Game Grades: Lions vs. Broncos

COACHING: A. Coach Rod Marinelli said this was the closest the Lions had come to playing at an elite level. Everything came together. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz made some great calls, like when the Lions drove 95 yards in two plays and broke open the game. More game grades inside.

REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Jon Kitna avoided an interception for the third straight game. Any coincidence the Lions are on a three-game winning streak? Kitna was 16-for-31 for 252 yards and two touchdowns. WR Shaun McDonald had another good day with a team-leading five catches for 78 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Facing the worst run defense in the NFL, the Lions came out running. They rushed for 130 yards against the Broncos. RB Kevin Jones had 17 carries for 71 yards. RB T.J. Duckett had five carries for 48 yards and a touchdown.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- When DT Shaun Rogers returns an interception 66 yards for a touchdown, you know it's your day. Rogers sacked QB Jay Cutler, and Cutler suffered a leg injury when DT Cory Redding dove into the pile. The Lions showed no mercy to backup QB Patrick Ramsey. They totaled five sacks and 11 quarterback hurries.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The Lions got ahead of the Broncos and forced them to throw. But when the Broncos tried to run, they mostly failed. RB Travis Henry busted a 22-yard run, but he had only 9 yards on eight other carries. RB Selvin Young had six carries for 12 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The Lions tried an early onside kick and failed to recover it. But Jason Hanson kicked three field goals for the third consecutive game, one of them from 53 yards, while Denver's Jason Elam missed a 48-yarder. And P Nick Harris pinned the Broncos inside their 10-yard line twice.

COACHING: A -- Coach Rod Marinelli said this was the closest the Lions had come to playing at an elite level. Everything came together. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz made some great calls, like when the Lions drove 95 yards in two plays and broke open the game. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry called some well-timed blitzes.


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