Monday, September 13, 2004 - Somewhere between the chaos of several questionable officiating calls and the euphoria of a season-opening victory over their most pertinent AFC West rival, the Broncos on Sunday night answered several questions that hung over them since they began an offseason overhaul. In a wild game, the Broncos scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jake Plummer to tight end Patrick Hape that sealed a 34-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Just another must win - Denver Posts - Mark Kiszla
Monday, September 13, 2004 - Can genius go stale? For the 10th time, the Broncos opened an NFL season with Mike Shanahan in charge. But this one smelled different. The unmistakable scent of desperation filled the air at Invesco Field at Mile High. When Denver defeated Kansas City 34-24, it was nothing less than the most important victory for Shanahan since the Broncos last won a Super Bowl in 1999. Shanahan was everywhere at once Sunday night, his influence on the game's intensity and outcome as real as the 156 yards rushing by Quentin Griffin or an interception by Champ Bailey.
Q gives fans a clue of what's to come - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, September 13, 2004 - Quentin Griffin took his first handoff of the season and galloped for minus-4 yards, 68 fewer than Clinton Portis' first run as a Washington Redskin. You remember Clinton Portis. Pepsodent smile, pink shoes, more bling bling than Imelda Marcos? Yeah, that's the guy. For all we know, they're going to end up building a monument to him in Washington. But judging from Sunday night, he may not be missed as much as we thought.
Bailey for Portis works out so far - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, September 13, 2004 - Champ Bailey was the last man standing Sunday night. At least it seemed that way in the second half of the Broncos' 34-24 season-opening victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. With fellow cornerbacks dropping out - Lenny Walls went down with a shoulder injury and Kelly Herndon with leg cramps - Bailey had to stand tall in his Mile High debut. He did exactly that, just as he had vowed all summer.
Veteran Smith stepping up with big returns on punts - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, September 13, 2004 - That was not some 22-year-old rookie returning punts for the Broncos on Sunday, it was the player widely regarded as the most valuable veteran on the team - wide receiver Rod Smith. Triandos Luke, the rookie wide receiver from Alabama who made the team because of his punt-return ability, was among the eight players on Denver's pregame list of inactive players.
Crucial stop proves elusive - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, September 13, 2004 - It was one of those defining moments, one that can define a season even if it is a season opener. The Kansas City Chiefs, trailing 27-24, had the Broncos pinned on their own 13-yard line Sunday night at Invesco Field at Mile High. Less than 9 1/2 minutes remained. The Chiefs needed one stop for a chance to take the lead. They needed one stop for a chance to prove this Chiefs defense isn't the same defense that finished 29th in the NFL last year under defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who later resigned.
Ticket trade not as brisk as years past - Denver Post - Mike Chambers
Monday, September 13, 2004 - Ticket scalpers outside Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday said demand for Broncos seats has diminished. "Too many (scalpers), maybe not enough interest, and a lot of fans who know how to (shop)," said Roger Montoya, 40, who lives in Denver and was trying to sell a handful of tickets south of the stadium before the Broncos' season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
A proper frame of mind to begin - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 13, 2004 - Consider it a picture imperfect opener for the Denver Broncos, but one that still left them all smiles anyway. Save for the snapshot Denver coach Mike Shanahan was waving in the face of head linesmen Phil McKinnely to try to correct an improper spot of the ball just before halftime Sunday night - a discussion that might have included almost 1,000 words or so worth of anger-management fodder - the Broncos still did enough of the right things at the right times to begin 2004 with a win.
Proving to be 2-way Champ - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 13, 2004 - Champ Bailey was hard to miss Sunday in his Broncos debut, and, it seems, easy to avoid, too. He lined up at running back, catching the Denver Broncos first pass of the season. He split wide at receiver in the team's nickel pass package, too. One had to look harder to find him on defense, which is just fine with the Broncos. Not noticing the talented cornerback very much only means Bailey was doing the job for which the Broncos doled out an $18 million signing bonus.
Offense goes the extra yard - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
September 13, 2004 - It was practically Jake Plummer's mantra during the insanely long preseason when the questions about the unproductive offense grew increasingly annoying to the second-year Denver quarterback. "What is the date?" he would ask, referring to the season opener when the games, and the numbers, would count. When a shootout broke out Sunday night at Invesco Field with Kansas City and the points started piling up, Plummer's advice to wait until the season opener seemed very wise.
Lincicome: Griffin has some saying, 'Clinton who?' - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
September 13, 2004 - The Age of Q dawns unexpectedly and in miniature, this being no reflection on Quentin Griffin, the latest running back wonder of the Denver Broncos. Griffin may be smaller than his predecessors, but his results are every bit as large. Larger if you put a long yardstick to it, and if you do you will find that Griffin out-Portised Clinton Portis on the opening weekend of the NFL, this one and the last one.
Saunders: Even for a rookie broadcaster, Sharpe's debut never was dull - Rocky Mountain News - Dusty Saunders
September 13, 2004 - When it comes to football conversation, Shannon Sharpe nearly always lives up to his last name. So it wasn't surprising that during his Sunday debut on CBS' NFL Today, the former Denver Broncos star displayed the needed sharp edge. But Sharpe also indicated he's sharp enough to understand he's still a rookie in the broadcasting business. Unlike predecessor Deion Sanders, who tried to light up the pregame show with nonstop babble, Sharpe often deferred to fellow commentators, rarely interrupting Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason.
In a pinch, Pryce plays through some discomfort - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer And Jeff Legwold
September 13, 2004 - Trevor Pryce was taken out of the game often Sunday - and not just from the lineup. "I haven't gotten pushed around like this in my life - and they knew it," Pryce said. Pryce played sporadically throughout Denver's 34-24 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was playing with a lower back ailment that sapped the strength from his right leg. The three-time Pro Bowl selection noted he initially hurt himself during the Aug. 27 preseason game against Houston and later had a magnetic resonance imaging test on his back, which showed a nerve pinch on a disk.
Knorr, Smith make it special opening night - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
September 13, 2004 - The Denver Broncos didn't need to be reminded how dangerous Dante Hall is once he fields a booted ball. Not with the dizzying 93-yard punt return Hall turned in against Denver last season continuing to show up on NFL highlight reels as often as John Elway's "Helicopter Dive" in Super Bowl XXXII. But thanks to the skilled left foot of Micah Knorr, the Broncos didn't allow Hall an opportunity to make his hip-swiveling moves that are so dangerous in the open field.
Game 1 Report - Daily Camera
September 13, 2004 - HEROES -- Quentin Griffin. Rushed for 156 yards, a Bronco opening day record, and two touchdowns. Also grabbed a 1-yard touchdown pass. ... Champ Bailey. Helped shut down Chiefs receiver Dante Hall and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Also made an 11-yard reception on offense. ... Micah Knorr. Kept his kickoffs and punts away from Hall all night.
Refs give Chiefs 2nd chance - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 13, 2004 - The Broncos' 34-24 victory over Kansas City on Sunday night at Invesco Field was extended at least an extra 10 minutes because of an incompetent officiating crew. The lowlight for the men in stripes came with no time left on the clock in the second quarter. Following Trent Green's incompletion, the Chiefs were given another play because Denver defensive end Raylee Johnson was off-sides. So placekicker Lawrence Tynes trotted out for a 63-yard field goal, which would have tied the NFL record shared by Jason Elam and Tom Dempsey, except for the fact that it was a good 5 yards short.
Denver's defense passes first test in win vs. Chiefs - Daily Camera - Zak Brown,
September 13, 2004 - Champ Bailey made his impact on the Denver Broncos defense, John Lynch made one but it didn't count and a guy who wasn't drafted may have made the biggest play of the night. The Denver Broncos changed to a different approach this year, with a new commitment to defense, and it showed Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. They traded all-Pro running back Clinton Portis to Washington for Champ Bailey and brought in Lynch and Luther Elliss as free agents. They drafted D.J. Williams at linebacker with their first pick, and he started in Denver's 34-24 win.
Thorburn: Griffin makes trade look good so far - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 13, 2004 - Anything you can do, Q can do better. After debating it for six months, fans of the Broncos and Redskins finally had their first real opportunity to begin judging the offseason blockbuster that sent Clinton Portis to Washington and brought Champ Bailey to Denver. So far it's a push. At least between Portis and Bailey, who both made memorable debuts with their new teams. On his very first carry for the Redskins, Portis hit the after-burners and scored a 64-yard touchdown. He finished with 164 yards on the ground to lead his team to a victory over Tampa Bay, a team known for its defense.
Broncos answer with 'Q' - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
September 13, 2004 - Denver Bronco head coach Mike Shanahan compared Sunday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs to a heavyweight fight. The Broncos defended their title. And this time, there wasn't a championship belt. In the first game without Clinton Portis and the belt he wore the last time the Broncos beat the Chiefs in Denver, his replacement, Quentin Griffin erased any concerns by running for 156 yards and scoring three touchdowns in a 34-24 win. Shanahan thought he had a running back who could help make up for Portis being gone when he traded him, and Griffin proved him right by covering a costly day from quarterback Jake Plummer and another good performance from last year's best offense.
Broncos 34, Chiefs 24 - Daily Camera
September 12, 2004 - Quentin Griffin might make the Denver Broncos forget Clinton Portis after all. Griffin ran for 156 yards and scored three touchdowns in his first game as Portis' replacement, lifting the Broncos to a 34-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. Denver traded Portis to Washington to get cornerback Champ Bailey, a potentially risky move because Portis rushed for more than 1,500 yards in each of his first two seasons.
Plummer's performance depends on situation - Greeley Tribune - Matt Schuman
September 13, 2004 - Let Jake be The Snake. When Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is slithering around, scrambling and making plays with his feet, he makes the Denver Broncos offense go. When he's sitting in the pocket trying to manage a football game like New England quarterback Tom Brady, he's, well, no Tom Brady. While Plummer wasn't perfect in Denver's 34-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, he was the Plummer the Broncos need to be a playoff football team as he completed 18-of-29 passes for 230 yards, two TDs and a pair of interceptions in leading Denver to a 34-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Broncos stamp out 'X-Factor' - Greeley Tribune - Nate Haas
September 13, 2004 - Denver's crowd of 74,921 let out a collective gasp the first time Dante Hall touched the ball. The anxious moment didn't come until the second quarter, though. That's when the Chiefs' "X-Factor" got his first opportunity to make a difference in the storied AFC rivalry Sunday at Invesco Field. For a brief moment, Hall's return off Micah Knorr's kick to the 5-yard line seemed eerily similar to the last time he torched the Broncos for a pivotal touchdown last season. That didn't happen Sunday night, though, as Denver's special teams corralled the elusive return specialist. Knorr's strong leg helped the cause, too, as he booted a 66-yard punt and sailed five kicks to the end zone for touchbacks to keep Hall at bay.
Knorr-malcy - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 13, 2004 - Micah Knorr wasn't nervous before he kicked to Dante Hall for the first time Sunday night -- well, at least not any more nervous than normal. "I feel nervous every week because I think every returner is a Dante," Knorr said. "I think every returner is a Deion (Sanders), a Brian Mitchell, a Darrien Gordon, a Darrick Vaughn. When given the opportunity, any one of those guys can be just amazing. That's why they're back there. "So every week, I'm a little nervous, because I'm facing that great one every game."
Max Q: Griffin Slices Through Chiefs - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 13, 2004 - A few hours before the Broncos strode through the curtain for their opening act of 2004, the team's former bellwether runner, Clinton Portis, threw down the gauntlet two time zones away by sprinting 64 yards for a touchdown on his first regular-season carry as a Washington Redskin. The man the Broncos traded to the Redskins in early March sprinted for 148 yards through the perennially stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. A few hours later, the Broncos had the chance to answer -- to show that the organization's faith in its commitment to the running game and to 2003 understudy and 2004 starter Quentin Griffin was justified.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs - DenverBroncos.com
Sunday, September 12, 2004 - Denver opened the 2004 regular season at INVESCO Field at Mile High to a full house with a crowd ready for action. The Broncos made a transaction prior to the game, waiving defensive tackle Darius Holland and promoting linebacker Louis Green to the active roster. Before kickoff, the team deactivated the following players: Triandos Luke, Jeff Shoate, Sam Brandon, Patrick Chukwurah, Charlie Adams, Luther Elliss, Matt Mauck and Green to bring the game-day roster to 45 players. Third-year player Jeb Putzier earned the start at tight end over Dwayne Carswell. Kansas City won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff.
Broncos-Chiefs Notebook: Bailey Heads to Offense - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 12, 2004 - Champ Bailey pined for offensive action throughout the offseason and preseason. Against the Chiefs, the cornerback got his wish. Bailey got into the offensive flow early, posting the Broncos' first reception of the 2004 regular season when he took a screen pass from Jake Plummer and sprinted up the right sideline for 11 yards on a third-and-12 situation. He leapt for the first down and failed to achieve it, but it allowed the Broncos to successfully convert a fourth-and-1 one snap later, helping the Broncos march to a field goal.
Questions Answered - DenverBroncos.com - James Merilatt
Sunday, September 12, 2004 - Heading into the first game of a new season, every team has question marks. But in 2004, the Denver Broncos seemed to have more than normal. Everywhere you looked, there were new guys in new positions – meaning the Broncos entered their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs as somewhat of an enigma. Nobody knew just what to expect. But on Sunday night, Denver provided plenty of answers, clueing in the football world during a 34-24 victory at INVESCO Field at Mile High. After one game, it appears as though the Broncos have managed to fill what appeared to be many holes.
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