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Bronco Rob
11-27-2009, 04:06 AM
Broncos stuff Giants, snap losing skid


By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/27/2009 01:00:00 AM MST


Too bad the NFL Network didn't have access to the players-only meeting at Dove Valley this week. Its cameras seem capable of dropping in on practically everything else in the National Football League.

Before a national, Thanksgiving night audience, the Broncos obliterated their four-game losing streak by ramming, blitzing, crushing and cursing the New York Giants 26-6 before a finally satisfied sellout crowd at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Viewers of the game, particularly the children, were forced to cover their ears when the NFL Network replayed Broncos coach Josh McDaniels' obscenity-laced tirade at his penalty-plagued offense.

"They didn't bleep it?" asked Broncos center Casey Wiegmann.

The NFL Network quickly apologized, but for perspective, don't forget this is football. No one associates the Legend of Lombardi with, "What the golly-gosh darn is going on out there?"

The real story in this shortened week was the players-only meeting 14-year safety that Brian Dawkins called to order Tuesday.

"When you have guys talk to each other individually, the message doesn't get spread around as far as what everybody wants to do," said the Broncos' other starting safety, Renaldo Hill. "One guy will talk to this guy over here, and this guy over there, but it doesn't get spread through the room. This way, we were able to spread what we needed to do to get on the same page. I think it helped."

Whatever Dawkins and his teammates said at their no-coaches meeting, they should keep it to themselves.

So far, they have.

"From Day 1 we always say we're a family and we'll keep things in house," Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall said. "And things that were said there and whatever went on there is between us."

Until the meeting, the Broncos were seemingly on the verge of repeating the collapse that got coach Mike Shanahan fired after the 2008 season. After a 6-0 start, the Broncos had lost four in a row by an average of 20 points.

Worse, perhaps, was the perception the Broncos were fighting among each other. A few days earlier, in a humiliating 32-3 defeat against the San Diego Chargers, Marshall chastised Know-shon Moreno, in front of a soldout stadium and TV's view, after the rookie running back fumbled away a touchdown at the goal line. When the two players reached the sideline, Moreno delivered a two-handed shove at the still-lecturing Marshall.

"Me and Knowshon had a celebration set up if I was going to score or he scored," Marshall joked. "We were going to run at each other and push each other."

Moreno did score on a 1-yard run Thursday, but Marshall wasn't in on the goal-line package. The joking is back, the morale is high again in the Broncos' locker room.

Exactly what was said in the players-only meeting isn't anyone's business, not even the NFL Network's. What is known is the Broncos came out with renewed energy against the Giants, who seemed defeated from the moment their owner John Mara complained last week about having to fly so far for a Thanksgiving game.

The Broncos returned to the bruising style of play that was so evident during their season-opening, six-game winning streak.

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, whose enormous size seems to make him a shuffling billboard with the message "must gang-tackle," rushed for just 27 yards on 11 carries.

The Broncos didn't exactly set records by rushing for 3.5 yards per carry, but it was those 40 carries that were indicative. Moreno ran with seemingly another level of determination, gaining 88 yards on 19 carries.

"He had a couple of the best runs I've seen him have," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "He had two hands around the football the entire game, which is great to see."

Orton, back from a bum ankle, was his usual efficient self, save for a poor throw that led to an interception early in the second half that nearly allowed the Giants back in the game.

And Marshall made a couple of acrobatic catches, including a 28-yard, one-handed snag that set up the Broncos' first touchdown on the way to a 16-0 halftime lead.

Through argument, through a string of defeats, came discussion among themselves. After talking it through, the players then went out and played themselves back into AFC playoff contention.

The players-only meeting had to have helped, didn't it?

"If we lost, would you be asking that question?" said Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams on the meeting's impact. "I don't want to say we won because we had a meeting."



http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_13875762