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Old 10-06-2009, 07:15 AM   #1
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Default Article; Broncos prove selves vs. Dallas

NFL: Broncos prove selves vs. Dallas
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Updated: 10/05/2009 08:22:35 AM MDT

Denver In defense of the people, they were always curious.
There may have been more doubt than faith, more criticism than praise. But there wasn't an NFL observer who wasn't at least interested in seeing how the 2009 Broncos -- with their new young coach and his new systems and so many new players -- would play out their season.
A thrilling 17-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a comfortable Sunday afternoon at Invesco Field at Mile High should alter perceptions about the Broncos.
No longer is this a team off to a good start against a weak early schedule. No longer will confidence in the Broncos be quarantined inside their headquarters at Dove Valley.
Questions never entirely disappear for any NFL team, but the tiresome inquiry as to whether the Broncos are for real? That question will be asked less frequently. From now on, the Broncos will lose some of their us-against-the-world edge. The football world now understands the Broncos are a good team.
"Hey, we don't want people to start believing in us," said Broncos running back Correll Buckhalter. "We like it just the way it is."
The Broncos are not just a good team. They are a 4-0 team.
"What other people thought of our team, what other people who were less educated than the ones inside the building thought of our team, doesn't provide us any reason to feel anything," said Broncos coach Josh McDaniels. "We know

we've won four games and four games will never qualify us for the playoffs. Four games will never win our division."
No, but 4-0 already is good enough for a two-game lead in the AFC West. The second-place San Diego Chargers fell to 2-2 after losing Sunday night to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And the 1-3 Oakland Raiders and 0-4 Kansas City Chiefs never were considered threats as division contenders.
Then again, neither were the Broncos. Even after their 3-0 start, even though they were playing at home, even after the Cowboys had played unevenly in their 2-1 start, the Broncos lined up for kickoff Sunday as a 3-point underdog.
And they are already listed as a 31/2-point underdog next Sunday in their home game against New England, coached by McDaniels' mentor, Bill Belichick.
Perhaps Broncos fans should give Belichick some applause next weekend. Under McDaniels, the Broncos aren't afraid to win low-scoring games. Already, they have prevailed 12-7 on the road and 17-10 at home in a game they trailed 10-7 entering the fourth quarter.
"There is a reason they're 4-0," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of the Broncos. "They're a good football team, and they hung in there until they were able to make plays."
When in doubt, throw it up to the $2.2 million man. Late last week, Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall, a young, troubled star, sought the counsel of Brandon Stokley, a veteran who has overcome his lack of size with guile.
"How can I be great?" Marshall asked Stokley. "Forget about the stuff off the field. How can I be great?"
Some teammates might have wanted to avoid confrontation and said something like: "You're already great, Brandon. Keep doing what you're doing and it'll happen."
"That's not what he wanted to hear," Stokley said. "I said if you want to take your game to the next level, you've got to make those plays where, when the ball is up in the air, you've got to go get it. On the deep ball. Like [Larry] Fitzgerald does, like Randy Moss does. When the quarterback throws it up, you've got to go get it. You've got to improve on that. Ironic, huh? Unbelievable."
With two minutes remaining, the teams were tied 10-10 in a rugged, defensive tussle. Near midfield, Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton threw the ball high to the right. Marshall was well-covered by Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman of Dallas, but Marshall reached over his defender and snagged the ball with two hands.
Maintaining balance, Marshall cut left toward the middle of the field. Broke a tackle. Then cut right toward the right corner of the end zone.
It was a happy Marshall who crossed the goal line to finish the 51-yard scoring play and gave the Broncos their first lead.
"It probably was one of my most emotional plays ever, since Little League," Marshall said.
It was a very relieved Marshall who watched Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo line his team up from the Broncos' 2-yard line with five seconds remaining and throw a pass that clanked off receiver Sam Hurd's hands.
"Going back to Pop Warner, I have made a bunch of plays like that that really didn't mean anything because we ended up losing the game," Marshall said.
He then thanked the Broncos' defense for keeping him a hero. The most difficult element to his terrific play? Probably the catch.
"Maybe I should be a motivational speaker or something," Stokley said.
He doesn't have to bother pitching his team to the public. The 4-0 Broncos are no longer a tough sell.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Even while hurt, Stokes keeps finding ways to contribute to this team. Gotta love him.
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:42 AM   #3
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This team did prove a lot in this past game. Dallas has a good offense. The defense is proving to be very good. It is crazy to think of how bad they were just last season.

The offense still has a lot to prove but they are still getting it done now. We haven't played a good defense and we have not done much. Oh well, if the defense keeps it up we won't need much from the offense. If McDaniels would address the QB position I don't think I would be able to find a single complaint about this team. Hopefully Orton improves or gets replaced this offseason. This is so close to a complete team.
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