Broncos gear up for playoff drive

The Denver Broncos will be sending playoff ticket applications out soon, but there's a lot of work to be done by the team before fans will be able to use those tickets. Read about some of the unsung heroes who hope to bring a playoff game home in today's news reports.

Johnson settles down after bouncing around - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - Fullback Kyle Johnson's funky end-zone dances are a thing of beauty - at least in the eyes of Kenneth Johnson, his father and biggest fan. "It is his Broncos Dance, and I named it for him," Kenneth Johnson said Tuesday from his home in Plainfield, N.J. But Kyle Johnson, who scored the first two touchdowns of his career in the past two games, doesn't want to be known solely for his end-zone gyrations. That would not befit the blue-collar fullback, who was cut by three NFL teams and had three stints on the Broncos' practice squad last season.

1,000 in Droughns' sights - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - Broncos tailback Reuben Droughns needs 156 yards rushing against Oakland on Sunday night to reach 1,000 yards in seven starts. There are four NFL players with 1,000 yards, but none accomplished the feat as early as their seventh start. Droughns, who became the primary tailback Oct. 10 against Carolina, has five 100-plus-yard rushing games in six starts. He rushed for 176 yards against Oakland, which has the No. 25-ranked rush defense in the NFL, in a 31-3 victory Oct. 17. Droughns has more rushing yards than the entire Oakland team, which is last in the NFL.

Miscues, losses wearing on Turner - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - Norv Turner took no solace in the fact his Oakland Raiders played the San Diego Chargers much closer this time. In Turner's mind, a loss is a loss. The Raiders had a chance to win Sunday's setback until the end, but the same problems plagued them in the 23-17 loss again: missed chances and mistakes. It's wearing on Turner, though the coach rarely lets his emotions show. When Turner took over last winter to replace fired coach Bill Callahan, there were high expectations for a timely turnaround. Instead, the Raiders are 3-7 for just the fourth time since 1964 and have lost six of seven.

No 'I' in these Broncos - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 24, 2004 - It was all right there in living, 3-D color Sunday, tucked in the corner of the end zone of the Louisiana Superdome. The image told the story of the Denver Broncos' season thus far, this particular chapter manufactured by Kyle Johnson. Johnson, having just scored his second touchdown of the season, broke out his now signature ride 'em cowboy dance. "And Kyle's become a great player for us in certain situations," Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said. "He's a great kid, he's working hard, and if he keeps dancing, that means he's scoring touchdowns, so I don't care how he dances."

Thorburn: Don't bank on playoffs for Broncos just yet - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 24, 2004 - The Broncos, and other contenders, have been given permission by the NFL to print/mail invoices for season-ticket holders to purchase playoff tickets. Stop the presses. Sure, at this point the postseason picture looks pretty good for Denver, which improved to 7-3 after an impressive 34-13 victory over New Orleans on Sunday, but it's far from clear. We're through 10 weeks of the season and San Diego isn't showing any signs of surrendering.

Raiders could run the table in reverse, lose all - Oakland Tribune - Jerry McDonald
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - There was the usual mix of dejection and defiance, with a little bravado on the side. Safety Ray Buchanan talked of having to "run the table" in order to secure a 9-7 record for a chance at the playoffs. Linebacker Danny Clark believed the Raiders were very close to being the kind of team they all envision. Athletes are programmed to think that way, having conquered most every sports obstacle thrown their way to reach the top of their profession. From the outside looking in, the view is much different. After a 23-17 loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers, Oakland appears to be far more likely to run the table in reverse rather than full speed ahead. Look at the remaining schedule, and 3-13, although not a probability, is hardly a stretch based on what we're seeing.

Bailey, Droughns Nominated for NFL Awards - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Two Broncos players are up for awards that you can help them earn this Thanksgiving week. Cornerback Champ Bailey earned a nomination for the Levitra Play of the Week by virtue of his acrobatic end-zone interception during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 34-13 win over the New Orleans Saints. Running back Reuben Droughns was also nominated for an award, the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. Droughns earned the nod for his 166-yard performance against the Saints, a day that included a 51-yard touchdown scamper on the Broncos' first offensive snap.

Fantasy Review: Week 11 - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Watch out for Reuben Droughns this coming Sunday. Recent history says that the Broncos will emphasize the ground game if at all possible this coming Sunday. The Broncos have run for 190, 193 and 254 yards in their last three games against the Raiders, and have a collective run-to-pass ratio of 136 to 66 in those games -- a ratio of 2.1-to-1. Two of those three games were played in damp, muddy conditions. The forecast for Sunday night? More precipitation, this time in the form of snow showers. But the difference-makers in fantasy football could be the emerging players from teams who started slowly and now sit in precarious positions where one or two losses could practically eliminate them from the postseason picture.

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