly the Broncos defense played well. They were especially good against Pierre Thomas in short-yardage situations. Thomas was stuffed on a fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line by Nate Webster and on a third-and-one late in the game by D.J. Williams. The Saints averaged only 3.5 yards per attempt.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B - The Broncos weren't burned by a long return, although their own return game has yet to break a huge play. Punter Brett Kern made up for a punt out of bounds after a safety with a clutch 56-yard punt in the final half minute that backed the Saints up.

COACHING: B - The Broncos need to shore up their pass defense, which is one reason two straight teams came back to give the Broncos a game after falling behind 21-3. But the offense has been rolling along, finding ways to get the ball to their playmakers. Denver hasn't been 3-0 since 2003, and virtually nobody expected this after last year's 7-9 disappointment.



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