Broncos v. Chiefs Report Card

The Denver Broncos maintained their lead in the AFC West after a 24-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Check out their grades.

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Aside from one horrible decision on an interception that was returned for a touchdown, Jay Cutler played a very good game. The Broncos made every effort to get Brandon Marshall involved, and he had 11 catches and a pair of touchdowns. Denver's offense is more dynamic when Marshall is making big plays. Cutler completed 32-of-40 passes, including a few huge plays as the Broncos made their comeback.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Things were going fine for the Broncos run game until Peyton Hillis hurt his hamstring at the end of a catch. Hillis had 58 yards on eight carries when he was hurt. Tatum Bell was the last running back remaining and had 52 yards, including an important 28-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Overall the Broncos gained 139 yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Broncos didn't make many big plays but had a solid day in coverage. Rookie safety Josh Barrett did a solid job against Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez in a key matchup for the defense. Denver held the Chiefs without a point over the last 38 minutes of the game.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- In the first meeting between the teams, Kansas City running back Larry Johnson had 198 yards. On Sunday, the Broncos did a very good job against Johnson, allowing 36 yards on 11 carries with no gain longer than 11 yards. Tyler Thigpen added 34 yards rushing, but the Broncos held the Chiefs to fewer than 100 as a team.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The Broncos allowed some long returns in punt and kickoff coverage and a missed field goal by Matt Prater kept the game tied going into the fourth quarter. The Broncos' special teams have been up and down this year, and they would like to tighten things up for the final stretch of the season.

COACHING: B -- The Broncos didn't panic when they fell behind 17-7, and they played a very good game for the final two-and-a-half quarters to get a key win. A loss against Kansas City would have opened the door for the Chargers in the AFC West. As it stands, the Broncos need only one Chargers loss or one win to clinch the division title. Considering how many rookies are playing and how many injuries the team has suffered, that's a credit to the coaching staff.

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