Broncos back in control of own destiny

The Broncos' big 37-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, coupled with losses by Baltimore and Jacksonville, has put Denver back in a position to secure the final AFC Wild Card Berth. Read about Denver's win in today's news reports.

Playoff picture bright - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 27, 2004 - They have crunched snow underfoot, braved bitter cold and been doused by rain over the past month. But during the weekend, the perfect storm hit - and the Denver Broncos happily were in the middle of it. Everything fell right for the Broncos in a span of less than 24 hours. Bleak morphed into geeked as the Broncos (9-6) find themselves back in control of their playoff fate.

Broncos' renewed passion helps keep hope alive - Rocky Mountain News
December 27, 2004 - With 15 games off the regular-season docket and only one remaining to determine their playoff fate, the Broncos still have some rough edges. They aren't nearly the team they need to be inside the 20-yard line, still make too many mistakes when they can least afford them and haven't proved they consistently can rush a passer with an experienced offensive line in front of him.

Broncos take control - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, December 27, 2004 - This holiday weekend couldn't have been merrier for the Broncos. The team got nearly everything it could have wanted for Christmas in a stunning turnaround from a week earlier. After heading into the second-to-last game of the season with no control of their playoff destiny, the Broncos will gear up for the final week with their playoff hopes firmly in their grasp. If the Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday, they will make the playoffs as a wild-card team for the second consecutive season and the third time in six years since winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

Staying alive - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - With their fast start to the season evaporated and their playoff hopes fading, the Broncos' Christmas week theme was one game at a time. Cliche and boring, but effective. The approach worked Saturday as the Broncos overcame recent problems on both sides of the ball and controlled the game in a 37-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans on a frigid holiday night. Denver improved to 9-6 as it heads into its regular-season finale against Indianapolis next Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Broncos entered the game having lost three of their past four games and five of their past eight.

Overrated Broncos roll Titans' "B" team - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - The Broncos beat the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. But then, isn't that what good teams are supposed to do, beat bad teams? Forget the Titans. They're history. They listed 18 players on their midweek injury report. Not only that, they were one of three teams not to have a Pro Bowl selection. The other two were on Nebraska's nonconference schedule. The Titans' "B" team never had a chance. In a drastic departure from the previous eight weeks, the Broncos made it look easy. They scored a touchdown when Tennessee had 12 men on the field.

Red-zone offense keeps tripping at 20 - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - Coach Mike Shanahan is 52 years old. Quarterback Jake Plummer is 30. Miles the Mascot is 3. The Broncos aren't getting better. We're all growing older. Denver beat the Tennessee Tin Men 37-16. The game was full of Christmas laughter. Ho, ho, ho. But anybody who found this victory tasty probably also goes back for second helpings of eggnog, fruitcake and mincemeat pie. After finishing with a 10-6 record in 2003, Shanahan radically changed the look, the attitude and the style of the Broncos, but not the luck of the team.

A group effort for D - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - It wasn't a prediction so much as it was a heartfelt promise from the two leaders of the Broncos' secondary. After the secondary was roasted like a Christmas chestnut last Sunday in Kansas City, safety John Lynch and cornerback Champ Bailey talked some big, brave talk in the days leading up to Saturday night's must-win game against the Titans. "We are kind of embarrassed about what happened in Kansas City," Lynch said last week on the day he was elected to his sixth Pro Bowl. "But we still have something to play for. I think we will respond. I know we will respond." And the Broncos did exactly that in their 37-16 victory.

With renewed prowess, Droughns hires new agent - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - After agreeing to terms with a high-powered agent, Reuben Droughns played like he had early in his reign as the Broncos starting tailback. For the second consecutive year, a Denver running back has hired agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent him. After a meeting Friday night in Nashville, Droughns hired the Miami-based agent. "It's something that I think will be good for my career," Droughns said. "I have to evaluate myself. I think I'm becoming an established player and he is obviously an established agent."

Heat from Denver's defense cools off Volek - Denver Post - Chip Cirillo
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - Billy Volek limped off the field Saturday night way short of his third consecutive 400-yard passing game. Last weekend the Tennessee quarterback became the fourth player in NFL history to post consecutive 400-yard games, joining Dan Marino, Dan Fouts and Phil Simms. The Broncos held him to 8-of-20 passing for 111 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns in a 37-16 rout of the Titans. "They played more zone than we expected," Volek said. "We thought they'd play man-on-man, put seven guys in the box. We couldn't get into a rhythm."

Holiday victory - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 25, 2004 - The Denver Broncos tore the trimmings and the trappings off their Christmas night game Saturday and were lucky enough to find both what they wanted as well as what they needed — a rejuvenated Jake Plummer and a hard-charging defense. And while they don't know much more about their playoff fate than they did when they arrived in Music City, the Broncos do know they at least did their part with a 37-16 win over the Titans in the Coliseum.

Christmas cheer for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 26, 2004 - What did Mike Shanahan's wandering eyes see? Tennessee's Billy Volek and Drew Bennett finally performing like the undrafted players that they are instead of the Hall of Famers they appeared to be the previous three weeks. The league's dynamic December duo only connected on two completions totaling 26 yards. John Lynch and Champ Bailey performing like the Pro Bowl players that they are after being named to the AFC's all-star team last week. Lynch broke up a pass in the end zone and tipped another that was intercepted by Kelly Herndon. Bailey provided Bennett with blanket coverage on a cold night. Jake Plummer playing his best game in seven weeks. The Snake had a solid road game late in the season, completing 21 of 26 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Thorburn: Broncos may be haunted by ghosts of recent past - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 26, 2004 - Where was this effort a week ago? The Denver Broncos spoiled Christmas in Tennessee with a dominant 37-16 victory over the depleted Titans on Saturday night at the Coliseum. Too bad this team didn't show up at Arrowhead Stadium. The must-win keeps the Broncos in the AFC's wild-card race by the hair of Jake Plummer's chin, but a loss by Jacksonville today against Houston or next weekend at Oakland — in addition to a Denver win on Jan. 2 against Indianapolis — will be required to get in the playoff door.

Knockout Blows - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - Denver's defense had six days to recover from being knocked out by the Kansas City Chiefs for 45 points and 410 yards from scrimmage. Defensive end Reggie Hayward barely needed six minutes to recover from being knocked out on a first-quarter play. But both Hayward and the defense as a whole succeeded in recovering from both knockdowns, and the result was a dominant Christmas night performance in the 37-16 win at Tennessee. It was the Titans' worst-ever home loss since moving to Nashville. Denver's defense stepped onto the Christmas night, national-television spotlight with chip securely in place on shoulder.

'Hollywood's Back!' - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 26, 2004 - Following the second of his three consecutive 100-yard games in October, the Broncos' starting running back ceased to be known simply as Reuben Droughns. From that day forward, his moniker among teammates was "Hollywood," a pseudonym bestowed upon him for the gaggle of cameras that followed him in the locker room and the broad grin that caused photojournalists to reach for their wide-angle lenses. Yet when Droughns and rookie runner Tatum Bell jointly arrived at their side-by-side lockers on Wednesday of this week, the situation changed. The cameras and phalanx of reporters surged towards Bell, shunning the Broncos' 1,000-yard back. While Droughns remained the starter, it was Bell who broke forth with the big runs of the previous two weeks; it was Bell who accounted for half of the Broncos' touchdowns in their three December games to date.

Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans -
Saturday, December 25, 2004 - For this special Christmas night contest Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated the following players: Chris Young, Kyle Johnson, Jashon Sykes, Dan Neil, Tim Stuber, Tyson Clabo, Trevor Pryce and Demetrin Veal. It was a clear, but chilly 29 degrees in Nashville for the night game. The Broncos won the coin toss and received the game's opening kickoff.

Broncos-Titans Notebook: Offense in Balance -
Saturday, December 25, 2004 - Balance doesn't always come in the form of calling equal totals of runs and passes. Sometimes it takes shape in how those plays are distributed. Such was the nature of the Broncos' offensive output in Saturday's 37-16 win over the Tennessee Titans at The Coliseum, as they amassed 496 yards without a single 100-yard runner or receiver. Running back Reuben Droughns was the only back or receiver with over 100 yards from scrimmage, tallying 121 on 91 rushing yards and 30 via two receptions. Six Broncos caught at least two passes and four had at least four carries. Much of the credit for that distribution belonged to quarterback Jake Plummer, who shrugged off the struggles of the previous three weeks to throw for 303 yards on just 26 attempts, with just five incompletions mixed within.

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