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Published on 12/15/2009 at Tue Dec 15 12:00.
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Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moren, left, is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Melvin Bullitt in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. The Colts defeated the Broncos 28-16. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moren, left, is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Melvin Bullitt in the third quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009. The Colts defeated the Broncos 28-16. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Broncos 16, Colts 28. Studs and Duds gentlemen, who ya got?

Dud/s: Coaches
I’m not an NFL coach.  And I’m not a defensive guru… but I could see fairly quickly yesterday that switching our Defense into a 4-2 for this game didn’t confuse or slow Manning in the first quarter of play.  I also was screaming for us to stop running up the middle about two rushes after both Larsen and Bucky were sidelined – it took our coach a bit longer than that to switch tactics and begin throwing the ball first and THEN running an occasional draw play to keep the Colts defense honest.  So, my duds this game are going to the coaches on both sides of the ball.  It was the wrong tactic to have our defense try something new rather than play the way they have been successfully playing most of this season and there was way too much delay in adapting to our lack of a ground game by our offensive play-caller. – Jonathan Douglas

Double-Dud: Josh McDaniels
You DEFER?! DEFER?! I can’t get over it. – Kyle

Stud: Brian Dawkins
He kept the defense amped, kept them executing, kept the team in it, & made plays when he needed to. It’s hard to tell what went wrong in the first 12mins of the game & the last 8 mins… then again, we always have the “Peyton being Peyton” excuse. – J. Kenneth K.

Dud: Wesley Woodyard
I happen to be a huge Wesley fan, and I do love the way he flies around the field, but he has been exposed for his lack of pass coverage over this season. Targeted numerous times in this game, without doubt Peyton knew the touchdown that burried the Broncos would come on Woodyard’s side. – J. Kenneth K.

Duds: Offensive Line
The offensive line, because Chris Kuper didn’t get that first down… just kidding. People wonder whether Ryan Clady is regressing — I don’t believe so. Joe Thomas is considered one of the best on his play has lagged since his rookie year. Last year Clady had the improved version of Ben Hamilton, the non false starting Casey Wiegmann, and Ryan Harris to play with. It’s obvious that Russ Hochstein hasn’t been stellar and Tyler Polumbus can only do so much, so the young Ryan Clady has more on his plate this season. The offensive line is only as good as it’s weakest link, and there are too many rusty chains in it right now. Here’s to Denver grabbing OG Logan Mankins in free agency (provided New England doesn’t resign him). – Mr. East

Stud/s: Defense
Heck, we had them all over the defense. Even though we lost, I felt like we had some GREAT player-makers out there on the field! I think D.J. Williams leads my list, but Brian Dawkins, Andre Goodman and rookie Darcel McBath were all outstanding. This game did nothing to diminish my opinion of our team’s abilities. We played a solid game — after the coaches got their ‘stuff’ straight and made some adjustments. We have Oakland, Philly and KC to go. I think we have a great shot at making the playoffs — and that’s much more than most of us had hoped for before the season started. – Jonathan Douglas

  • SivNiz

    What’s wrong with deferring?

  • Bobby

    Nobody picked Brandon Marshall? Dude set an NFL record…

  • T-Money

    If we deferred to the Raiders or the Chiefs…it would be different because we know that we can rely on our defense to go out and make a statment early.

    But when you defer to the COLTS and put the ball in the NFL's MVP in a game that you need to match them point for point and you want them chasing you and not you chasing them…. Josh screwed the pooch on this one.

  • T-Money


    I give it to the SECOND HALF Defense. When you can force the best quarterback in the NFL into his worst game of the season AND get 3 turnovers… You're doing something right.

    Brandon Marshall gets this one for sure. He made losing not so bad by putting on a WR clinic. Kid was ballin all day!

    It think Champ might be here too. He held Reggie Wayne to only 3 catches (all on the money throws). That's getting it done.


    Josh McD.

    The offense. When your defense gives you the ball 3 times in INDY territory….YOU NEED TO SCORE POINTS.

  • Jack

    A few things here: Deferring doesn't mean Peyton gets the ball anymore than he would have if McD hadn't deferred. It just changes *when* he gets the ball.
    While it did give the Colts the opportunity to score first, it wasn't like we were going to win a shootout. In the end, we're a defensive team; If our defense can't get stops, we aren't going to win.

  • Gary_in_SD

    I wouldn't even defer to Manning if the game was in Denver and the crowd was in his face while their throats are still fresh! Not even if there was heavy wind and snow thrown into the mix too with a chance of clearing in the 2nd half!… When I heard that the Broncos deferred, I immediately screamed out OH NO!

    I'm sure that Baby Belichek will hear about it from Papa Belichek on that boneheaded move!

  • Gary_in_SD

    Son of Bum needs to get that “up the middle doesn't work” memo too!

  • mikebirty

    defer every time.

    putting aside the weak statistical argument that some other blog put out there – it allows the strongest of the three phases of the team to go out there and make a statement. Who cares if it is JaMarcus the Hutt, Peyton MVP or me throwing the ball – you're putting faith in your strengths and you're making the statement that you're not worried about Mr MVP.

  • Armchair Stevie

    Dud: McDaniels — c'mon Coach, give the friggin' ball to HILLIS on 3rd and short, 4th and short. Didn't you see the guys moving piles of bodies last year? He's a steamroller and you've got him warming the bench!

  • TheTroglodyte

    Josh McDaniels did a lot of things wrong but defering was not one of them. If we got the ball first and punted and the Colts score and we punt and the Colts score blah blah blah we go into half time down the same score 21 – 7. Then the Colts get the ball to start the second half instead of us. Not that it mattered anyway because we couldn't put points on the board. The defense played great. Yeah they gave up 21 quick points but they got 3 picks and put us in great position to tie the game up several times and the offense failed.

    The defense adjusted and played a very solid game. Josh McD's play calling, Kyle Orton's inaccuracy, the offensive lines inability to open up any holes or even hold the line is what killed this game. Props to Nolan for making some great on his feet adjustments and getting it done on his end.

  • Seahorse

    I'd give a dud to Moreno. 2.7 yards a carry, indecision, poor play when it counted the most. And although his dud is married to the O-lines dud, I saw him stutter step and move sideways way too much yesterday. He's a great runner when he commits to the run… just commit more often.

    Thought I was watching Sammy Winder.

  • broncoinva9986

    THis article is a dud….because it lacked to mention marshall who set an NFL record with receptions

  • magster

    Stud: Brandon Marshall. How is he not on the list? 21 catches, 2 touchdowns, and made a 50 year old woman weep tears of joy when he gave her a football…

    nuff said

  • magster

    Hey, I like Sammy Winder. He was awesome! Best endzone dance in Broncos' history.

  • Plato

    You're a dud.

    Picking Marshall as a stud is way to easy nimrod. Don't insult the people who put their time and effort into this website, it's rude.

  • Plato

    For all of you who keep on saying “McDaniels needs to understand that running up the middle doesn't work” need to comprehend that running that Sunday just didn't work. It could have been any type of run play that down and it most likely would have failed. The Colts did a great job against the run while not causing any penalties like Denver's offensive line did. That is what is really hurting the offense this year.

  • Plato

    Don't be disrespectful to the people who work on this site. Isn't it obvious that Marshall would be too easy of a choice? 4 Duds and 2 Studs were picked, who cares if Marshall caught 211 balls for 2,000 yards? A loss is a loss, and the team should be focused on that.

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  • Kyle

    Some studs go without saying. Brandon Marshall's 21 catches has been highlighted quite often on this site in the past two days.

    I think we should have added Kyle Orton as a stud though. He had a helluva game, outplayed TGPM.

  • steeplebomb

    That assumes that one phase of the game doesn't have an impact on the others. If our offense were to go out and score on a long grinding drive, perhaps the colt offense would perform differently than if they were given the ball after kickoff. Our defense may be our best unit, but no defense is great against peyton manning.

  • steeplebomb

    This. So frustrating. I wonder what McD sees that we don't. It seems painfully obvious that up the gut on x and short is a no go for our offense.

  • Kyle

    We have the tools to win a shootout. Kyle Orton hasn't been consistently that good, but he has been at times. Remember that 98-yard drive to force OT against NE?

  • robtink242

    I cant see me deferring against Peyton Manning. i understand what you are saying but lets say we went into over time against the colts. As much faith i have in our defense. I'd Kill to get the ball first in the OT. Peyton Manning won a game playing 15mins. in other words he is going to score.

  • monto

    I'd go with Orton too, he had a higher completion percentage and fewer interceptions than PM on a day where the pressure was on the pass offence with the rushing so inconsistant

    Defence once they'd settled in was dominating, just a shame we couldn't get those adjustments in place until they'd pulled so far ahead

    Deferring goes either way, if the D had been able to get things done from the off then we'd be laughing but it didn't, not going to bust McD's nuggets too hard on that one but I will on the fact we STILL can't convert short yard situations.

    And whats with the dedication to running up the middle? Look at the KC highlights and they were running rampant as soon as they got some room yet we still keep running up the middle. I like Knowshon and the rook can run hard but he isn't a power back, he can't force his way through and if we make guys like Bucky take those hits then it's no surprise if he goes down.

  • herc_rock

    Sammy didn't dance. You're probably thinking about Gerald Willhite.

  • magster

    The Mississippi Mud Walk…

    Don't you remember Winder's awesome run after catch on a screen play against Cleveland for the go ahead score in “the Fumble” game? One of the best Broncos' TDs ever…

  • Nick Shadow

    The offensive line is dinged up and has suffered the loss of Hamilton ( a healthy Hamilton, good, but he should certainly retire) and Ryan. They are also smallish. In Mareno's defense, many times there was no place to run, don't care who you put back there, not good. Outside was also a problem. Both lines are the most important on the improvements list for next year.

  • herc_rock

    Duh. You're totally right, dude. My bad.

  • broncoinva9986

    Seriously you called me a nimrod for pointing out a fact that the this website which does good work can't be called for totally bombing on an article…Really? whatever without Marshall we get blown out plain and simple we are not even in the game. It is obvious that marshall is the correct answer for a stud. Leaving Marshall out of this article is like leaving Jesus out of the Christmas story or Taking Chevy Chase out of Christmas vacation. without marshall we are not down 5 in the fourth quarter with a legitimate chance to win this game.

    THis is a blog site and each one of us has opinions and they don't have to fall in line with the runners of this website. Again Kyle and his gang does a good job running this site. If they write 300 articles and I dislike one and make it vocal.. I don't think Kyle will hate me for that. What probably bothers Kyle and the guys the most is the amount of fair weather fans that show up on Sunday to the GameBlog and throw the defense under the bus for giving up a first down.

  • Kyle


    (except for the fair weather fans part, we like them too. 90% of sports fans are panicky, fair weather fans). ;)

  • E. Halsey Miles

    The only reason Marshall didn't get picked as a Stud is that I wasn't around this week (I was away on business and unable to watch the game) so I wasn't able to pick Marshall. And everyone knows that I'm a giant Marshall fan-boy and pick him every time he doesn't have a stinker of a game (which honestly has been most of them after the first 3 or so). I think everyone was just expecting me to pick up Marshall and I didn't pick anyone as I have not *yet* had a chance to watch the game. It is on my DVR, though.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    With this team, I will defer every time for two reasons.

    1) This team is better on defense than it is on offense.
    2) This team is a bit of a late starter and performs better in the second half than the first, most of the time.
    3) The reason that you want the ball first is to try to score and get a lead and make your opponent one dimensional. If we had a 28 point lead on the Colts, they still would not be one dimensional. I would much rather play ball control in the second half. Starting with the ball in the second half gives your team the ability to set the tempo when it matters.

    Yes, that's 3 reasons, not 2.

  • Plato

    Do you have to inform everyone that Jesus is the highlight of telling his birth? Or would you give a stud out to the Star? Three Wisemen? Little Drummer boy perhaps? I would emphasize in telling the story also giving a dud to Herod for wanting to kill Jesus and all.

    The way you phrased your comment was quite rude, all I'm saying… take it or live it. Virginia is for lovers.

  • Ed

    Reason number one is all that needs to be said. Denver plays better in the second half on offense.

  • Ed

    Reason number one is all that needs to be said. Denver plays better in the second half on offense.