Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton had a career day yesterday at Invesco Field against the Indianapolis Colts, throwing 37-57 for 476 yards and a touchdown, including a 48-yard bomb to receiver Brandon Lloyd that should erase any doubt about Orton’s oft-maligned arm strength. But he’d probably trade all the big numbers for a couple more touchdowns, as the Broncos failed to score five times within the 20-yard line and lost to the Indianapolis Colts 27-13 (recap via The Associated Press).

Many fans expected the uphill battle against the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning, but the Broncos’ lack of execution in the red zone—and an anemic running game blasted by the Post’s Woody Paige—offered little hope.

“Until we finish drives and take care of the football and then keep them out of when they get their chances, it will be really tough to beat good football teams,” says coach Josh McDaniels (via The Denver Post).

Despite Orton’s monster day through the air—a performance that won him a shout-out in Sports Illustrated—Manning’s steady performance, even without several key offensive starters, was more than enough to handle the Broncos.

With starting cornerback Andre Goodman sidelined for injury, Perrish Cox started the game knowing that Manning has an ugly habit of picking on rookie defensive backs. Manning was true to form, and he and second-year receiver Austin Collie abused Cox for 12 receptions, 171 yards, and two touchdowns. Cox shows signs of being a quality NFL defensive back, and the beatdown he suffered yesterday will help him grow.

“It’s a frustrating loss, a disappointing loss, but we’ve got to take something away from it,” Orton tells the Post. “We got to see a great team that’s done it for a long time, and hopefully we’ll learn a little bit from it.”