Coming into the game Reuben Droughns had 50 carries for 127 yards. After winning 20-17, Droughns was named the player of the game and also ranking the 9th most rushing yards by a Bronco in a single regular season game, (10th most in any game-including playoffs).
Both Droughns and wide-receiver Rod Smith kept the game alive by Droughns rushing twice for 36 yards and catching a 5-yard pass. Quarterback Jake Plummer congratulated Droughns, "He was awesome today. He was getting contact 10-15 yards downfield and still running through guys. I knew that he would do well, but I didn't know it would be 190-some yards."
Carolina Panther's safety Mike Minter learned something new today: watch Reuben Droughns and watch him closely. "We knew he was a fullback and ran hard on kickoff returns. We watched a lot of film on him and knew that he was tough. We knew he was hard to tackle, he's a fullback. He did a great job today. It seemed like he was getting into the secondary on every single play. We've got to be more physical stopping the run. We have to start with that. We were in the right calls, we're just not executing. Our offense played well, they did what they had to do. But we can't give up 20 points because we didn't feel like we should give up 20 points."
Not expecting to be surrounded by reporters at the podium after the game, Droughn's stated "God, this feels weird,…The rest of the guys played so well, obviously Jake threw up some big balls and everything, and Ashley Lelie, guys like that should be up here instead of me." Modesty is a great way to top off to the win against the Panthers. "I'm tired but I'm excited at the same time. The guys played so well. I mean, those guys are really good, they were in the Super Bowl last year, so that was a big win." Droughns commented on the Panthers.
Smith also caught two passes for 35 yards and caught a pass for the 81st consecutive game, "I will never quit, and these guys know it. That play was just a basic example. I don't care if the guy was down or not. That's what these guys expect from me and I will never let them down." Rod Smith said in regards on his chase-down.
Ashley Lelie was also a key player today scoring a touchdown for 39 yards in the middle of the fourth quarter. "It was third-and-long and somebody needed to make a play. Coach (Shanahan) put us on go routes, and I got down there even with his (Carolina Panther cornerback Ricky Manning's) great coverage. Jake threw an outstanding ball and put it in the only place it could be for a touchdown. It was great coverage, but I knew I just had to make the play. It was him versus me and fortunately, Jake made the throw where I could get." Lelie stated.
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