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Big Stats, Little Satisfaction

Posted Sep 26, 2010

Kyle Orton put up career-best numbers, and Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney eached topped 100 receiving yards. But in a loss, the numbers feel 'hollow.'

DENVER -- The Broncos put up 519 yards of offense Sunday, 154 more than the Indianapolis Colts.

Kyle Orton threw for a career-high 476 yards, 151 more than Peyton Manning.

Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney had 169 and 140 receiving yards, respectively -- just the second pair of Broncos teammates in the past 10 seasons to each post 100 receiving yards in a game.

But in the end, the Broncos scored 13 points and lost by 14.

"You can put up as many yards as you want," Chris Kuper said. "That's the biggest thing, that we're not scoring."

Denver had its chances. The team made it to the red zone five times, but didn't find the end zone once. The only Broncos touchdown of the day was a 48-yard strike from Orton to Lloyd on the first drive of the second half.

When the Broncos made it to the red zone, the offense sputtered. Matt Prater knocked home two field goals, but the other three attempts resulted in turnovers on downs after failed fourth-down conversions.

"The difference this week was taking advantage of our opportunities, and we just didn't do a good job of that," Lloyd said. "We got down in the red zone and kicked a field goal and didn't convert on a couple of other times, so the statistics are pretty hollow when it comes down to it."

But while the statistics didn't mean much on Sunday, the production gave the team something to build on in the coming weeks.

Lloyd's 169 receiving yards were the most in his career, and Gaffney's 140 were second only to his 213 in last season's finale. The receivers now have five and six 100-yard receiving games in their careers, respectively.

Orton's 476 yards were the second-most passing yards in a single game in franchise history, and he has now posted the second-most passing yards through the team's first three regular-season games in franchise history. He leads the NFL with 13 passes of 25 or more yards, a point of emphasis in the contest.

With Pro Bowl defensive ends on the other side of the ball, the Broncos knew sustained drives would be at a premium. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis combined for 23 sacks last season, and the duo has already notched seven quarterback takedowns this season.

But in a game where Orton dropped back 57 times, he was only sacked once -- a testament to the play of the offensive line, and a gameplan that focused on plenty of deep passes.

"They came up with great catches and a lot of good explosive plays after the catch," Orton said of his receivers. "That's really what we wanted to focus on, hitting chunk plays in the play-action game. That is one the things we did a good job of doing."

But Lloyd said there are no moral victories in the NFL, and at 1-2 the Broncos will spend as much time on what went wrong against the Colts as what went right.

With the 2-1 Titans up next in Nashville, the club knows things won't get any easier.

"We could pat ourselves on the back, but at the end of the day we lost the game," Justin Bannan said. "We've got to come back tomorrow and correct everything. We've got another big one this weekend and we've got to move forward. Obviously we did some positive things out there, we've got to build off that and just keep going."