Quarterback Kyle Orton has been extremely careful with the football this season. But his first big error showed the importance of playing a mistake-free game.
Orton, whose only interception before Monday night came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half against New England, threw a second-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown by Steelers safety Tyrone Carter.
Orton was attempting to throw to running back Knowshon Moreno, who appeared to bump the umpire in the middle of the field. Orton’s throw went over Moreno. Carter was starting in place of Ryan Clark, who didn’t play as a health precaution. Clark has sickle-cell trait and fell ill after playing in altitude at Denver in 2007.
Other than the interception, Orton had a solid first half, completing 16-of-21 passes for 163 yards.
Eddie Royal had posted his second most productive game of the season before Denver’s first drive ended. Royal had three catches for 47 yards on the opening drive, which ended with a field goal. Royal’s second most productive game had been a three-catch, 20-yard game against Cleveland.
Odds and ends
Among the team’s healthy players who were inactive were running back Peyton Hillis and tight end Richard Quinn. Hillis missed practice late last week because of a personal matter. Quinn’s deactivation was a sign that Denver planned to have a pass-heavy attack. Quinn, a second-round pick, is primarily a blocker. Cornerback Ty Law, who agreed to a deal Friday, was active and the team’s nickel cornerback.