Opponents may have to target Marshall

At some point, opponents will do whatever it takes to take Brandon Marshall out of the game. Until then, the Denver Broncos will keep feeding him the ball.

Marshall had a NFL record 21 receptions in a loss to the Colts on Sunday. He had 200 yards and two touchdowns, and now has 86 catches on the season. Nobody else on the Broncos has more than 34. The Raiders will be the next opponent to try to slow down Marshall when they play at Denver on Sunday.

The Broncos often say they don't design an offensive plan around anyone getting a certain amount of touches. They didn't expect to throw the ball to Marshall that often Sunday. But when Marshall was covered by cornerback Tim Jennings, the Broncos tested that matchup and kept getting receptions. Indianapolis didn't do much to take him out of the game, so the Broncos targeted Marshall 28 times.

"That's where the read took him and that's where the coverages dictated we throw," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.

Marshall looks healthy after dealing with a hip injury most of last season -- he had offseason surgery -- and with his monster game he's back on track for a third straight 100-catch season. Marshall's big season could lead to another drama-filled offseason because his contract is up after this year, but that will be addressed at a later point.

For the rest of this year, the offense will ride Marshall. He is playing with supreme confidence. A few weeks ago against the Giants he told McDaniels to get him the ball, and he made a pair of one-handed catches. Then before his record-setting game, he told a couple of assistant coaches he was going to have the best game of his career. Strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten reminded him he caught 18 balls against San Diego last season.

"I said, 'That wasn't anything,'" Marshall said.

The only drawback for Marshall's record game was it came in a loss. His final catch, to break the record, came on a fourth down and was short of the first-down marker.

"Whenever you accomplish something like that, it feels pretty good," Marshall said. "But at the end of the day we have a goal, and our ultimate goal is to win games."

LINEUP WATCH: Knowshon Moreno is running out of competition for carries. Correll Buckhalter left Sunday's game on crutches with an ankle injury. Buckhalter said it is the same type of ankle injury he had earlier in the season that cost him a game, but to a different foot. The Broncos have shown almost no confidence in Peyton Hillis, even in short-yardage situations. Hillis, who is 240 pounds, didn't get a chance in short-yardage situations against the Colts even though Moreno was stuffed on two fourth-and-1 situations. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels emphatically said he didn't consider Hillis, that they were "putting our best player out there."

UNDER THE RADAR: Ty Law hasn't gotten much attention since joining the team in early November, and for good reason. The veteran cornerback has been good in coverage and hasn't been thrown at much. He has settled down the nickel cornerback position. That will be big as the Broncos go into the stretch run and perhaps the playoffs.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--S David Bruton was inactive against the Colts with a thigh injury. The Broncos need him to recover, because they have some injuries in the secondary.

--S Renaldo Hill left the stadium on crutches after Denver's loss to Indianapolis. He has an ankle injury. Darcel McBath would take his place, but got treatment after the game for an injury of his own.

--CB Andre Goodman played well against the Colts. The Colts targeted Pierre Garcon nine times, often with Goodman in coverage, and Garcon caught only two for 39 yards.

--QB Kyle Orton had a pretty good game in the loss to the Colts. He completed 29 of 41 passes for 277 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was able to get Brandon Marshall the ball 21 times for 200 yards.

--WR Eddie Royal had one catch for 3 yards against the Colts, as he continues his quiet season. Brandon Marshall got 28 targets, and is the obvious No. 1 receiver on the Broncos offense. Royal has 34 catches for 317 yards.



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