|Other Week 14 Game Recaps|
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Week 14 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 16, Indianapolis Colts 28
|QB Kyle Orton, Pass: 29 - 41 - 277 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0|
The Colts were after Orton early in the game, and it looked like the Broncos may get blown out once again in Indy. However, Orton started force feeding the football to Brandon Marshall more than ever with great results. Orton targeted Brandon Marshall an eye-popping 28 times on Sunday, and did not target any other receiver more than 4 times. It quickly became obvious that the Broncos best chance to beat the Colts was through the air -- and specifically by throwing to Brandon Marshall. The Broncos kept going back to the well, and that's what led to such a big day for the duo. Orton's lone interception on the day came on a pass that he underthrew which was intended for Brandon Marshall. The big wideout was double covered, and Orton threw the ball short instead of throwing it to the back of the endzone. Had he done that it would have meant another target, and another touchdown for the team on Sunday. Instead, the pass was picked off and the momentum swung back to Indianapolis.
|RB Knowshon Moreno, Rush: 23 - 63 - 0, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (4 targets)|
Knowshon Moreno found little running room against a speedy Colts defense. Without Correll Buckhalter to spell him, the rookie seemed to wear down as the game went on. Moreno failed to convert on several short yardage plays, but often was met in the backfield by at least 3 Colts defenders. When he did have a hole Moreno would spend too much time dancing which allowed the speed of the Colts defense to get to him in a hurry. He was taking a beating on some of his carries, and seemed to be banged up and tired as the Broncos were trying to mount a comeback. The biggest mistake Moreno made on the day was missing on a read in pass protection, which allowed linebacker Gary Brackett to rush up the "A" gap and sack Kyle Orton.
|RB Correll Buckhalter, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0|
Buckhalter started this game out like many others this season, and was running hot early in the game. His no nonsense running style worked well against a speedy-but-undersized Colts defense in the first quarter. It looked like he was on his way to a big game when he came off the field with an apparent ankle injury. He did not return to the game, and the Broncos running game didn't look the same after the loss of Buckhalter.
|RB Peyton Hillis, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Hillis only carried the ball one time on Sunday, but it seemed like there should have been more opportunity there for him as a short yardage back. The Broncos struggled to convert on 3rd and short, and were forced to use Hillis almost primarily as a fullback because of an injury to starting fullback Spencer Larsen on the opening kickoff.
|WR Brandon Marshall, Rec: 21 - 200 - 2 (28 targets)|
Brandon Marshall told his receivers coach before the game that he felt it would be his best game ever. Marshall's statement proved prophetic as it was not only Marshall's greatest day as a pro, but an all time record setting day for a wide receiver. Kyle Orton targeted Marshall a mind-boggling 28 times on Sunday, and Marshall was able to haul in 21 of those passes. That number of receptions broke the old record that Terrell Owens held (20 receptions) from his days as a member of the 49ers. Marshall flashed his run after the catch ability, sometimes looking like a big Barry Sanders in the open field. He refused to go down easy, and was always looking for a cutback lane. The Colts defense tried to do everything to stop Brandon Marshall but nothing worked. The big wide receiver did take some punishment for catching the football, and sometimes when he was looking for extra yardage he would take a beating from multiple defenders. Marshall was on the attack for the entire game, and the main cornerback covering him, Tim Jennings, was a full 7 inches shorter. This allowed Kyle Orton to place passes where only Marshall could get them. He scored two touchdowns on the day, and was targeted on another throw to the end zone that was picked off. After his first touchdown Marshall found a lady in the crowd that was wearing a Broncos jersey (specifically his jersey) and threw her the ball. It was a great day for Marshall, but afterwards he said that he would have given up the record if the Broncos could have gotten the win.
|WR Jabar Gaffney, Rec: 3 - 48 - 0 (4 targets)|
Gaffney provided Orton with a good target when the Colts were triple covering Brandon Marshall. The veteran knows the offense like the back of his hand, and has earned the trust of his quarterback. The number of targets for Gaffney will fluctuate from week to week, but it seems like the chemistry is getting better between he and Kyle Orton.
|WR Eddie Royal, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets)|
Royal only had one catch on the day, but had a few targeted his way. With all the attention going to Brandon Marshall it's hard to believe that Royal couldn't shake free.
|WR Brandon Stokley (1 targets)|
Stokley was not targeted and did not have a catch against his former team on Sunday.
|TE Daniel Graham, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)|
Graham did a nice job of hauling in his lone pass of the day. He secured the ball and then gained a few yards after the catch. Graham was primarily used as a blocker for the ground game.
|TE Tony Scheffler (1 targets)|
Tony Scheffler did not have a reception on Sunday, but was involved as a blocker when the Broncos were running the football.
|QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 20 - 42 - 220 - 4 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0|
Peyton Manning started this game out hot, and it seemed like the Broncos were powerless to stop the Colts passing game early on. However, as the game went on Manning struggled, and finished with a rare 3 interception game. At one point during this contest the Colts had 9 possessions in a row where Manning only completed 5 of 21 passes with 3 interceptions. The Broncos did not sack Manning on Sunday, but they did make him uncomfortable. Denver's defense was taking away the deep pass by using a 5-under, 3-deep look. With defenders all over his receivers, Manning found it difficult to stretch the field. Instead, he abused the Broncos linebackers in coverage by going to his athletic tight end Dallas Clark. The Broncos had no answer, and failed to stop the Colts with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. After struggling for most of the second half, Manning marched his squad downfield and hit Dallas Clark in the endzone for the touchdown that put the game out of reach.
|RB Joseph Addai, Rush: 16 - 67 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (8 targets)|
Addai ran hard against the Broncos defense, and did a good job of maintaining his balance despite taking several big shots. The Denver defense was not allowing Manning to go deep, so he often found Addai as a checkdown receiver out of the backfield. One of the Colts favorite plays is to run a pick route to the inside with a receiver, only to have Addai sneak down the sidelines on a wheel route. The Colts ran that play during their second drive of the game, and it went for 25-yards. The Colts main back did seem to get a little banged up later in the game when linebacker D.J. Williams rolled over Addai not once, but twice. His legs seemed to get caught under him, and it forced Addai to the sidelines for a little while. Addai showed some toughness as he returned to the field later in the game, but did not have the same type of success running the football in the fourth quarter.
|RB Mike Hart, Rush: 9 - 28 - 0 (1 targets)|
Hart filled in admirably when Joseph Addai was a little banged up or needed a breather, but the Colts used him early in this game when both backs were a full go. With Donald Brown inactive due to injury, the Colts turned to Mike Hart to be the complimentary back on Sunday. He ran with his trademark toughness, low center of gravity, and heart against the Broncos. Hart did a fine job of keeping his feet moving after contact, staying low, and pushing for every yard possible.
|WR Reggie Wayne, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (7 targets)|
Reggie Wayne was blanketed by All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey for most of the game on Sunday, but he did manage to wiggle free on a few routes. With the Broncos refusing to give up the big play, all of Wayne's catches were on short and underneath routes. Manning did try to target Wayne deep a few times, but 2 of his 3 interceptions were on passes intended for Wayne. His biggest play of the day, a 20-yard reception, came in the fourth quarter on the Colts final scoring drive. Wayne hauled in the short pass on the right side of the field, and was able to pick up most of the yardage after the catch until safety Brian Dawkins tackled him downfield.
|WR Austin Collie, Rec: 3 - 39 - 1 (6 targets)|
Like most of the Colts receivers, Collie had to get most of his production from underneath routes on Sunday. Collie did score the first touchdown for the Colts, and was able to get open with ease against veteran cornerback Ty Law on a jerk route in the endzone. Like Reggie Wayne, Collies biggest play of the day came on a short route where he gained almost 20-yards after the catch. Peyton Manning did target Collie deep over the middle of the field, and one of those passes was intercepted by rookie Darcel McBath.
|WR Pierre Garcon, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (9 targets)|
Pierre Garcon started out this game hot, and in sync with his quarterback Peyton Manning. He was targeted deep a few times, but was unable to bring in the big catches. Instead, Garcon did his damage on short routes where he would use his speed and quickness to get off the line quickly. When he wasn't catching passes he was blocking effectively on run plays, and would also run pick routes to get other receivers open.
|TE Dallas Clark, Rec: 5 - 43 - 3 (9 targets)|
It was a big day for Dallas Clark, as he scored a hat trick of touchdowns against the Broncos. With the Denver secondary taking away most deep passes, Peyton Manning had to do most of his damage with underneath routes. The Broncos linebackers can be exploited in pass coverage, and Dallas Clark did just that.
|TE Gijon Robinson, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)|
Robinson's first and only target on the day came on their first drive of the game. Working from the shotgun, Manning's second pass of the day was intended for Robinson. The athletic tight end hauled in the pass, but was unable to do much after the catch because linebacker D.J. Williams quickly brought him down. Robinson did not get another target on Sunday, but helped out as a blocker when the Colts needed to run the ball.
|TE Jacob Tamme (1 targets)|
On the Colts opening drive Tamme was targeted by Peyton Manning when they were inside the red zone. The pass fell incomplete because Tamme was out of bounds despite making an athletic catch, and Tamme was not targeted again on Sunday.