After listening to a post-game monotone Mike Shanahan and a myriad of players' diatribe about how a win is a win and the fact that the team is still alive in the AFC playoff hunt, I came away with one startling conclusion.
You can put any type of spin on it you want, the Denver Broncos were lucky to escape with their lives, against a lowly Miami team that has managed to win only two games the entire season.
Two Jake Plummer interceptions, two Reuben Droughns fumbles, a dropped pass in the end zone from rookie Tatum Bell and before you know it the entire Broncos season comes down to a 50-yard Jason Elam field goal in the closing minutes.
"Sometimes things just don't work out, and you have to find a way to get it done," Shanahan tried to explain afterward.
"That's what I was proud of. We had some opportunities early and we turned the football over. Very seldom do you win when you are minus two in turnover ratio. If we can clean things up a little bit, then we'll have a chance to separate ourselves from the opponent."
Another performance like this one and don't be surprised if Denver finds themselves separated from the 2004 NFL playoffs.
THE PRESSURE WITH PLUMMER
Following a week of intense criticism from ex-teammate Shannon Sharpe and a bandwagon of local media and rabid fans, Jake Plummer had had enough.
Following his first interception of the game Plummer vented his anger with an extended middle finger, sent in the direction of the Invesco crowd seated directly behind the Broncos bench.
"I apologize for that to our fans, it was not directed towards our fans," Plummer explained. "One guy got in my head a little bit. I shouldn't be that way, but I'm an emotional guy. You guys watch the way I play, I play with a lot of passion. But I apologize to Mr. Bowlen, to our fans, to the entire staff, and our team."
THE POWER OF DROUGHNS
Despite two first quarter fumbles and only 62-rushing yards Reuben Droughns became the fifth Denver Broncos running back to gain more than 1000-yards in a season since 1995.
Droughns joins an exclusive group which includes Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Clinton Portis.
"Hats off to Reuben for coming back," said quarterback Jake Plummer. "He made a big run for us. But that's the type of guys we have, they go through adversity and fight through it and wait for their opportunities."
LIKELY OUT FOR THE SEASON
Is it just me or does Tatum Bell seem to be draped in a black cloud when it come to injuries.
First it was a broken finger during training camp, then came the bruised rib followed by today's third-degree separation of his shoulder.
With only three regular season games remaining, a separation with the severity of third-degree will more than likely sideline Bell for the remainder of the year.
Ever the optimist, the rookie downplayed his injury as best he could.
"I don't think that it's that serious," Bell said afterwards. ‘If I needed to go back [in], I could have gone back. It's just one of those things that happened. I'm not injury prone, but I just seemed to get these little nicks and bruises every other week or something. I just need to get treatment, keep lifting weights, and keep my body healthy."
THE BOTTOM LINE
With Tampa Bay's collapse in San Diego, the Broncos remain two games behind in the AFC West and are now forced to battle the Baltimore Ravens for the fourth and final position in the division's Wild Card race.
The home stretch features back to back road games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, finishing up with an Invesco Field closeout against the record-setting Peyton Manning and Indianapolis Colts.
Three teams with a combined record of 18-19 and the Broncos have to run the table to have even the slightest chance of snagging a post season slot.
Stranger things have happened, I just can remember when.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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