Sweet Dreams Vanish - Nightmare at Invesco Field

Champ Bailey said it best after last week's debacle, "just roll with it, they better be coming after me next week." A disastrous game for Bailey doesn't crimp the Champ's style or confidence. The mark of a truly outstanding player in the NFL. Nicknamed the "shutdown" cornerback, Champ started today's game optimistic about the Broncos-Falcon showdown.

The first series of plays resulted in a Bronco touchdown 9:25 into the first quarter. An obviously amped Bronco squad was ready to demonstrate to all comer's that last week was a fluke. No repeats, thank-you-very-much! The Falcons answered with a field goal only to see Jake Plummer throw a pass to Rod Smith who ran 80 yards for the longest touchdown in his career.

Michael Vick the Falcon's quarterback and another tremendous NFL player came ready to play after the Falcon's embarrassing 56-10 loss last week to Kansas City. Vick can kill you with the run and the pass. Arguably the most exciting quarterback to watch in the NFL, Vick can do-it-all and frequently does. Today was no different, quickly dominating the field as no "one" Bronco can defend against his speed and ability to scramble. Vick still struggling with coach Jim Mora Jr.'s version of the West Coast offense was all-over-it today, leading the Falcons to a 20-14 lead at halftime, and a guaranteed tongue lashing from coach Mike Shanahan in the locker room during the break.

Shanahan commented after the game " that despite Bronco mistakes, he had to hand the victory to Vicks. He's an outstanding athlete and when he's on there's just no stopping him. He can run, reads the defense and can throw off balance and on the run. Frankly he's just really tough to stop."

Luther Ellis, Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Broncos stated he "was a bit in awe of the Atlanta quarterback after tonight. You know it's one thing to watch him on film and certainly I was aware of his talent, but watching him tonight when he was totally on his game was amazing! His athletic ability and speed are hard to match. It's just unbelievable the way he can cut back, run and throw. You know you have to read him so that you can get out front and position yourself to make the tackle. Then all of a sudden he cuts back and moves in the opposite direction leaving you in the dust."

Both teams came to play hard and by the third quarter with the score 34-14 Falcons, it was looking as though Atlanta's resolve was indeed too much for the Broncos to handle despite the impressive start. With 55 passes and 3 interceptions, Plummer's offense simply wasn't up to the task. Atlanta virtually shut the Bronco running game down, holding fullback Reuben Droughns to less than 50 yards and Denver's passing game simply isn't good enough to win without the run.

Temperatures on and off the field dropped dramatically during the 3rd quarter. A light snow falling and Bronco fans noticeably quiet, watched their dreams of a comeback slump along with the weather.

Darius Watts inability to score with a dead-on pass from Plummer which slipped through his hands and bounces off the grass back into his hands, sealed the Broncos fate. How about a Falcon run-back in the closing minutes for icing on the cake?

Another controversy likely to follow today's game was an obvious chop block hit on John Lynch. On purpose or not? You decide. No doubt Shanahan would have a few choice sound bites full of righteous indignation for the media. Instead Shanahan choose to wait until tomorrow after he's viewed the film to comment. The question no one dared ask, "How's it feel coach to almost lose one of your best players to a dirty hit?"

Sweet dreams? I think not. It was more a nightmare at Invesco Field this Halloween night.

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