Must-win game looms against Patriots

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has compiled a 26-12 record as a starter in regular-season games but has been unable to beat the Broncos. Denver hopes their string against New England continues tonight as they play a must-win game to keep playoff hopes alive. Read more in today's reports.

Brady bunch is back - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, November 03, 2003 - The previous time these teams squared off at Invesco Field at Mile High, so did Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. NC-17 style, too.

It's a lock: Pats have no chance - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Monday, November 03, 2003 - Same Old New Eng. It doesn't matter if Danny Kanell or Hortense The Wonder Pony starts at quarterback tonight, the Denver Broncos are dead-cert, lock-cinch, bona-fide, five-star, solid-fuel sure things.

Monday motivator - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
November 3, 2003 - Ten months ago, 1 yard separated the Denver Broncos from the playoffs. But this wasn't about Clinton Portis being stuffed at the goal line, or Shannon Sharpe being pushed out of bounds on his way into the end zone. No, the Broncos were dead before they even hit the field in the 2002 regular-season finale.

Krieger: No controversy here: Smith's focusing on wins, not numbers - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
November 3, 2003 - As you know, I have been trying for some time to convince Rod Smith to be more controversial, so he'll get the kind of attention other big-time receivers get. As you know, up to this point, I have pretty much failed. Smith is always talking about team this and team that, even though I've mentioned that pulling out a Sharpie in the end zone might get him on a magazine cover.

Lincicome: Must-win? It's trite but it is also right - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
November 3, 2003 - The frontiers of panic are indistinct, but we can agree that the Broncos are at the border. One more loss and the return of Jake Plummer as all he was supposed to be, as well as the miracle healing of - let me check my list - linebackers, wide receivers, offensive linemen, Deltha O'Neal (he must be hurt, right?) will not keep the Broncos from playing for scraps. One more loss and the Broncos become that most miserable of creatures, an afterthought.

How the Broncos and Patriots match up - Rocky Mountain News
November 3, 2003 - The Broncos have struggled recently, with Clinton Portis averaging only 3.9 yards a carry against Baltimore. But he is still dangerous, and something will have to give when the NFL's third-ranked rushing offense goes against the league's fourth-ranked run defense. New England has been solid against the run, holding Ricky Williams to less than 100, and limiting Tennessee's Eddie George to only 35 yards on 15 carries. It won't help that Danny Kanell, not Jake Plummer is under center.

Broncos report, November 3 - Rocky Mountain News
November 3, 2003 - Tom Brady: The Patriots quarterback has compiled a 26-12 record as a starter in regular-season games and was the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XXXVI. So why can't he beat the Broncos? In two regular-season losses to Denver, he has thrown more interceptions (four) than TD passes (three).

Broncos eye prime-time effort - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 3, 2003 - Remember Clinton Portis' 65-yard touchdown run? How about his 72-yard catch on that pass by Rod Smith? Or that time when Deltha O'Neal was a starter and made an interception? To refresh your memory, all three plays were against Kansas City. A month ago.

Broncos (5-3) vs. Patriots (6-2) - Daily Camera
November 3, 2003 - The Broncos lead 22-14, including a 14-7 edge in Denver. ... The Broncos won 24-16 at Gillette Stadium last year and are 6-2 in the series under Mike Shanahan.

Altitude? Pats say thin air won't be an excuse tonight - Daily Camera - Alan Greenberg, Hartford Courant
November 3, 2003 - As coach of the We-Don't-Make-Excuses New England Patriots, Bill Belichick doesn't want to hear about the thin air, or about how your lungs ache when you exert yourself for three hours in thinly spaced air molecules a mile above sea level. You know that he knows it's a disadvantage for players who live and train at sea level, as his Patriots do. But if he pretends it isn't, if he ignores it and says it's irrelevant, he knows his players will, too.

Heavy wait champions - Boston Globe - Dan Shaughnessy,
11/3/2003 - The early bus will leave at 3:45 p.m. The late bus will leave at 4:30. Kickoff is 2 1/2 hours later. Football players have a love-hate relationship with the monster of hype and mythology we have come to know as "Monday Night Football." They love being on national television, providing entertainment for parties (pass the Cheez-Its) across America. But they hate waiting around all day.

Patriots feeling sky high - Boston Globe - Michael Smith
11/3/2003 - It's been said that 90 percent of the game is half mental. That's 100 percent true of tonight's "Monday Night Football" game between the Patriots and Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Patriots have a lot on their minds besides complex schemes and innovative game plans. There's a list of things they have to remind themselves to forget. More stuff they can't afford to forget to remember. Other things they have to be mindful to ignore. Understood?

2nd and long: Given another chance, Kanell looks to keep Broncos driving - Boston Herald - George Kimball
Monday, November 3, 2003 - By the time he was cut loose by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2000 season, NFL coaches had seen enough of Danny Kanell that he was effectively drummed out of the league. Although Kanell spent the next two years playing in the Arena League, trying his hand at professional baseball and coaching his old high school football team, Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, dreams die hard when you've had a taste of the big time.

Mind games: Shanahan, Broncos match Pats when it comes to scheming - Boston Herald - Kevin Mannix
Monday, November 3, 2003 - So how do you structure a game plan against a team that doesn't have a set game plan of its own? That is the question as the Patriots [stats, news] prepare for tonight's mirror-image game (9 p.m.) against the Broncos here at INVESCO Field. Some teams have their preferences. The Dolphins like to run Ricky Williams until his tongue is dragging. Steve Spurrier will throw the ball until his quarterback's arm gets tired. Andy Reid's Eagles prefer to throw the ball and then throw it some more. Those are the teams that do what they do and dare you to stop them. The Broncos, on the other hand, play offense the way the Patriots play defense.

Stingy foe for Pats - Boston Herald - Kevin Mannix
Monday, November 3, 2003 - When you think of the Denver Broncos [stats, news], you usually concentrate on the offense. Why not? There's coach Mike Shanahan, running back Clinton Portis, receiving threats Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe, as well as a line that, when healthy, is one of the league's best. Not this year. Injuries to Jake Plummer and Steve Beuerlein have mandated the promotion of veteran journeyman Danny Kanell to the starting position. That means the Broncos' success or failure depends heavily on the play of the defense.

Patriots may go without Brown - Boston Herald - Michael Felger
Monday, November 3, 2003 - All year, quarterback Tom Brady [news] has been bragging about his deeper, more explosive receiving corps. Tonight, Brady's claims may be put to the test, as leading receiver Troy Brown [news] (leg) is listed as doubtful for the Pats' Monday Night matchup in Denver. However, Brown was said to have shown improvement yesterday, and traveled with the team to Denver.

'Must-Win' Game Looms for Broncos - - Andrew Mason
Monday, November 3, 2003 - Win or lose, the Broncos will have to stew on Monday night's result for 13 days. Nearly two weeks to sit and ponder a prime position for the playoffs with a win over one of the conference's key playoff contenders, or a three-game losing streak and a spot three and a half games back of the AFC West leaders, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Broncos-Patriots Capsule and Notes - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, November 2, 2003 -These perennial AFC powers will face each other this week for the ninth consecutive season. For the third time in this span, they will do it on ABC&rsquos NFL Monday Night Football in Denver. The Patriots and Broncos, who between them have qualified for the playoffs in seven of the past 10 years, share the NFL&rsquos longest active stretch among non-division rivals of consecutive seasons playing each other.

Broncos Face Uphill Climb - - John Madden
Saturday, November 1 - When watching the New England Patriots, I find myself asking: how do they do it? They've suffered multiple injuries and have had to plug guys in here and there, and yet, they've still played well. Belichick's Pats haven't allowed 100 yards rushing in four games. At some point, you've got to credit the coaching. Bill Belichick does an amazing job with his team, particularly the defense. Belichick and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel do so many different things to confuse opposing offenses -- and all during the course of one drive.

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