Broncos Report Card vs Raiders

Check out how the Broncos graded out against the Oakland Raiders.

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- The Broncos are relying almost exclusively on Brandon Marshall in the passing game. He caught seven passes, nobody else had more than three. The Broncos didn't hit many big plays in the passing game as the Raiders' cornerbacks challenged Denver's receivers. Kyle Orton didn't make any huge mistakes, but he also could have played better in the red zone, which was a major problem for the Broncos on Sunday.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Against the 30th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL, Knowshon Moreno averaged 2.2 yards per carry. When the Broncos needed to run some clock leading by three points with four minutes left, they ran three plays -- two of them incomplete passes. The running game sorely missed Correll Buckhalter on Sunday. Buckhalter, who missed the game with an ankle injury, provides some explosiveness. Denver also didn't do much in short-yardage situations.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- When the Broncos needed a stop against JaMarcus Russell, they couldn't get it. On Oakland's final drive Russell hit a 4th-and-10 completion and also tossed the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left. Although the Broncos didn't play terribly against the pass the entire game, not getting the play they needed against Russell -- who was passed over for the starting assignment early in the week and was in only because Charlie Frye got hurt -- was tough to explain.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Denver allowed too many big plays despite knowing the Raiders were going to be one-dimensional. Michael Bush and Darren McFadden each played well. The Broncos didn't do a good enough job preventing big runs on cutbacks. The Raiders gained 7.1 yards per carry.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Broncos haven't gotten many big plays out of their special teams in weeks. Punter Mitch Berger shanked his first punt, although he was better after that. Kicker Matt Prater is a bright spot lately. He hit all four of his field-goal attempts and is having a fantastic season.

COACHING: F -- The Broncos needed to win home games against Oakland and Kansas City to make the playoffs. To lose one of them is inexcusable. The game had plenty of odd moments, from the play-calling to personnel decisions. The Broncos were beat in situational football, on which Josh McDaniels prides himself.



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