Falcons soar over Broncos, 41-28

A record day for Jake Plummer and the Broncos' offense meant nothing as quarterback Michael Vick led the Atlanta Falcons to a 41-28 win over Denver. Penalties, interceptions and mistakes doomed the Broncos even as they amassed 576 yards of offense. Denver's record falls to 5-3 and they are now tied with San Diego for the AFC West Division lead.

Haunted house - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, November 01, 2004 - On a dark, cold Sunday afternoon, when the majority of the crowd left early, the Broncos saw their problems mount and their once-substantial division lead disappear. In their worst loss at Invesco Field at Mile High in 14 games, the Broncos went from an efficient first-quarter team to a bumbling, mistake-filled unit in the final three quarters in a loss to the Michael Vick-led Atlanta Falcons, 41-28.

Scary thought: Plummer is Griese - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, November 01, 2004 - The trick to the best Halloween costumes is scary simplicity. In a 41-28 loss to Atlanta, Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer came dressed as Brian Griese. Can you say boo? As Plummer trotted off the field Sunday at a frighteningly empty Invesco Field at Mile High, the few die-hards who remained in the stands said boo. And worse. "Plummer, you (stink)!" two critics masquerading as fans loudly shouted at the losing quarterback. Which brings us to the $31 million question, one coach Mike Shanahan must answer in the final eight games of a Denver season that suddenly has taken a very scary turn for the worse. Is Plummer the quarterback Shanahan wants to trust to restore his fading reputation as a mastermind?

Plummer takes bad with good - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, November 01, 2004 - Jake Plummer's split personality was on full display Sunday during the Broncos' 41-28 loss to Atlanta. The good Jake threw for 499 yards, more than any other quarterback in Broncos history. The good Jake chucked four touchdown passes, tying his career high. The good Jake completed nine passes to Rod Smith for 208 yards, making Smith only the second Bronco to have a 200-yard receiving day. But on this Halloween, the bad Jake reared up to haunt the Broncos.

This season starting to look too familiar - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, November 01, 2004 - Well, Champ Bailey told us somebody was going to have a problem Sunday. Little did we know. Michael Vick grabbed most of the "SportsCenter" moments, but it wasn't just him. Far from it. The Broncos got a taste of double jeopardy in their 41-28 loss to Atlanta. They didn't just wear themselves out chasing Vick. They got smashed in the mouth along the way. "We started fast, and from there we just didn't get the job done," Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said. How bad was it? The last time the Broncos allowed 40 points at home, the South Standers threw everything but the half-barrel at Wade Phillips. That was the day - Sept. 18, 1994 - when Phillips was unofficially fired, to be replaced four months later by Mike Shanahan. It was a different time, a different team, even a different stadium Sunday.

Team cries foul after hit takes out safety Lynch - Denver Post
Monday, November 01, 2004 - Last week, the story of the NFL was the backlash over a cut block delivered by George Foster on Cincinnati's Tony Williams. Sunday, the Broncos were upset over what they said was a dirty play on defensive leader John Lynch. The standout veteran safety was injured late in the first quarter. He suffered a bruised right hip and did not return. Lynch, who will have an MRI exam today, did not speak to reporters after the game. His replacement, Nick Ferguson, had plenty to say. The Broncos were upset that Atlanta receiver Brian Finneran hit Lynch after the play. "It should have bean a penalty; it was cheap," Ferguson said. "You don't do that to a guy. It could be a career-ending injury. Everyone saw it." After being attended to by the Broncos' training staff, Lynch bolted toward the Atlanta huddle. He also talked to an official before leaving. Finneran was not penalized. Finneran was not available for comment.

Smith doesn't do any talking - Denver Post - Irv Moss
Monday, November 01, 2004 - Everyone wanted to talk about Rod Smith's day Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High except Rod Smith. Teammate Ashley Lelie became the chief spokesman, talking about Smith's career-best 208 yards receiving, which included an 80-yard touchdown strike. In the Broncos record books, Smith's 208 yards are second only to Shannon Sharpe's 214 yards (against Kansas City on Oct. 20, 2002). "It was great because of the way he played," Lelie said. "It wasn't like it just fell into his hands. He was giving his all on every single play. You take your hat off to the way he played.

Vick's intentions weren't masked - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 1, 2004 - Horrors of horrors, the Denver Broncos opened the door Sunday and discovered Michael Vick was dressed as . . . Michael Vick. And that, for any NFL defense, is never a good thing. "Are you serious?" Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey asked. "Is there anybody else like him? . . . We got his best game - by far." Bottled up for much of the year in the ball-control offense of first-year coach Jim Mora, Vick arrived with authority Sunday, pulling the Atlanta Falcons along for the ride in a 41-28 victory against the Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Vick's intentions weren't masked - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
November 1, 2004 - In a performance highlighted by unprecedented statistics for Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith, one play seemed all too familiar to the Atlanta Falcons. When the Broncos veteran hauled in an 80-yard scoring strike from Jake Plummer late in the first quarter of Denver's 41-28 loss against Atlanta on Sunday, it marked a pair of milestones for Smith.

Flags flying, Broncos continue to shoot their own foot - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 1, 2004 - It was all yellow. Whenever Denver gained momentum in the second half Sunday, out came the penalty flags to quickly extinguish it. Several of the calls proved critical, none more than defensive holding on Broncos cornerback Lenny Walls after Denver had appeared to limit Atlanta to a three-and-out on the opening series of the second half.

Falcons fly by Broncos - Daily Camera - Chris Shelton
November 1, 2004 - Drive-killing penalties and three Jake Plummer interceptions Sunday didn't exactly erase Denver's memories of an embarassing Monday Night Football loss. Falling 41-28 to Atlanta at Invesco Field only served up another disconcerting setback on the heels of Monday's 23-10 prime time loss at hapless Cincinnati.

Thorburn: Suddenly, it's gut-check time for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 1, 2004 - If the NFL used the BCS system, the Broncos would already be eliminated from Super Bowl consideration, despite leading the Big 12 North-like AFC West. Denver followed up its debacle against the lowly Bengals with another puzzling performance Sunday against a Falcons team that didn't score an offensive touchdown the previous week, but did allow eight rushing touchdowns.

Vick-timized - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, October 31, 2004 - The inevitable questions flew at Al Wilson fast and furious, arriving with the same consistency and ability to pierce as Falcons quarterback Michael Vick had displayed in the previous few hours, when he darted through Denver's defense for 252 passing yards and 115 more on the ground. As the team's defensive captain, Wilson knew the queries were coming. How had a defense that was No. 1 in the league just a fortnight ago manage to yield 467 yards and 34 of the 41 points the Falcons put up -- the most ever allowed by the Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons - DenverBroncos.com
Sunday, October 31, 2004 - Prior to kickoff Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated Triandos Luke, Tatum Bell, Jeff Shoate, Jashon Sykes, Cornell Green, Darius Holland, Trevor Pryce and Raylee Johnson. The Broncos won the coin toss and received the game's opening kickoff.

Broncos-Falcons Notebook: Smith's Big Grab - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, October 31, 2004 - Atlanta Falcons. Deep post route. Rod Smith. Sound familiar? Granted, the stadium, the quarterback, the side of the field and even the Falcons uniforms had changed. But the idea of Smith sprinting up field, cutting inside and outsprinting a Falcons defensive back for a deep reception did not, and the result was the Broncos' longest play from scrimmage since Oct. 20, 2002, Smith's longest career reception and an 80-yard score that gave the Broncos a 14-3 lead. In Super Bowl XXXIII, it was safety Eugene Robinson who was left grasping at Smith. This time, with the safety drawn to the other side of the field by Ashley Lelie, it was cornerback Jason Webster whom Smith eluded by one step for the score.

Shooting Themselves in the Foot - DenverBroncos.com - James Merilatt
Sunday, October 31, 2004 - On Sunday, the Denver Broncos started off beating the Atlanta Falcons. Then, they started beating themselves. After jumping on top 14-3 in the first quarter, a combination of ill-timed penalties and turnovers undid Denver, leading to a 41-28 setback. And it all started out so well. The Broncos took the opening kickoff and then marched 69 yards on 10 plays to jump ahead 7-0. After Atlanta kicked a field goal to cut the lead to four points, Denver answered in a hurry, as quarterback Jake Plummer found wide receiver Rod Smith for an 80-yard touchdown strike on the team's next play from scrimmage. It was the longest regular-season scoring catch of Smith's career, a play that tied him with Shannon Sharpe atop the franchise's all-time touchdown receptions list.

Offense, Plummer Prolific But Doomed By Errors - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, October 31, 2004 - Never had the Broncos gained more yards than the 567 they amassed Sunday afternoon. Never had a Broncos quarterback passed for more yardage than Jake Plummer did in throwing for 499 yards while completing 31 of 55 tosses. Yet a combination of turnovers and penalties rendered those numbers irrelevant. Denver commmitted nine penalties for 70 yards -- with five of the penalties and 45 of the yards coming during a six-minute, 45-second stretch of the third quarter when the Broncos trailed 27-14. During that run, the Broncos offense went to the line of scrimmage for 13 snaps. Flags nullified five of them and forced the Broncos into second-and-17, first-and-15, second-and-12, first-and-15 and first-and-21.

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