Broncos fumble away win

Inability to convert on short third down situations put the Denver Broncos put them behind against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a last minute fumble cost them a shot at a win. Read the post-mortems in today's news reports.

Fumble, stumble - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, September 20, 2004 - The consensus on the Broncos' sideline was they were going to sneak out of this dark, cloudy afternoon undefeated, not with the 7-6 loss Sunday. That was going to be the bottom line: a victory. It may not have been poetry, but with a dominating offensive statistical sheet and a punishing defensive effort, the road win certainly was going to be well-earned. The sloppiness and lack of production would be dealt with during the week. But the point was, the Broncos were going to head home with their recent September success intact.

Broncos Mailbag - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, September 17, 2004 - I am very confused about what I saw in Sunday's Chiefs-Broncos game. When Quentin Griffin scored his first TD, all he did was give the ball to the referee. Then on the next two scores, he did the same. Where are all the antics that everyone else in the league does?

Offense shouldn't be trusted - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, September 20, 2004 - Mike Shanahan blew it. All the heartbreak, all the cursing and all the regret resulting from a shocking 7-6 loss to Jacksonville could have been avoided with better judgment by the Broncos. Shanahan, however, threw away a precious, near-certain victory on the side of the road. His error? The arrogance of trusting his lame offense too much.

Broncos run into some big trouble - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, September 20, 2004 - The Broncos put their helmets down and tried to run through a stone wall Sunday afternoon. They didn't get far. Running against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense fortified inside by 312-pound Marcus Stroud and 328-pound John Henderson, the Broncos managed only 106 yards rushing in a dispiriting 7-6 loss.

Broncos go without Pryce; first missed game since '99 - Denver Post
Monday, September 20, 2004 - Saturday night, the Broncos thought they'd have star defensive lineman Trevor Pryce for pass-rushing situations against the Jaguars. However, Sunday morning it became apparent that the durable Pro Bowl player wouldn't be able to help the Broncos even as a situational player. Pryce, who aggravated a pinched nerve in a disc in the opener against Kansas City, told coach Mike Shanahan on Saturday night he didn't think he could play the entire game. However, in warm-ups Sunday morning, Pryce didn't feel he could perform at a level high enough to play.

"D" holds key to Denver season - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, September 20, 2004 - Memo to Jake Plummer: Now is it OK to worry about the offense? Sure, sure, it's only September, but that unwritten rule about finger-pointing in the NFL applies only to players and coaches. Except, of course, Mike Shanahan, who answers only to his mirror. As expected, the Broncos' defensive players said all the right things Sunday, just as sure as their offensive players did all the wrong things.

Exchange plummets - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 20, 2004 - It is always the little things. And in a statistical pile that will say the Denver Broncos outrushed, outpassed and generally outplayed Jacksonville on Sunday, it was a botched handoff that handed the victory to the Jaguars, 7-6 in ALLTEL Stadium. "It's tough, I'm not going to lie to you and say it's not," linebacker Al Wilson said. "Any loss is tough. I don't give a damn if you lose by 100 (points) or you lose by one." The loss drops the Broncos to 1-1, with San Diego set to visit Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday.

Spicer's injury 'cheap,' Jags say - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer And Jeff Legwold
September 20, 2004 - On the field, the Jacksonville Jaguars complained that the block that broke defensive end Paul Spicer's right leg was a "cheap shot." Those complaints were muted in the locker room after the Jaguars' 7-6 victory against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. But Denver fullback Reuben Droughns, who was involved in the play, insisted the injury was a freak accident.

Pryce's absence pain in back for D-line - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 20, 2004 - A lot of what the Denver Broncos do in their defensive front is based on where four-time Pro Bowl selection Trevor Pryce lines up. Well, Pryce didn't line up at all Sunday, missing the 7-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars because of continued back pain. Pryce has said a disk in his lower back is pinching on a nerve, which also is causing weakness in his right leg.

Krieger: Losing is a tough way to learn a lesson - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 20, 2004 - Behind the visitor's bench at All Tel Stadium, there's an ad for the Jaguars' Touchdown Club. This is a little like Colorado Democrats having a Victory Committee. You wonder how often these groups could possibly meet. Of course, the Jags had more touchdowns Sunday than the Broncos, which so contradicted the actual flow of the game - such as it was - that you are tempted to think there's a message in it.

It's a loss, but defense had winning effort - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 20, 2004 - That a defensive struggle probably was on tap Sunday became evident quickly. It also meant the margin for error was slim. And when that very mistake came on a late fumble on a handoff exchange between Jake Plummer and Quentin Griffin for the Broncos in the fourth quarter, it essentially negated a performance by the Denver defense that, save for a lack of takeaways Sunday, was dominant.

Not moving chains helps cost Broncos the game - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 20, 2004 - The postmortem on the Broncos offensive performance reads like an autopsy: A fumble might have been the cause of death, but an inability to convert third downs was the disease. Denver went 6-for-18 in those instances on an afternoon in which it held a 356-176 advantage in yardage and 20-8 edge in first downs.

Thorburn: Broncos revert to exhibition form on offense - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 20, 2004 - In his mind, Jason Elam made the field goal. Not just the one Denver's placekicker never got to try. Don't forget about that 52-yard attempt with 31 seconds left in the third quarter, which also would have given the Broncos the 9-7 lead they needed for a victory over the Jaguars on Sunday at ALLTEL Stadium. Thanks to a personal foul on Jacksonville right tackle John Henderson and a defensive holding penalty on linebacker Akin Ayodele, Jake Plummer and the boys actually had the offense close enough for what would have been Elam's game-winner/hat trick.

Game 2 Report - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 20, 2004 - It would be easier to name the goats, but ... Nate Jackson's 20-yard reception on Denver's final drive put the offense in position to win the game with a last-minute field goal. ... Byron Leftwich and Ernest Wilford connected on what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown for the second consecutive week. ... Denver's defense held Jacksonville to 176 net yards.

Broncos fumble away victory - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 20, 2004 - The starting quarterback led the offense down the field in the final seconds, had the team in position for the winning field goal and then botched a simple handoff exchange with the running back. Jake Plummer was asked if he had ever lost a game in such fashion, and as a former Arizona Cardinal he had to think about it. "I've lost a lot of games," Plummer said after Denver's 7-6 loss to Jacksonville at ALLTEL Stadium. "I'd have to go review. Maybe not quite like that. ... It's a shocker and it's tough to handle."

Broncos Notes - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 20, 2004 - Two games into the season and the Broncos are still wondering how good their defensive line can be with all of the Pro Bowl pieces in place at the same time. Sunday's game-time decision regarding Trevor Pryce was that the defensive end's lower back was bothering him too much to play. Veteran Marco Coleman got the start in Pryce's place and made two tackles.

Jaguars, Smith show no fear of Bailey - Jacksonville Times-Union - Bart Hubbuch
Mon., September 20, 2004 - Jimmy Smith hoped the Jaguars would throw on All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey, and they followed their wide receiver's wishes on Sunday. Smith led the Jaguars with three catches for 69 yards, all of which came when he was locked in his marquee matchup with Bailey in a 7-6 victory over the Denver Broncos. "I was glad we didn't shy away from him,'' Smith said. "In my mind, he's one of the best cover corners in the NFL, but I still thought we needed to play our game.''

Broncos-Jaguars Notebook: Struggles on Third Down - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 19, 2004 - The Jaguars' defense proved to be as good as advertised, proving tougher to move in than the nearby swamps straddling the Florida-Georgia border. While the Broncos outgained 356 yards to 176, amassed a 20-8 advantage in first downs and a 37:08-22:52 edge in time of possessions, the Jacksonville defense turned back the Broncos when it mattered most, limiting them to conversions on just six of 18 third downs.

Defense Dominates, But Broncos Fall in Game Unlike Any in 26 Years - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 19, 2004 - Six of the Broncos' starting 22 players weren't even alive the last time Denver played in a game like Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. One has to go back to Oct. 22, 1978 -- back in the heyday of the Orange Crush defense -- to find an occasion in which the Broncos allowed so few points and yet still lost. That day, the Broncos fell to the Baltimore Colts at the late Memorial Stadium by the exact same 7-6 count -- marking the last time the Broncos allowed so few points in a defeat.

Last-Minute Turnover Crushes Broncos - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 19, 2004 - For a split-second, Quentin Griffin had a chance to save the game. In the furious, anarchic scramble for the loose football that followed the muffed handoff between quarterback Jake Plummer and Griffin, the second-year back had the first crack at the ball, diving on it as it squirted loose. But as his 195 pounds landed on the ball, it popped free again, sealing the game-clinching turnover in perhaps the most excruciating of circumstances -- when the Broncos were one play away from sending a historically accurate kicker out to provide the winning points. "That happens one in a million times," safety John Lynch said.

Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars - DenverBroncos.com
Sunday, September 19, 2004 - Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated Charlie Adams, Sam Brandon, Cornell Green, Garrison Hearst, Triandos Luke, Trevor Pryce and Lenny Walls while Matt Mauck was named the third quarterback. In place of Pryce, Marco Coleman earned the start, his second of the season. The game began with a 78 degree temperature and 59 percent humidity. Denver won the toss and received the opening kickoff.

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