It was a bittersweet victory for the Denver Broncos Monday night.
The opening of Invesco Field, the return of former NFL MVP Terrell Davis, and unfortunately, the season ending injury to Easy Ed McCaffrey, out for a minimum of six months with a broken fibula and tibia of his left leg.
McCaffrey, one of the most popular Broncos to set foot on Mile High turf, grabbed a spectacular one-handed catch coming across the middle midway through the third quarter, before being hit by Giants safety Shaun Williams, and falling in agony to the turf.
Television replays vividly showed his leg snap at the moment of impact by Williams.
Prior to the hit, McCaffrey had racked up an impressive 16 catches for 94-yards, and appeared to be headed for another stellar season, teaming with fellow wide receiver Rod Smith as on of Brian Griese's favorite targets.
"I can't say enough about Ed McCaffrey, he's been one of my best friends on the team, and this hurts a lot," said Broncos quarterback Brian Griese.
"I take part responsibility for what happened, I could have looked the safety off a little better, I could have thrown the ball a bit harder and not laid him out as much, but you look back at those play and beat yourself up about them."
McCaffrey, who caught his forty-fourth touchdown catch as a Bronco during the second quarter to put the Broncos ahead 14- 7, was rushed to Swedish Medical Center where he will undergo surgery to repair the injured leg.
The catch tied McCaffrey with fellow teammate Shannon Sharpe, Lionel Taylor and Haven Moses for most receiving touchdowns as a Bronco.
"Eddie had surgery tonight at 11:30 p.m., said head coach Mike Shanahan. "He broke his tibia and fibula, he'lll have a rod put in his leg later on this evening and be out for six months."
While Easy Ed may be finished for the season, the Broncos however, are not, as the post-McCaffrey rally proved.
Two plays later, with the score tied at 14-14 at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter, Brian Griese connected with Rod Smith on a 25-yard touchdown toss, putting Denver back on top 21-14. The score topped off a five play, 71-yard drive, ignited emotionally by the injury to McCaffrey.
Griese, who finished the game with a 144.3 quarterback rating, connected on 21 of 29 passes for a total 330-yards and three touchdowns.
Terrell Davis, making his first start in nearly two years, broke the 100-yard plateau, rushing 21 carries for 101 yards.
"I was really pleased with the overall effort of our football team," said Shanahan. "I thought we played hard throughout the game. We made some plays when we had to, and I thought we beat an excellent football team tonight."
The Broncos increased their lead to 24-14 with 13:49 remaining, thanks to a 37-yard field goal by Jason Elam, then followed up as Mike Anderson ran past the Giants' right side for a six-yard touchdown run, putting the game out of reach at 31-14.
New York rallied for a score late in the fourth quarter as quarterback Kerry Collins engineered a 10 play, 90-yard drive, connecting with Marcellus Rivers for a 1-yard touchdown pass.
Broncos defensive lineman Leon Lett, acquired during the off season, blocked the extra point, sealing Denver's' first official win at Invesco Field at 31-20.
Denver now takes its 1-0 record on the road this Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts. Game time is scheduled for 1:00 MST with television coverage locally on CBS.
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