|11-30-2005, 11:08 PM||#1|
Never say Always
Join Date: Jan 2003
Denver ~ Inside Slant
Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer knew his streak wasn't going to last forever.
Plummer threw an interception to cornerback Terence Newman in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, his first interception in more than two months. The interception ended Plummer's streak without an interception at 229 passes. He went 34 full quarters between interceptions.
On the interception, Plummer floated a deep pass to Ashley Lelie, and Newman was playing center-field and picked off the pass.
"Obviously I didn't want it to end ever, but it had to and it was a great run there for a while," Plummer said. "I got some lucky breaks, and it was a bad read by me on the interception."
Plummer calmed down after that interception, another good sign for a player whose interceptions have often come in bunches. He didn't have a huge game but didn't throw another interception, although Newman dropped one that was thrown a bit behind him in the fourth quarter.
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he was pleased with the way Plummer played after his interception.
"I was going to bench him after that interception but he said he was never going to throw another one so I didn't," Shanahan said.
—The Broncos have bemoaned their bad luck the past few years, but that certainly seems to be changing this season. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he was surprised when Cowboys kicker Billy Cundiff, who hit a 56-yard field goal last week, hooked a 34-yard field goal that would have given Dallas a lead in the fourth quarter. Denver went on to win in overtime.
"I thought we were going to have to score," Shanahan said. "You feel very fortunate. You feel very lucky when that does happen."
—Tatum Bell was inactive against Dallas because of a bruised chest. Bell grew up in Dallas, had a group of 60 friends and family at the game and said he was disappointed not to play, but the Broncos didn't want to risk him aggravating the injury and missing more time.
"They just wanted me 100 percent," Bell said.
—RB Ron Dayne had a big game against Dallas, gaining 98 yards and making the biggest play of the game in overtime. However, Dayne might not see a lot of additional playing time. The Broncos were going well with Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell in a tailback rotation and Bell should be healthy for Denver's next game.
—TE Jeb Putzier had a big game against the Cowboys. He had four catches for 69 yards and in a game that Denver had trouble moving the ball, he was their most reliable receiver.
—CB Darrent Williams was taken off kickoff returns a couple weeks ago to keep him fresh on defense, but when the Broncos went to overtime against Dallas, Williams was inserted in the game to take the opening kickoff. Williams has the ability to break a big play and the Broncos will be willing to use it whenever possible.
—CB Champ Bailey is playing as well as he has all season. He said he isn't completely healthy but his hamstring that bothered him for most of the first half of the season has improved. Bailey had a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown against Dallas, although he was also beaten by WR Keyshawn Johnson for a touchdown.
—DE Courtney Brown had a dominant game against Dallas. Often he blew past a lineman or just overpowered him into the backfield and stopped a Dallas back for a loss. Brown has been pretty healthy all season and is having a good year.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—LB Keith Burns has a second-degree sprain of the MCL and a stretched PCL in his right knee. Burns, Denver's best special teams player, will be listed as questionable on the injury report. He did not practice on Monday.
—OT Cornell Green is unlikely to play against Kansas City. He has a second-degree shoulder separation. Green has been rotating at right tackle with starter George Foster.
REPORT CARD VS. COWBOYS
PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus — Jake Plummer's streak without an interception finally ended at 229 passes. The Cowboys didn't give up very much to Denver's passing game. Plummer had 162 yards. He did have a nice touchdown pass to Rod Smith, and he did enough to guide Denver to a win.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus — The Broncos once again struggled against a 3-4 defense. Mike Anderson had a lot of trouble, gaining 31 yards. His longest run was five yards. But Ron Dayne, playing because Tatum Bell was inactive, saved the Broncos. He had 98 yards on seven carries, and his 55-yard run in overtime set up the game-winning field goal.
PASS DEFENSE: B — Champ Bailey was in the right place at the right time for an interception and a 65-yard touchdown return. Denver had trouble with Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Bailey was fooled on a fake wide receiver screen, leading to a touchdown by Keyshawn Johnson. But Denver allowed only one catch longer than 20 yards and made plays late in the game to send it to overtime.
RUSH DEFENSE: A — Dallas didn't give up on its running game. The Cowboys pounded the ball on the ground 32 times, but they averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. Julius Jones was held to less than three yards per carry and Marion Barber didn't have a run longer than six yards. The Broncos swarmed to the ball with their speed on defense.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C — Punter Todd Sauerbrun had a solid game, averaging 44.4 yards per punt, and Jason Elam did hit a chip shot field goal to win the game. But the rest of the special teams weren't a big factor. However, neither were Dallas' special teams. Neither team allowed any long returns or had any disastrous plays in the kicking game.
COACHING: A — Getting Denver ready for a tough road game with two-and-a-half days preparation before traveling to Dallas wasn't easy, but the Broncos coaches did a fine job. Mike Shanahan made an interesting decision to go with Ron Dayne instead of Mike Anderson at tailback to start overtime, and then Dayne broke a 55-yard run that was the difference. Denver won a huge road game without playing its best, and got a few extra days to rest before its next game.
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