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Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer struggle in loss to Broncos

If Bill O'Brien declares a starting quarterback next week, it likely won't be based on Saturday night's performances.

Neither Ryan Mallett nor Brian Hoyer impressed in the 14-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. In reality, both were downright awful.

Mallett got the start, going 5-of-7 passing for just 23 yards on two drives. Despite boasting a strong arm, not once in his seven passes did Mallett even look to throw deep. On one telegraphed pass, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall almost picked Mallett off on a short throw.

Hoyer entered the game and didn't fare any better, going 7-of-11 for 52 yards. The veteran passer at least attempted to stretch the defense with a couple deep shots (didn't connect), but he also took two sacks.

Neither quarterback led a scoring drive -- Tom Savage needed to enter the game in the second half to lead Houston into field-goal range.

The duo combined for just six first downs (Mallett: two; Hoyer: four) in a depressing first half.

This is the hell O'Brien is living in right now.

For as much as the coach insists he believes in both Hoyer and Mallett, a game like Saturday has to test that resolve.

Arian Foster's injury magnified the weaknesses in both quarterbacks. Those deficiencies were evident in a lousy preseason outing.

Instead of an intriguing quarterback battle Saturday night that could have provided fireworks, we witnessed a pillow fight between ragamuffins.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast caps the weeklong Fantasy Extravaganza by talking undervalued and overvalued QBs and everyone's draft philosophies.

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