Cold, hard facts settle in for Broncos

After losing to the Chicago Bears, the Broncos playoff hopes are in disarray, much as their performance in Sunday's game was. Read about the aftermath of the stunning defeat in today's news reports.

Bone-chilling loss - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, November 24, 2003 - Do not, as Denver's suspended defensive tackle Daryl Gardener would say, even try to sugarcoat it. Tell it like it is, which, in this case, is more damaging than any verbal barb tossed at anybody in the Broncos' building. In the midst of their supposed stretch run, at a time when contenders are distinguished from pretenders, the Broncos lost to the Bears 19-10.

Flatliners in the worst way - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Monday, November 24, 2003 - How do you measure the Broncos' hearts this morning? You can't quantify something that does not exist. Nothingness cannot beat, throb or break. Performing as Victor Hugo's Les Miserables on Sunday afternoon, the heartless Broncos plunged into the sewerage of despair and crawled on their bloated bellies before the wretched Chicago Bears.

Wilson to undergo MRI on sore neck - Denver Post
Monday, November 24, 2003 - After losing starting linebackers Ian Gold and John Mobley, the Broncos are facing a similar prospect with middle linebacker Al Wilson. Wilson said he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test today on a pinched nerve in his neck that, in his words, "is getting worse."

Truth hurts: Team not so hot - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, November 24, 2003 - Mike Shanahan better build a bigger doghouse. Chicago 19, Broncos 10. Woof. This was a devastating loss that undermined Shanahan's authority more severely than any tirade by Daryl Gardener ever could.

A season now in peril - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, November 24, 2003 - After beating up the San Diego Chargers 37-8 last week, the Broncos were supposed to be on a king-size roll. Instead, they rolled over and lost 19-10 at home Sunday to the Chicago Bears.

Prominent no-shows on the field - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, November 24, 2003 - Well, at least we know it wasn't all Daryl Gardener's fault. ... Random thought du jour: As Paul Edinger's field goal floated through to give the Bears the halftime lead, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't have minded suspending a few more of his players. ...

Stewart steps up in time of need - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
Monday, November 24, 2003 - The play that broke the Broncos' backs Sunday was the play that strained Chris Chandler's shoulder, a deep pass over the middle that put the Chicago Bears in position for their second field goal after a pass interference penalty. By halftime, the Bears' starting quarterback couldn't play, leaving it to former University of Colorado star Kordell Stewart.

Totally upset - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
November 24, 2003 - The bloodied nose Shannon Sharpe suffered in the first quarter Sunday was a sign of the pain and humiliation to come. In the locker room afterward, nursing bruised ribs and a bruised ego, the Broncos tight end wasn't about to sugarcoat Denver's 19-10 loss to the lowly Chicago Bears (4-7). "I was totally embarrassed," he said. "We know we're a better team than we showed. It was embarrassing after the way we played last week."

Broncos not equal to test - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
November 24, 2003 - It was supposed to be a mismatch. The Denver Broncos defense was ranked No. 2 in the NFL, while the Chicago Bears offense was last. But the Bears offense turned out to be more than Denver could handle.

Plummer, anyone? - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 17, 2003 - Deeds, not words. It was coach Mike Shanahan's brief message to his Denver Broncos last week after three consecutive defeats. "Anybody can make the routine plays," Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said. "You become a great player when you make the plays that no one expects you to make - the plays that really count, that really matter."

Plummer's shine fades in lackluster outing - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
November 24, 2003 - In the order of desirable free-agent quarterbacks last off-season, it was Jake Plummer who was thought to be more of a prize than Kordell Stewart. Both Chicago and Denver courted Plummer first, then Chicago settled on Stewart after Plummer chose the Broncos.

Krieger: Broncos impress with stats instead - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
November 24, 2003 - On the bright side, the Broncos put up some more marvelous statistics. They gained 365 yards to the Bears' 217. They averaged 6.2 yards a play to the Bears' 3.2. So they are basically twice as good, I'd say. Many of them think so, too. Jake Plummer, who sounds more like Brian Griese with each passing week, said losing to the Bears was only devastating if we media cretins write it that way. As the halo drops from his head to his neck - and tightens, too - Jake finds his chroniclers increasingly annoying.

Lincicome: Playoff hopes can't bear such a loss - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
November 24, 2003 - Legacies have adjustable boundaries, but they must start somewhere. Let's pick the fourth quarter, down six points, against a team so laughably pathetic, not to mention laughably fat, that being behind the Chicago Bears at any point is as infuriating as trailing a garbage truck through a suburb. Never will it be easier for Jake Plummer to establish his Broncos cred than it was Sunday. With a whole quarter of football to use, Plummer's come-from-behind legacy is as follows:

Portis runs for 165, but Bears laugh last - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 24, 2003 - Clinton Portis, who has to eat fast food every day to be listed at 205 pounds in the program, ran right into the cement wall that is Brian Urlacher. Portis, after bouncing back a few yards, popped up and returned to the Denver huddle. Chicago's 6-foot-4, 258-pound linebacker stayed down before staggering off the field.

Stewart, Bears stun Broncos - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
November 24, 2003 - In the offseason, the Denver Broncos walked away winners in the free agent quarterback sweepstakes. Their prize was Jake Plummer. The Chicago Bears failed to sign Plummer and limped away with a lovely parting gift in Kordell Stewart.

Special teams struggle - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
November 24, 2003 - It's never a good situation when the place kicker is worried about blocking. While punter/holder Micah Knorr was putting a fitting finale on a disappointing special teams effort in the Denver Broncos' 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday by fumbling a late snap, kicker Jason Elam was forced to look for rushers. Knorr had fumbled a snap for a field goal that would have brought the Broncos within three points with 3:52 remaining at Invesco Field.

Slash-mouth football prevails - Chicago Sun-Times - Brad Biggs
November 24, 2003 - At the end of a week in which Kordell Stewart hinted he expected to be waived after the season, the beleaguered quarterback rallied the Bears to their first road victory in more than a year. Stewart replaced an injured Chris Chandler in the second half and scored on a one-yard run and helped set up the last of four Paul Edinger field goals as the Bears stunned the Denver Broncos 19-10 Sunday at Invesco Field, ending a 12-game road losing streak and giving them their first victory this season against a team with a winning record. The 4-7 Bears have matched their win total from 2002.

Defense inflicts pain, injects fun in Bears' season - Chicago Sun-Times - Mike Mulligan
November 24, 2003 - The Bears have been making incremental progress this season, taking baby steps forward on defense and special teams particularly over the last five or six games. Still, the fact of the matter is they had managed just three victories in 10 games before Sunday's trip to the Mile High City. You figured it would be a cold day in Denver before they'd win on the road against a team with a winning record that oddsmakers made a 101/2-point favorite.

Bears' secondary wins the air battle vs. Plummer - Chicago Sun-Times - Brad Biggs
November 24, 2003 - Rookie cornerback Charles Tillman, no fan of the Mile High altitude, was the last man out of the Bears' locker room after Sunday's 19-10 upset of the Denver Broncos. "I'm a little tired, but we won and I'm cool,'' said Tillman, slumped over. "I'm exhausted. My body is hurting. I just need a good night's sleep in some Chicago air, regular altitude.''

Broncos didn't see this one coming - Chicago Sun-Times - Brian Howell
November 24, 2003 - The Bears put a major dent in the Denver Broncos' playoff hopes with a 19-10 victory Sunday, and judging from the reaction in the home team's locker room, it was a blind-side hit. ''We need every win we can get, especially with an opponent down like they were,'' Broncos receiver Chris Cole said. ''You kind of figure you will go in and get a win against them.'' Said linebacker Al Wilson: ''It's one of those games where you hated to lose this one. This is definitely one that we felt like we should have had in the books.''

Bears 19, Broncos 10 - Associated Press - John Marshall
DENVER (AP) -- Kordell Stewart could have complained and sulked after being replaced as Chicago's starter. Instead, he kept his mouth shut and his mind ready. It paid off. Stewart scored on a 1-yard run after replacing Chris Chandler, and set up the last of Paul Edinger's four field goals, lifting the Bears to a surprising 19-10 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Special Teams: 'We Were Terrible' - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, November 23, 2003 - The game had been lost for over a half hour. Yet punter and field-goal holder Micah Knorr still wasn't sure what transpired on the play that summed up the day for the Broncos special-teams -- and perhaps for the club as a whole in a disheartening 19-10 loss to the Chicago Bears at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Nothing Special - - James Merilatt
Sunday, November 23, 2003 - When a football game is played in inclement weather, the outcome is more often than not determined by field position. It's difficult enough to drive 70 or 80 yards for a score on a good day. Factor in the bitter cold and it becomes next to impossible. Thus, the victor is usually the team that gets to operate on a short field. With the temperature dipping below 20 degrees at kickoff on Sunday, the Chicago Bears beat the Denver Broncos 19-10 – due in large part to the fact that they dominated the field position battle.

Rib Injury Not the Only Pain for Sharpe - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, November 23, 2003 - In seven days, Shannon Sharpe went from a Mount Everest high to a Marianas Trench low. On Nov. 16, he basked in a game that served as a sort of lifetime achievement banquet for 14 seasons in which he became the most prolific tight end in the game. Whether he was talking about the Broncos' win over the San Diego Chargers or speaking of his future plans, he could barely contain a smile. At the same a week later, there was no levity. Sharpe's team had been defeated. His ribs ached from cartilage damage incurred on a hit from Chicago's Bobby Gray while making a drive-saving reception with just over six minutes left in the game. His nose had been bleeding for most of the afternoon.

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