Broncos Update Insider - 12/15

Although the score didn't really reflect it, the Broncos showed Sunday that they can compete with the best team in the AFC.

From the middle of the first quarter to the middle of the fourth quarter, the Broncos controlled the game against the Colts. From the time Indianapolis took a 14-0 lead to the point where the Broncos cut the lead to 21-16, Denver outgained the Colts 344-99.

Understandably, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels didn't want to talk about moral victories. He rightfully focused on the many mistakes that cost Denver a chance for the upset.

"When you play against a football team like that, that's one of, if not the best team in the league, and you make too many mistakes in critical situations and don't execute better under pressure than they do, you can't beat them," McDaniels said.

The Broncos did get to measure themselves against the team that has the top seed in the AFC playoffs, and they fared pretty well. With three weeks to go -- and a playoff berth looking likely -- the Broncos know what things they need to do better to make a run in January.

"I'll tell you this -- we understand where we want to go," McDaniels said. "We got a really close-up look at it for four quarters."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Although Josh McDaniels wasn't interested in claiming a moral victory after Sunday's loss to the Colts, receiver Brandon Marshall was happy with some of the things the Broncos did.

"We definitely saw today if we play our best ball and eliminate the mistakes, we have a shot to play with the best of them," Marshall said. "We walk away with our heads high today."

--The Broncos suffered a big loss on Sunday when safety Darcel McBath broke his forearm. He will go on injured reserve. In addition to being a solid contributor on defense when he has been asked to play, McBath is one of Denver's best special teams players. He leads the team in special teams tackles.

"He'll be missed in that sense," McDaniels said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Peyton Hillis is apparently in the doghouse, but the Broncos don't have too many choices behind Knowshon Moreno if Correll Buckhalter misses some time with an ankle injury. Moreno played just about every down in the last three quarters after Buckhalter got hurt against the Colts.

--S Vernon Fox, who played with Denver last year, was signed to replace injured Darcel McBath. Fox could take many of McBath's roles on special teams.

--S Josh Barrett could see more playing time with rookie Darcel McBath's injury. Barrett has a little more experience than rookie S David Bruton. He could be Denver's first safety off the bench.

--TE Daniel Graham caught one pass for 6 yards, which follows a pattern. Graham has not been a big part of the pass game with RT Ryan Harris out of the lineup because he has more blocking responsibilities. Harris is out for the rest of the season.

--S Brian Dawkins had two interceptions, both on tipped passes, against Indianapolis. Dawkins didn't have an interception before Sunday but is second on the Broncos in tackles.



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