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Britton Colquitt (4) saves a touchdown punt return by Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss (17). (US-PRESSWIRE)

Broncos Don't Give Ball Away Against Ravens, Special Teams Needs Improvement


The Denver Broncos hit a major milestone in their 34-17 week 15 win over the Baltimore Ravens. For the first time all season, the Broncos didn’t turn the ball over in a game.

For a team that’s had 4 turnovers in one game, 3 turnovers in two games, 2 turnovers in three games, and 1 turnover in the rest, if nothing else, it shows growth.

“I think we’re growing,” head coach John Fox said in his Monday press conference. “Yesterday was the first game all season, I believe, we didn’t turn the ball over. That’s something that we have to get cleaned up. I think we went from minus-2 to zero. So that’s an area we’ve got two more weeks to get fixed. A lot of areas we need to improve on.”

Special Teams Notes

The Broncos came close to turning the ball over on Sunday when returner Trindon Holliday fumbled the ball. Thankfully, it went out of bounds and the Broncos retained possession.

As electric as Holliday’s return game can be (he had a 105-yard kick return for a touchdown and a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown), he’s also prone to fumbles and bobbling the ball. Fox said that Holliday will remain the team’s starter in the return game.

“He’s our best option, I believe,” Fox said. “We do situationally use a couple different guys, but all-in-all it’s something we need to address, and we will this week.”

WR Matt Willis also took a turn as kick returner in Sunday’s win over the Ravens. S Jim Leonhard has also been used to field punts close to the goal line. His sure-fire hands ensure that Peyton Manning will in fact get a turn on the field.

Ravens’ WR Jacoby Jones is one of the most explosive return men in the game. Against the Broncos, he had a 50-yard kick return. On a couple of returns though, punter Britton Colquitt and kicker Matt Prater stepped up big in coverage.

“Actually there were two fine tackles there – one by our punter and a couple by our kicker,” Fox said. “Ideally that’s not something we’re looking for. We do practice it, but we’d like to not use it as much as we did yesterday. Again, that’s an area – some of our coverage situations weren’t as good as they’ve been.”

The Broncos take on Cleveland Browns’ return man Josh Cribs this week which presents another difficult special teams’ assignment.

“The team we play this week in Cleveland, they’re one of the tops in both kickoffs, kickoff coverage as well as punt returns,” Fox said.

Cleveland is 4th in punt return yards and 2nd in punt return average (15.5 yards per punt) including a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown.

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