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Old 10-04-2010, 04:22 AM   #1
Bronco Rob
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Default Orton: Cortland Finneganis a cheap player, not a good player

Denver's feisty quarterback overcomes six sacks and lack of a run game

Orton TD pass rallies Broncos for 26-20 win over Tennessee
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
10/04/2010 01:28:00 AM MDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Laurence Maroney has pretty much played for only two quarterbacks in his five-year NFL career. He spent the first four in New England playing running back behind the incomparable Tom Brady.

Like Brady, Maroney was hurt for most of the 2008 season and didn't play much with Matt "MONEY" Ca$$el.

Now Maroney is getting a chance to play for Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton.

"I like him," Maroney said. "He's a fighter."

A fighter, a scrapper and a thick- skinned, hard-nosed quarterback who can even engage in smack talk. Orton held strong against a ferocious pass rush Sunday and was the quarterback hero in the Broncos' come-from-behind, 26-20 upset victory over the rugged Tennessee Titans on an unusually chilly early October afternoon at LP Field.

Afterward, a locker-room row down from Maroney's kind words, Orton did not stand before the media and deliver the politician-like cliches that so many NFL quarterbacks such as Brady often do.

"I think we were the tougher team today," Orton said. "You always hear about how tough they are and all that stuff. I don't think they're tough. I think they're cheap."

Know any other NFL quarterback with this put-up-your-dukes style? Orton has been known to mix it up. He popped off during a preseason game at James Harrison, the Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker and former NFL defensive player of the year.

This time, Orton was particularly miffed at Tennessee Pro Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who was involved in several altercations after the whistle.

"If that's the type of player Cortland Finnegan wants to be, well, then, he's a cheap player, not a good player," Orton said.

Quick, somebody ring the bell. The Broncos don't want that magical passing hand throwing punches. How to explain Orton's feistiness? Perhaps he was punch-drunk after a game in which he took six sacks.

The sixth came on the play before the final two-minute warning. At that point, the story was how Denver's defense relentlessly pursued Titans star running back Chris Johnson (only 53 yards rushing), but Tennessee still was led 20-16 thanks to Marc Mariani's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Just before the two-minute break, that sack and a holding penalty on left tackle Ryan Clady left Orton and the Broncos facing a second-and-25.

Yet, on the first play after the final two-minute warning, Orton did not become jittery when he was again pressured by the Titans' pass rush. He remained poised and slid away. Freed to load up his throw, Orton spotted Jabar Gaffney running down the right sideline a good two steps ahead of his defender — one Cortland Finnegan. Although Titans safety Chris Hope came over for help, Gaffney sped past him too.

As the ball came down at the goal line, Hope mauled Gaffney. Yellow- colored laundry filled the field, and the 49-yard pass-interference penalty gave the Broncos first-and-goal at the 1.

If Hope hadn't interfered, it appeared Gaffney would have made the catch.

"I think so too," Orton said. "Yeah, for sure. Jabar was real confident against him the whole game, and we just needed some time to get him the ball."

Luckily for the Broncos, they drew an illegal-formation penalty on the next play. That eliminated their putrid running game (Maroney and Correll Buckhalter combined for 8 yards on 17 carries) from their play-call options.

From the shotgun, Orton hit Buckhalter, who had slid open in the right flat. Buckhalter was in for the decisive 6-yard score.

Here's a quarterback who has the worst running-game support in the league. He is protected by a group of blockers who are either inexperienced or coming off injuries.

Yet Orton completed 35-of-50 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

"He stood in there and took a lot of hits today," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "Certainly, more than we would have liked to have him take. But he never lost his poise."

Orton has put up big numbers all season. He leads all NFL quarterbacks with 1,419 yards passing yards, 354.8 per game
. This time, he came up big in the fourth quarter.

Among those impressed was a certain Tennessee cornerback.

"It was like a heavyweight fight," said Finnegan, who was unaware of Orton's postgame insult. "We kept knocking Orton down, but he kept getting back up. We couldn't knock him out or finish him off. He's a tough guy."

A tough-talking tough guy. Maybe this explains how, in the same year the Broncos acquired quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow, Orton is having the best season of his career.

His attitude: Bring 'em on.

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Old 10-04-2010, 04:42 AM   #2
Dr. Broncenstein
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Finnegan ran directly for Kuper's un-helmeted head and threw a punch. He should be suspended.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:19 AM   #3
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I contrast Orton's attitude today, with the picture that is etched in my memory of Philip Rivers taunting Cutler...........what a difference............
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:23 AM   #4
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:43 AM   #5
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:50 AM   #6
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Not the first time.

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