Winning without Portis difficult

Shannon Sharpe's play was key in Sunday's win over the Detroit Lions, as he moved to 10th on the all-time NFL receiving list. But Clinton Portis' absence was noticeable as the Broncos struggled on the ground. Read about it in today's news reports.

Perfect, but not pretty - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, September 29, 2003 - Everywhere the signs were unmistakable. On its way to Kansas City, Denver nearly tripped over Detroit. And when the Lions' last pass and chance dropped incomplete, Broncos cornerback Lenny Walls leaned over and looked as though he would fall to the ground. He didn't. Like his team, Walls managed to keep standing. Barely.

Catch moves Sharpe to 10th all-time - Denver Post
Monday, September 29, 2003 - Shannon Sharpe made it onto a prestigious NFL top-10 list Sunday. The Broncos' tight end caught seven passes for 74 yards, giving him 766 receptions for 9,452 yards in his career. With catch No. 6, he passed James Lofton and moved into 10th place on the NFL's all-time list for career receptions. The achievement almost left him speechless. Almost.

No portal to Super Bowl without healthy Portis - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, September 29, 2003 - Something was missing. And in its absence, the truth was revealed about these Denver Broncos. Beating Detroit 20-16 was nothing more than dull busywork. Disposing of these paper Lions had all the satisfaction of wasting a gorgeous autumn Sunday sweeping out the garage. But among the 2,733 no-shows who were not ready to go to the stadium, the Broncos discovered more about this football team than in any of the four victories of this young NFL season. One no-show counted more than all the others.

Zimmerman grateful for 'great honor' - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, September 29, 2003 - A man of few words, former Broncos standout Gary Zimmerman was asked Sunday what it meant to be the first offensive lineman inducted into the team's Ring of Fame. "Great honor," Zimmerman said. Asked what went through his mind when he watched a white sheet yanked away and saw his name hanging on the blue ring that sports the names of great former Broncos, he said, "Just shocked."

Failing grade on a great day - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Monday, September 29, 2003 - A John Keats Sunday was idyllic for watching aspens turn outside Aspen, eating brunch in Breckenridge, walking dogs around Cheesman Park, playing golf at Fossil Trace or strolling hand-in-hand down the 16th Street Mall. It was not a perfect afternoon for admiring the Broncos. A wonderful autumn was in the air. But a bad fall was in the air.

Detroit, Mariucci remain upbeat despite another loss - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
Monday, September 29, 2003 - Detroit lost the early lead when Denver scored its first touchdown on a not-so-subtle push-off in the end zone. A fumble returned for an apparent touchdown late in the second quarter was called back, first because of an inadvertent whistle, then called when replays showed cornerback Jimmy Wyrick had been touched by Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey.

Plummer has been hot stuff after opener - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, September 29, 2003 - This note's for you, Zim. ... In case there was ever any doubt, now they know. Jake Plummer's teammates, that is. He already knew the Broncos could win when he didn't have it. Cincinnati, where they almost counted his passer rating on one hand, proved that. Sunday, it was his turn.

Full speed ahead with QB - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, September 29, 2003 - The education of Jake Plummer continued Sunday. The latest lesson involved an intricate passing game with five-receiver sets, an often-empty backfield, only a hint of a running game and enough looks to keep rival defensive coordinators game- planning for the next decade. Playing quarterback for the Broncos is not rocket science, but it can seem like it sometimes.

Exhale-aration - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 29, 2003 - The nose dive quarterback Jake Plummer took before the half Sunday that resulted in a momentum-changing fumble was nothing compared with the one his team nearly executed against the Detroit Lions. Tested for the first time all season after three consecutive victories by an average margin of about 22 points, the Denver Broncos used a late defensive stand to preserve a 20-16 victory and send the -Lions to their 18th consecutive road loss.

Broncos feel Portis' absence - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
September 29, 2003 - It has sometimes been said that the succession of standout running backs featured by the Denver Broncos since the late 1990s has less to do with keen personnel moves than the running back-friendly atmosphere instilled by coach Mike Shanahan's attack. The truth is somewhere between those extremes. Sunday, though, the Broncos learned that, at least for this season, subtracting Clinton Portis from the lineup means losing significant numbers from the running game.

Lions can't shake bitter taste of road kill - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
September 29, 2003 - It is 18 and counting for the Detroit Lions. The Lions' 20-16 loss to the Broncos at Invesco Field on Sunday extended the team's road losing streak to 18 games. That is the equivalent of two complete road schedules plus change, and the frustration for first-year coach Steve Mariucci's young Lions team was clearly evident afterward.

Krieger: Yes, it was ugly, but a 4-0 record is all that matters - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
September 29, 2003 - Shall we change the rules now? Let's. While we're at it, let's hold our nose while passing that mangy mutt that wandered through the former Mile High Stadium parking lot Sunday. Let's change the rules and talk about something else. Let's say winning isn't what matters in pro football. Let's say what really matters is getting your degree. No, wait. That's not it.

Lincicome: Getting Portis back a Chief concern - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
September 29, 2003 - When the going gets tough, thank goodness for the Detroit Lions. Any other team, save the three others the Broncos had already dismissed, and perfection is moot, not to mention inadvertent, as was the whistle that leaves Denver whistling today and looking forward to, in Jake Plummer's words, "coming out of Kansas City 5-0."

Jake on mark, sets up win - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
September 29, 2003 - Jake Plummer is not one to pay attention to statistics. But even he was shocked upon looking up at the scoreboard in the second quarter of Sunday's game. "Whoa, I guess I completed a lot of balls," Plummer said of a personal-best 16 consecutive completions, only four short of the team record.

Broncos' 4-0 start just Super - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin and Lee Rasizer
September 29, 2003 - With Sunday's 20-16 win against the Detroit Lions, the Denver Broncos have gone 4-0 for the fifth time in franchise history. They only can hope they fare as well as the previous four.

Youthful Lions may be ready to growl - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
September 29, 2003 - The Detroit Lions haven't won a game on the road in three seasons, and they will limp out of Denver sporting an underwhelming 1-3 record after the Broncos' 20-16 victory Sunday. But members of the Denver Broncos defense say the youthful Lions are ready for a breakthrough. And they're thankful that the Lions didn't experience their coming-of- age party Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Sharpe must wait to celebrate 750th - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
September 29, 2003 - On the last play before the first half's 2-minute warning Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High, Shannon Sharpe hauled in an 8-yard pass from Jake Plummer that put Denver on Detroit's 21-yard line. It was a play not unlike so many others in Sharpe's long career, except for the fact that the reception will help define the 14-year veteran as the premier pass-catching tight end in NFL history.

Broncos report, September 29 - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
September 29, 2003 - Key play: The Broncos were clinging to a one-point, fourth-quarter lead with the Lions facing a second-and-11 at their 47-yard line. Quarterback Joey Harrington passed to Charles Rogers for a 10-yard gain that would have put Detroit at the Broncos 43 for a third-and-1 play, and possibly given it momentum for a drive to a go-ahead field goal - or better. But a chop block on center Dominic Raiola pushed the Lions back 15 yards, to their 32, and they punted two plays later. The Broncos then played keep-away for 4 1/2 minutes before Jason Elam's 41-yard field goal gave them a 20-16 lead.

Broncos stave off feisty Lions - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 29, 2003 - From the outside peeking in, the game was about as sexy as Scotty Bowman. Hockeytown's football team had lost 17 consecutive road games, and just about as many players to injury. And unlike the Red Wings, the Lions stink. Or maybe not. According to the Broncos, their 20-16 victory over Detroit on Sunday at Invesco Field was as special as Denver's prime-time pummeling of AFC West rival Oakland six days earlier.

Confusion reigns on Plummer's fumble - Daily Camera - Barney Hutchinson
September 29, 2003 - Upon further review, the officials at the Broncos-Lions game Sunday succeeded in confusing two football teams and 72,986 at Invesco Field. It began in the late stages of the second quarter.

Sharpe moves into 10th on all-time receptions list - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 29, 2003 - Shannon Sharpe froze in the postgame spotlight. "I'm at a loss for words," the Denver Broncos tight end said with the cameras in his face. "That doesn't really happen very often."

Hutchinson: Broncos need all hands for Chiefs - Daily Camera - Barney Hutchinson
September 29, 2003 - It does not take much to make the Denver Broncos an undermanned football team in the National Football League. That fact became clearly spelled out Sunday after the Broncos squeezed past the Detroit Lions, 20-16, at Invesco Field.

Roadblock: Close, but the Lions lose the 18th straight on the road - Detroit Free Press - Curt Sylvester
September 29, 2003 - Considering what was expected of them against one of the hottest teams in the NFL, the Lions didn't do a bad job Sunday. Considering how poorly they had played against Green Bay and Minnesota in the previous two games, they took a significant step forward. But considering what they have yet to accomplish to get back to NFL respectability, the Lions failed again.

Highly favored Broncos were due to be deflated against Lions - San Francisco Chronicle - Mike O'Hara
Monday, September 29, 2003 - Burning questions Sunday from the Lions' 20-16 loss to the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High: Q. The Broncos were favored by 12 points. Was it a surprise that the game was close? A. No. Everyone should have seen this game coming. The Broncos were down a little from beating Oakland on "Monday Night Football" to make their record 3-0. They didn't have running back Clinton Portis.

Any Given Sunday - - James Merilatt
Sunday, September 28, 2003 - All week, the Denver Broncos talked about avoiding a letdown, staying focused and taking care of business on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. To a man, they were saying all the right things. As is often the case, however, some things are easier said than done.

Broncos-Lions Notebook: A Stop When It's Needed Most - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 28, 2003 - For a moment, it felt as if Superman had spun the world backwards on its axis, winding time and the calendar back to 2002. As the Detroit Lions faced 2nd-and-10 at their own 32 with 1:35 left and a four-point deficit, quarterback Joey Harrington's pass for Charles Rogers sailed away from him and into the hands of Denver's Ian Gold. The swift linebacker -- who led the team in tackles for the day with eight solo stops -- had a chance to pull the ball in and squash the potential shocker.

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