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Published on 09/28/2010 at Tue Sep 28 08:45.
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Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos makes a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos makes a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Analyzing player performances from the Denver Broncos‘ 13-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, highlighting the good and the bad. And this week, for the first time in Studs and Duds history, we have a player boasting stud-dud double-duty. Where would you file our up-and-down enigma?

Kyle OrtonDud: Kyle Orton

Realistically, I have to pick Kyle Orton as my dud. Kyle Orton? Yes, Kyle Orton. 476 yards. Amazing, right? Yet, one touchdown. Five trips to the red zone with no points. That’s a failure. How do you get 476 yards and only one touchdown? As McDaniel’s said after the game, “When you lose, statistics are hollow.” Some of this is in McDaniel’s shoulders for the play calling, but the reality is that Kyle Orton has to do a better job of seeing the field and since we don’t have a running game, we have to come away with points in the red zone. And we did not. Sorry Kyle. I was turning into a fan of yours, but performances like this frustrate and infuriate me. Kyle Orton: This Dud’s for You. -E. Halsey Miles

Kyle OrtonStud: Kyle Orton

It’s easy to label Orton a dud because of Denver’s lackluster redzone performance, but that falls on the running backs and linemen. Laurence Maroney’s 2 yards a carry and Walton’s holding calls didn’t help the offense one bit. However somehow Orton still managed to carry the offense up the field. Yes Orton made some mistakes but he knew he had to play aggressive if he was going to beat the Colts. My hat is off to Orton who already has over 1,000 yards passing on the year. -Mr. East

Josh McDanielsDud: Josh McDaniels

In my opinion, this was Josh McDaniels’ most poorly coached game as Denver head coach — not in terms of preparation (the Broncos have certainly been caught with their pants down to a more dramatic degree in McDaniels’ brief tenure — see Baltimore last year), but in terms of playcalling and decision-making. In particular, I wasn’t a fan of either decision to go for it on 4th down. The decisions reeked of desperation and lack of confidence in an offense to return to that area of the field. I hope to find the time to expand on this at length today (McDaniels comments in interviews since particularly bother me), but I hope Coach looks inward and recognizes that betting on his red zone offense on 4th downs was a mistake. It was the between-the-20’s offense that was firing on all cylinders, and McDaniels should have recognized that settling for 3 points isn’t so bad when you’re bound to return to the red zone in future drives. –Kyle

Mario HagganStud: Mario Haggan

Watching tape, it was clear that Haggan’s predominant responsibility against the Colts was tight end Dallas Clark. For the most part, Haggan, with help from Brian Dawkins and D.J. Williams, did a good job. His jamming of Clark off the line of scrimmage helped limit the league’s premiere tight end to five catches for 44 yards and no touchdowns — the lowest totals of Clark’s season. Furthermore, Haggan was brilliant in run support, rifling through the Colts’ offensive line to make stops for losses on at least two occasions. –Kyle

Perrish CoxDud: Perrish Cox

It’s games like this that make me want to grab my fellow BT writers and go commiserate at the bar with a good stiff drink or ten. So many good things in this game erased by so many bad things. One game-changing mistake in particular came off Perrish Cox and that incredible muff on Special Teams. He also made a couple of rookie mistakes on defense. On the other hand, I want to call him a Stud because he started in place of Andre Goodman and frankly he looks like he has a future as a starter in the NFL. This is only his 3rd pro game and he’s going to make some rookie mistakes. So he gets the Dud who is a Stud award from me. –E. Halsey Miles

Brandon LloydStud: Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd- LLOYD!!! Six receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown… Come on, the guy’s amongst, if not above the greatest receivers in the league. –Ian Henson

Laurence MaroneyDud: Laurence Maroney

I had heard how frustrating it was for Patriots fans to watch Laurence Maroney carry the ball. I now know that frustration as a reality. All the dancing in the backfield isn’t helping the sickly Broncos running game. Find the whole and go. –J. Kenneth K.

Agree or disagree with our takes? Anyone not make the list who deserves a mention? Your Studs and Duds in the comments.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Kyle Orton was definitely a dud! QB's make their living on converting 3rd down (and 4th when needed). Everyone in the stadium and at home knew where that ball was going because he locks into his target the second the ball is snapped.

    It's seriously pathetic because it's something you would expect out of a rookie not a tenured QB.

    Then he throws the ball into the ground every time he is blitz'd because he panics. Man up, deliver the ball and take the hit. That's what you're paid MILLIONS to do!

    I get it, I do. Having a 280 guy hit you at 12 mph and then perform a belly flop on your flattened and flailing body hurts really bad. If you were being paid, say $45,000 a year, I would act the same way. BUT YOU'RE NOT!

    If you're too scared to do the job you're paid a kings ransom to do, then go deliver packages for UPS or something cuz you sure as hell ain't delivering the football when it counts the most!

  • NWBroncfan

    Trog, I have to disagree. Orton completed a lot of 3rd downs, took a lot of hits, and moved the team well. It was the play calling inside the 20 that killed us. Ball inside the 1 and we couldn't convert?! Three runs and a lame pass attempt. Who's calling the plays? A third grader playing Madden?

    That being said, Maroney is frustrating. He dances like a girl. Even when he finally broke a long run, he spent more time dancing in one spot than moving forward.

  • TheTroglodyte

    NW the Colts are designed to be a bend don't break defense. The only time 3rd downs count against them are in the redzone and Orton didn't get the job done.

    The whole premise of the Colts is to jump out to an early lead, and force the other team to play catchup so they can use their speed to get after the QB and play a stiff zone D inside of 20 yards.

    The fact that we couldn't score from the 1 yard line with 3 rushing attempts against one of the worst rushing D's in the league is flat out embarrassing too.

    At any case, I'm just extremely frustrated. Normally I don't even care that much, I just enjoy rooting for my team on Sunday but it's starting to get really annoying that they can't even be competitive.

    I guess I can make up my own competition, like who is going to be fired first, McD or Shanny? lol

  • MrEast

    “The fact that we couldn't score from the 1 yard line with 3 rushing attempts against one of the worst rushing D's in the league is flat out embarrassing too.”

    The Colts had one game where they let up a lot of yards. Also the Colts won a Super Bowl with the league's worst rushing defense. You can't label a run defense off of two games. Also, you can't diss Orton and then blame the run game.

    Orton was superman on Sunday. It's unreasonable to expect him to make every throw with no protection or run game, let alone against the Colts. You said it yourself, the Broncos didn't get in the endzone off of 3 rushing attempts, not 3 passing attemps. The Broncos aren't as good as the Colts, but they're better than they were last year.

    Also I highly disagree that they weren't competitve. The Broncos have been in every game they've played all year.

  • flbronc

    as for the play calling and going on fourth downs… i was opposed to it at first, then my new england fanatic brother in law made a good point.

    fg's dont beat the colts, and nobody knows that better than the mcd. there's a good bit of truth to that.

  • MrEast

    Great call on Haggan Kyle, he is a steal for what they're paying him.

  • Joshua Manning

    Laurence Maroney is not the only “Dud” but the ENTIRE running game!!! Maroney don't have a physical burst, Buckhalter is old and injury prone and Morenro is really slow. Hell Peyton Hills is faster than ALL OF THOSE PLAYERS!!! Speaking of him, Peyton Hills got 100+ yards against Baltimore and they have a GREAT running defense. Indianapolis on the otherhand had the 28th ranked running defense and we got NOTHING!!! Hate to say it but we gave away a beast who could get chunks of yard for a bust Quarterback in Cleveland.

  • Kyle

    It didn't work though. McDaniels chose to bet on his red zone offense for another down rather than his team's ability to return to the red zone. It makes no sense.

  • Kyle

    Also deserving of a stud award: the entire D-Line.

  • herc_rock

    We couldn't run the ball, our HC made a bunch of piss-poor play calls in the red-zone, we had a rook being torn up by one of the greatest QB's in league history and you're sitting here blaming and blasting the manhood of a guy who completed 65% of his passes for nearly 500 yards because he threw a couple of incompletions in the red zone?

  • herc_rock

    Parrish is the goat this week. Beat for two TD's and that terrible fumble. 21 Indy points off of his screw ups.

  • Dan

    This team is only going to get better. Cox is a back-up rookie that had a rough week against a very good QB. When we get Harris and Moreno back look out. How about JD…Holding my ass…JD is just a tough mean SOB…Those were last second body slams to the turf. We will get Beadles over to left guard and get this running game moving finally. We showed enough in my opinion to take down the Colts if we can get to the playoffs. Mark my words…The Titans are not looking forward to playing us. We are going to get after them! I am starting to get excited…We played far better than that score last weekend.

  • TheTroglodyte

    The Colts have been ranked in the bottom half of run defense for YEARS so I'm not sure what you are talking about. So what if they won a SB with a crappy run D.

    They sucked against the Giants running game this year too giving up almost 6 ypc. It was only because they jumped out to a huge lead and forced the Giants to throw that their run d didn't stick out more.

    Also, I sure as hell can blame Kyle and the running game. They both sucked. The running game sucked period and Kyle sucked when it counted.

    I respect your right to think Orton was actually good on Sunday even though you couldn't be more wrong :)~

    Re-watch the game and note how many times on important throws he stared down the receiver (several defenders dropped should be ints)

    Notice how many times he threw the ball into the ground when he was blitzed when he could have easily stood in the pocket for another 1/2 – 1 second.

    Notice how many times when his first and apparently only option wasn't open he panicked and looked totally lost.

    The WR's made it a 400 yard day, not Orton.

  • anthony33

    I would not call him a dud, but I do agree with your points about the red zone and maning up.

    That is where Tebow is going to shine… he may not be ready yet for between the twenty's, but you know Tebow will do what it takes in the red zone just like he did in the pre season game…

    Did you see Rogers last night? Pass wasn't there so he ran it in… loved it.

  • Joshua Manning

    He play like a “Alphonso Smith” in that game. LMAO!!!! Just joking. Parrish Cox is a playmaker, he just made a rookie mistake. That's all

  • anthony33

    I would agee… This team is much closer to being a very good team than they are to being a bad team.

    I hope Tebow is not in the McD dog house… he has to be chomping at the bit.

  • areferee

    Been having trouble with my comments disappearing after the post for the last few days, but will keep trying…(maybe I've been using disappearing ink!)

    I have to agree with “The Chimp” on most of his comments. I certainly feel his pain. However, Kyle's approach in describing Orton as a Dud AND a Stud is sophisticated and right on, even if seemingly schizophrenic.

    Orton did a great job is many areas of play and deserves a lot of credit for moving the ball. But I think he must share in some of the blame for the lack of performance in the red zone, along with the running backs and the head coach.

    Trog is right on, I believe, in his criticism of McBoy-Wonder. It's a wonder more of us haven't jumped off of his bandwagon. This was a pitiful performance, and it seems to be a trend. He has only won 3 of his last 13 games. Not too good for his sophomore year, if it continues.

    The running game needs fixing, all right, but so does the lack of urgency that seems to have developed. If the Broncos were on “Dancing with the Stars”, we would have to say that they know most of the moves, but they lack the rhythm in the music and the passion for the dance.

  • areferee

    I think Gaffney should be in there somewhere. He's still a stud.

  • areferee

    Agree with most of what you say, but Orton was not stellar with his passing in the red zone, and that's really where it counts. Yes, he got us down there, but he didn't get us in. I accept McDaniels' part in it, and certainly Maroney, as well.

  • areferee

    Yes, BUT…

    Consider the wisdom of George S. Patton:

    “War is an art and as such is not susceptible of explanation by fixed formula.”

    “A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.”

    “If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking.”

    “You're never beaten until you admit it.”

    “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.”

  • monto

    Kyle Orton was a stud everywhere up to the red zone but thats also where the dodgy playcalling and lack of a running game was coming in, we had a few receivers getting mixed up on their routes during the game so that also cost us

    I wouldn't say Cox was a dud, he got his first start and Manning is hardly the kind of guy you want to start against. Granted he had some rookie moments but its only his third game and against the leagues best QB he held his own, he's definitely the starter in waiting at cornerback. His big mistake of the game was on special teams and lets face it, if theres one area of the game thats killing us at the moment then it's up there with the running game. Cox was a good returner in college but in my opinion, the off-season showed that Syd'Quan Thompson was equal if not better as returner and I question the calls that despite Thompson was active, Cox (who was starting on the defence) was returning and that the guy who replaced him was Eddie Royal (who's now playing a bigger role in the offence and aside from the SD game, wasn't exactly electric last year)

    On the topic of inactives, I'm still surprised Decker was inactive. Granted a guy like Willis is more useful on special teams and we've got a lot of great WRs but at the same time we've not got Stokley and what he did great last year was being the reliable pair of hands on 3rd downs which is the kind of receiver I see Decker turning into

    All in all the Defence held their own but were let down by the mistake on special teams and the inability of the offence to bring in the points, we're still lacking the big play threat on defence at the moment and the pass rush but they definitely stepped up in that game

    Overall my stud would have to be Lloyd, he's showing that he can be the big play threat that Marshall was and seeing that I'm surprised he didn't play more of a role last year especially considering the chemistry he has with Orton

    Dud goes to McD and whoevers running the special teams, the second time we went for it on 4th down wasn't too bad considering we needed the points but based on how the running game was playing then we should have taken the points on that drive. The roster issues I have I'v already covered but the playcalling had a lot to do with how bad we were in the redzone, I'm a big fan of McD but he really needed to do a better job

  • areferee

    Can we use a term other than “manning” up? :-(
    It's going to be awhile before that name doesn't give me gas.
    (We had him and let him get away!)

    How about “Standing with Stones”…

  • areferee

    The way the coach handled the Tebow situation this week is another example of his questionable judgment.

  • Kyle

    Just to be clear, Studs and Duds (and, similarly, Game Balls after a win) are a collaborative effort among all the staff. Earl picked Kyle Orton a dud. Mr. East picked him a stud.

    On any given day any player can probably be classified as both/either, but this one did seem appropriate so I went with it.

  • TheTroglodyte


  • TheTroglodyte

    *scratches head and grunts* Translation: I agree with pretty much everything you said areferee

  • areferee

    Thanks for the clarification, K-Man. I actually think both are correct. But then again, I am schizophrenic and so am I.

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  • Kyle

    LOL, well done.

  • areferee

    Hey Josh…no offense to you or your family, but after last Sunday's game, can we call you Joshua Elway…at least for awhile? :-)

  • Joshua Manning

    LOL!!! Why not, I always wanted my last name to be a Hall of Fame QB.

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  • anthony33

    Got it… took me minute to figure out what the hey… seriously no pun intended!!

    Also, expect for the fumbled punt I thought Cox did okay. You have to take into consideration he was playing against who I consider to one of if not the best QB of all time and the fact he is a rookie.

  • anthony33

    Agree… Tebow just does not seem the same as he did coming in here. May be due to his season game face or he is just not getting it. McD in a tough spot… I would say if McD is comfortable enough with Tebow after 6 months to know he's going to be the future then it's probably best to trade Quinn. If not… then I am with you on questioning his judgement.

    My opinion on McD is to stick with him… again I think this team is close to being decent. But like you areferee… I am wavering.

  • areferee

    Oh, it WILL be.

  • yogibear

    alphonso smith has two INT's on the season right now.. and is starting in detroit ya know??

  • yogibear

    alphonso smith has two INT's on the season right now.. and is starting in detroit ya know??