Broncos v. Falcons Report Card

The Denver Broncos have won two straight road games despite fourth-quarter deficits, five injured defensive starters and five injured tailbacks. Check out the latest grades

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Jay Cutler didn't put up gaudy numbers as in some of his other starts, but that was fine with the Broncos because he didn't make any mistakes. Cutler didn't throw any interceptions and made a few huge throws in the fourth quarter, including a long pass to Brandon Marshall on third down, a touch pass to RB Peyton Hillis to get Denver inside Atlanta's 10-yard line and a clutch throw to TE Daniel Graham on third-and-goal from the 9-yard line.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Given the Broncos' tailback situation, 124 yards and 5 yards a carry was a fantastic effort. Peyton Hillis, a natural fullback, ran hard in his first start at tailback. He had a pair of touchdowns. Backups Tatum Bell and P.J. Pope also kept the chains moving with some hard runs.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Denver came after Matt Ryan with some blitzes and paid for it a few times, but a blitz caused Ryan's only interception, thrown to CB Dre Bly. Denver played without two starting defensive backs, including CB Champ Bailey, so allowing 250 yards and no touchdowns through the air wasn't a bad result.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- Denver allowed 114 yards to Atlanta, which was a big victory for the defense. Atlanta gained only 3.3 yards per carry, despite being the second-ranked rushing attack in the NFL coming into the game. Aside from one major breakdown on Michael Turner's 28-yard touchdown run, the Broncos played a solid game, swarming Atlanta's running backs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Eddie Royal is turning into a fantastic kick returner, and the Broncos' kick coverage units are playing as well as they have in years. The only issue is that Matt Prater missed another field goal, but overall he is having a good season.

COACHING: A -- The Broncos won two straight road games despite fourth-quarter deficits, five injured defensive starters and five injured tailbacks. Mike Shanahan and his staff deserve a lot of credit for getting a large group of young players ready to go and putting them in positions to succeed.



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