Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Nov.23

The Broncos' defense perhaps finally figured out the secret to causing some turnovers after picking off three passes in a win at New Orleans on Sunday. The Broncos had three interceptions in their first nine games before Sunday.

They had only nine interceptions in each of the past two seasons. But all of the frustration over not picking off passes was gone after taking advantage of Aaron Brooks' mistakes in the Louisiana Superdome.

New Orleans fell behind early, and then had to pass nearly every play in the final three quarters of the game. The Broncos were able to put some pressure on Brooks, and ended up with some rare interceptions.

"It was a situation where they had to throw the ball, they were down by so many points," said defensive end Reggie Hayward, who had one of Denver's three interceptions. "We just went after them. Aaron was throwing some bad passes and we were lucky to get our hands on them."

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey had the most impressive of the three interceptions. He came from across the end zone on a fourth and goal to pick off a Brooks pass, leaping to catch the ball and somehow getting both feet in bounds.

"He's just an amazing athlete," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said of Bailey's play.

Linebacker Al Wilson's interception was much easier, but it broke a long drought for the Broncos. Wilson stepped in front of an ill-advised underhanded throw by Brooks and returned it seven yards for a touchdown, the first defensive touchdown for the Broncos since the season opener in 2003.

The Broncos hope the turnovers they caused Sunday starts a trend. Denver was minus-7 in turnover ratio before Sunday, then were plus-4 against the Saints.

"We keep on talking about turnovers, and you can't commit turnovers and we didn't today, and we got a few," Shanahan said. "Hopefully we keep on working like that and we'll be out of the negative column (in turnover ratio)."


--S John Lynch returned to the lineup Sunday after missing one game with a stress fracture near his tailbone, and said he came out of the game feeling good. Lynch actually didn't play that much, because the Broncos' plan for the game was to play him in the base defensive package. Denver was rarely in its base package because the Saints passed the ball most of the game and Lynch wasn't used in nickel and dime packages.

"(There is) a little bit of soreness but that's to be expected," Lynch said. "I'll be ready to go full throttle next week."

--RB Reuben Droughns had 166 yards against the Saints, but coach Mike Shanahan wasn't all that pleased. Droughns had 106 yards on his first 10 carries in the first half, but only 18 carries for 60 yards after the half.

"Reuben didn't play one of his better games against New Orleans," Shanahan said. "He played a good game, a solid game, but it was not one of his better games. It just shows you what he is capable of doing when he puts one of his better games together."

--Cornerback Lenny Walls played most of the game as Denver's nickel cornerback, and played as well as he has all season. Walls has been slowed all season with ankle and shoulder injuries, but he might be ready to turn it on for the final six weeks of the season.

"I'm obviously feeling better than I felt because I haven't felt too good all season," Walls said. "I'm going to go out there and play my game and help this team."

--QB Jake Plummer hasn't thrown an interception in two games, and Shanahan praised his quarterback on Monday. Plummer threw two touchdowns and spread the ball around against New Orleans. He hit seven different receivers on Sunday.

--FB Kyle Johnson scored his second touchdown of the season on a 19-yard reception Sunday. Johnson saw his snaps increase at fullback once again as he is becoming a bigger part of the offense. Johnson is also a solid special teams player.

--WR Ashley Lelie is having a breakout season. He is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season and has six touchdowns after grabbing four in his first two years combined. All of Lelie's touchdowns are 30 yards or longer.

--CB Champ Bailey is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the league as he showed on Sunday. Bailey led the Broncos with 13 tackles, 11 of which were solo stops.

--DE Patrick Chukwurah, a reserve linebacker who plays end in passing situations, had his best game of the season on Sunday. Chukwurah's pressure forced Aaron Brooks into a pass that was intercepted by Al Wilson and returned for a touchdown, and Chukwurah had a sack later in the game.

Voice your opinion on our Broncos Hardcore Message Board

Mile High Huddle Top Stories