Second guessing begins

Almost as soon as the Broncos thrilling overtime victory over Cleveland was in the books, second guessing began over the use of Clinton Portis on the final drive of the game. Portis suffered a sprained ankle and knee and will undergo an MRI test today. Read more about the game and Portis in today's news reports.

A win and a loss - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, December 15, 2003 Before the when-to-kick-it debate engulfed Denver, it erupted on the Broncos' sideline. Before Denver running back Clinton Portis was carried off the field with a sprained ankle and knee that produced negative X-rays after the game but will require the season's most important magnetic resonance imaging test today, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen sounded his vote.

'Tis the season: Denver looking for bit of cheer - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Monday, December 15, 2003 - Happy Holidaze! On the first day of Christmas the Broncos gave to thee, a victory in an OT. Just when you want to dump a load of coal on the Broncos, they bewilder, bedazzle, be 9-5. How about a pony in a pear tree? What's gotta give on the eighth night of the 12 - Sunday in Indianapolis? So, Broncos, be good, for goodness and playoffs' sake.

Playoffs all in the (wild) cards - Denver Post
Monday, December 15, 2003 - Just when Denver's playoff outlook was becoming clouded and ugly, it cleared up with picture-perfect clarity. With two games left in their season, the Broncos are clinging to the No. 6 playoff spot - no matter how the Miami Dolphins fare against the Philadelphia Eagles tonight.

It's not The Drive, but Jake directs comeback - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, December 15, 2003 - Anything Jake Plummer can do, John Elway already did better. Such is the life of a Broncos quarterback, a job in which being perfect might not be good enough. "It's unfair," Denver veteran Rod Smith said. "Very unfair."

Sharpe keeps things simple - Denver Post - Adam Schefter
Monday, December 15, 2003 - In what likely was his final game in Denver, Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe went out in the style that has marked his career. First, Sharpe was the final player announced during pregame introductions, drawing a rousing ovation. Then he went over the 10,000-yard receiving mark for his career, finishing the day with 10,030.

Sharpe won't concede career is about to end - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, December 15, 2003 - If Sunday was the end of the line for Shannon Sharpe, then, believe it or not, he went out quietly. There were no emotional moments, no hugs from teammates, no Incredible Hulk routines and no calls to the president to bring in the National Guard. Sharpe enjoyed a rather workmanlike day, with eight catches for 97 yards. Afterward, he held firm to the party line, refusing to concede that he had played his final game in Denver.

Lelie catches up - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, December 15, 2003 - A week ago, Ashley Lelie was lost. Sunday he was found, and just in the nick of time. The athletic second-year wide receiver, lauded for his great athletic ability but panned for his recent hands-of-stone performances, saved the Broncos' season.

Rookie gets burned, but will learn - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
Monday, December 15, 2003 - For more than 59 minutes, all the things that needed to go right for the Cleveland Browns actually had. They started the right quarterback. They signed the right emergency place-kicker. And they did a good enough job on Broncos running back Clinton Portis to put themselves in position to win the game Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Broncos shove 'em aside - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 15, 2003 - When times are darkest and the holes appear deepest for the Denver Broncos, there's no more comforting feeling than peering across the line of scrimmage and seeing the brown, orange and white of the Cleveland Browns. The series that produced "The Drive" and "The Fumble" under desperate circumstances added a new chapter Sunday. The only difference this time was that the stakes were great only for one side.

After Portis goes down, teammates cross fingers - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
December 15, 2003 - Clinton Portis never saw Jason Elam nail the winning field goal in overtime Sunday. The Denver Broncos star running back had his back to the field as he was being helped to the bench, the grimace on his face telling of the immense pain he was in.

Sticking his neck out, Wilson beats pain and Raiders - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
December 15, 2003 - With 6 seconds remaining in regulation Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High, Jason Elam did something he never had done before in his 11 seasons as the Broncos placekicker. He tipped his hat to the crowd.

Krieger: Kick it! Shanahan tempted fate, lost - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
December 15, 2003 - Mike Shanahan has been second-guessed on everything but his wardrobe this season - and maybe that, too; I haven't talked to Mr. Blackwell lately. But aside from foreign policy, this one is the daddy of all second guesses.

Lincicome: Win would've been sweeter a play earlier - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
December 15, 2003 - In addition to Saddam Hussein, the Broncos live, if both with an ambiguous future. Ah, I'm not going to chase that image any further, other than to give some historical perspective to the day the Broncos did not die, though they could have, maybe should have, and may still have, depending on the condition of Clinton Portis.

Broncos' win may be costly - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 15, 2003 - There was The Drive and The Fumble. And now ... The MRI. Clinton Portis did everything in his power to make sure the Denver Broncos escaped with another important victory at the expense of the Cleveland Browns, 23-20 in overtime on Sunday at Invesco Field. But was Portis asked to do too much? And how costly will his right leg injury be for the Broncos?

Hutchinson: Overusing Portis may haunt Broncos - Daily Camera - Barney Hutchinson
December 15, 2003 - It might have been the most costly 3 yards the Denver Broncos have gained all season. Clinton Portis, the Bronco who has scored every Denver rushing touchdown in the last two games, carried the ball from the Cleveland Browns' 10 to the 7 with just more than 10 minutes remaining in overtime. The official play-by-play notes, "Clinton Portis hurt on the play."

Elam won't second-guess using Portis to set up FG - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 15, 2003 - Jason Elam probably would have won the game if he had been asked in overtime to kick a 51-yard field goal, like the one he made in the first quarter. But the veteran placekicker appreciates what Denver head coach Mike Shanahan was trying to do when he asked Clinton Portis to carry the ball into the heart of Cleveland's defense for a 38th time.

Sharpe: Big game, no big pronouncements - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 15, 2003 - Shannon Sharpe dropped no subtle hints. If he played his last home game for the Denver Broncos, he gave no indication late Sunday after a 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns. No pronouncements, no speeches, no farewells.

Extra effort, extra agony - Cleveland Plain Dealer - Tony Grossi
12/15/03 - Denver- Broken hearts of the old Browns were buried here when they blew up old Mile High Stadium two years ago. Now the new place - Invesco Field at Mile High - officially has been christened by the reborn Browns. They had a hard-fought, precious win taken away from them yesterday by the Denver Broncos in overtime, leaving their embattled coach nearly in tears.

A mile low - Akron Beacon Journal - Patrick McManamon
Mon, Dec. 15, 2003 - The Browns lost a tough one Sunday, and the struggles and injuries and stress of a 4-10 season poured out of their coach. Butch Davis spoke emotionally to his team and the media after the game, the anguish of a 23-20 overtime loss oozing from each word. "This makes me sick for those kids," Davis said. "They deserved to win. People in this organization are straining like you have no idea to try to win a ballgame, and to see them go out there and fight as hard as they did and come up short, it hurts."

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