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Broncos report card and game balls from Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals – The Denver Post

Offense — B

Four punts in their first six possessions and a turnover were overcome by a terrific running game (34 carries-218 yards-6.4 average-two touchdowns) and a fourth consecutive interception-free game from quarterback Case Keenum. The retooled offensive line is 3-0 in their current form and they had several key blocks to open up room for Phillip Lindsay (19 carries-157 yards). Despite his fumble, it should be encouraging to see Royce Freeman be productive (12 carries-48 yards) and the game should be a confidence boost for receiver Courtland Sutton, whose 85 yards receiving included a 30-yard touchdown.

Defense — A

Two turnovers, four sacks and only one touchdown allowed deserves a top grade, particularly when three starters (cornerback Chris Harris, defensive end Derek Wolfe and linebacker Josey Jewell) were lost to injury in the first half. The outside linebackers stayed disciplined against quarterback Jeff Driskel’s keepers (three carries for three yards). Safety Justin Simmons’ interception came deep in Broncos territory. Among linebacker Todd Davis’ 10 tackles were three for lost yardage.

Special teams — B

Punter Colby Wadman had another solid game, averaging 42.7 yards net to earn a game ball from coach Vance Joseph. Dymonte Thomas recovered a fumbled punt early in the third quarter and the Broncos leading by only four points; they scored a touchdown soon after the takeaway. Punt returner River Cracraft continues to look comfortable in his new role. Kicker Brandon McManus’ 50-yard field goal was wide left, but was attempted in windy conditions.

Coaching — A

Short on bodies defensively, coordinator Joe Woods made things work, which included playing safety Justin Simmons against the slot receiver. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave gave Phillip Lindsay a season-high 19 carries and No. 30 delivered with a season-high 157 yards. It was another drama-free game for coach Vance Joseph in terms of timeouts and challenges, but he has clearly done his most important work behind the scenes, telling the players at 3-6 that hope was not lost.

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