Monday, December 13, 2004 - A week of turmoil and chaos led to more of the same for the Broncos on Sunday. Somehow, the game - expected by many to be an easy kill for the frustrated and lathered-up Broncos - resulted in a too-close-for-comfort 20-17 victory over the 2-11 Dolphins, capped by a game-winning field goal by Jason Elam. But it won't be remembered so much for Elam's 16th game-winning field goal, or because it kept the Broncos playoff hopes alive. Denver (8-5) is tied with Baltimore for the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos, who play at Kansas City on Sunday, will win the spot if they win their final three games.
Plummer's gesture suggests he's losing his cool - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, December 13, 2004 - If the body language of Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer is any indication, Denver football fans are no longer No. 1. On his home field, Plummer gave the finger to a heckler in the stands. And the Mile High Salute has a whole new meaning. "There was a specific thing said that got in my dome," Plummer said Sunday, after losing his poise but not the game to Miami. "I play with a lot of passion, and sometimes it gets the best of me." Read between the lines, Broncos fans: The relationship between this town and its favorite team has taken a nasty turn for the worse.
Baker doesn't put best foot, or shoe, forward in debut - Denver Post
Monday, December 13, 2004 - Newly acquired Broncos punter-kicker Jason Baker wasn't the happiest person in the locker room. His first mistake Sunday was bringing artificial turf shoes to Invesco Field at Mile High, a grass field. That didn't help his kickoffs, as most of them knuckled their way downfield. One found its way out of bounds, resulting in a penalty. His punting was a little better, with a 39.6-yard average on five kicks. "The punting situation doesn't look too bad," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "The kickoff situation doesn't look too good. I think I could compete with that."
Taunts trouble for QB - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, December 13, 2004 - Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer apologized to fans, the Denver organization and his teammates for losing his cool Sunday and making an obscene gesture to a fan that was captured by television cameras. CBS cameras were on Plummer after he was intercepted at 6:10 of the first quarter of the Broncos' 20-17 win over Miami. Plummer was sitting on the bench. He was caught on camera raising his right hand behind his head and making the gesture. The game commentators did not draw attention to it.
At the end of the day, defense got the job done - Denver Post - Chris Dempsey
Monday, December 13, 2004 - The Broncos defense did not mistake Sunday for one of its better performances, but for one night it closed its eyes and focused on the win. "We need to clean up some things," defensive end Reggie Hayward said. "But overall, we did what it took to win the game." It took a last-minute defensive stop for Denver to preserve its 20-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. With 2:50 left in the game, the Broncos needed to halt the Dolphins' last-ditch effort to tie or possibly win the game, and they did.
Plummer crosses coach's thin line - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, December 13, 2004 - Jake Plummer's biggest risk Sunday came not after his most crucial mistake, but before it. After throwing the interception that could have cost the Broncos their season, Plummer walked back to the bench not by way of Wichita, but in front of Mike Shanahan. Talk about a Jerry Springer moment waiting to happen. With nostrils flaring, neck veins bulging and eyes the size of silver dollars, Shanahan appeared ready to go postal, to make Woody Hayes seem like Tom Landry, the most stoic coach that ever was. But unlike Plummer, who earlier flashed the middle-finger salute to a heckler, Shanahan didn't snap. Instead, he spewed. And let the record show his message was no less obscene than Plummer's.
Up and down day for Denver backs - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, December 13, 2004 - The Broncos had just survived a weird, weird week. First, former tight end Shannon Sharpe blasted quarterback Jake Plummer and coach Mike Shanahan on a national radio show. Then came the wild, unsubstantiated rumors that Shanahan had been offered the University of Notre Dame coaching job. Sunday, that weirdness infected the Broncos' running backs in Denver's ugly 20-17 victory over Miami. Reuben Droughns started the game, fumbled twice on the opening drive and was unceremoniously benched in the first quarter.
Final drive seals failure - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
Monday, December 13, 2004 - For most quarterbacks, it was the perfect setup: Two minutes and 33 seconds to go, a short field, the wind at your back. A touchdown wins it, a field goal sends it to overtime. But for Miami's A.J. Feeley, it was anything but perfect Sunday.
Escape claws - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 13, 2004 - Sticks and stones nothing, apparently the words did hurt them. After a week of answering a legion of critics - including several stinging salvos from former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe - responding to rumors about coach Mike Shanahan's vocational future and just trying to convince anyone willing to listen they still believed they were in the playoff chase, the Denver Broncos had had enough. At least quarterback Jake Plummer, anyway. And after a first-quarter interception Sunday in what became a teeth-gnashing 20-17 victory against the now 2-11 Miami Dolphins, Plummer turned and gave the one-finger salute to a heckling fan in clear view of a network television audience.
Elam, Broncos still kicking - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
December 13, 2004 - Mike Shanahan didn't really care for what one of the key players who helped him unlock the Super Bowl mystery had to say this week. When another key player from those late-1990s teams had something to say Sunday, Shanahan was more than happy to listen.
Right Choice, Right Time - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Monday, December 13, 2004 - Situations change with the moment like the gust of a wind. That is the most succinct, but also accurate, explanation of why the Broncos chose to go for it on fourth-and-6 from the 34-yard-line with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter, and then kick a field goal with fourth-and-8 from the 32 some five minutes and 24 seconds later. The decisions proved to be wise. When the Broncos bypassed a field-goal try on fourth-and-6, Jake Plummer found Jeb Putzier for 19 yards, sustaining the drive. A Plummer interception two plays later halted the march, but when they settled on the field goal with 2:55 remaining, Jason Elam drilled the 50-yard kick, giving him the 16th game-tying or game-winning field goal in his career.
Injury Curtails Bell's Breakout Day - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - One play encapsulated the day when rookie running back Tatum Bell enjoyed his first extensive action in the National Football League. It was just 16 seconds into the second half, after Al Wilson's interception set the Broncos up at the Miami 36-yard-line. Bell sprinted left, cut across the field and then dashed up the left sideline, ahead of Miami's defenders, the third touchdown of the game within his grasp. And then, as if a ghost of the since-departed Mile High had wiggled its way into INVESCO Field at Mile High, he tumbled to the ground.
First-Day Jitters - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - Jason Baker eventually came through in his first game for the Broncos by drilling a kickoff high and deep to the Miami 5-yard-line with just 2:55 left in the game. But until that point, Baker's day was a struggle. Baker's first three kickoffs in blue and orange were anything but extraordinary, not rising very high off the ground and eventually squibbing their way towards Miami kickoff returner Wes Welker.
A Win's a Win - DenverBroncos.com - James Merilatt
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - When asked by a reporter after the Broncos-Dolphins game asked if a win is a win, whether it comes the way you want it to or not, Mike Shanahan had a very simple answer. "I think you said it best," the head coach of the Broncos replied. And it was easy to spot the sincerity in his voice. After two straight agonizing losses, defeats at the hands of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers that looked like they were going to be Denver victories, it was nice for everybody in the Broncos locker room to finally come out on top. It was a relief to simply get back on the winning track.
Broncos-Dolphins Notebook: Bell's Big Day Ends Early - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - For just over two quarters, Tatum Bell's day was nothing short of brilliant. He had 123 yards on only 17 carries, demonstrating the kind of acceleration that he had not been able to display consistently since the offseason mini-camps, before a run of injuries that began with his first full day of training-camp practice. He had the Broncos' two first-half touchdowns, both of which saw him zip through a hole and race barely touched into the end zone. Until midway through the third quarter, the only tarnish on Bell's day came when he dropped a potential touchdown pass in the third quarter, booting a bootleg pass from Jake Plummer when he was wide open in the right side of the end zone.
Denver Broncos vs. Miami Dolphins - DenverBroncos.com
Sunday, December 12, 2004 - Prior to kickoff, Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated the following players: Garrison Hearst, Jeff Shoate, Sam Brandon, Jashon Sykes, Cornell Green, Darius Holland, Trevor Pryce and Luther Elliss. A change in the starting lineup had Cooper Carlisle starting at right guard in place of Dan Neil. The start was the third of Carlisle's career and it was the first time Neil had not started a game since his rookie season in 1997. He had started the last 104 games that he had played. The game began under sunny skies with a temperature of 47 degrees. Denver won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff.
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