December 31, 2004 - Peyton Manning might not be the only record-setting quarterback playing at Denver on Sunday. With 188 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, Jake Plummer would set a single-season record for most passing yards by a Broncos quarterback, breaking John Elway's mark of 4,030 yards in 1993. Plummer had thrown for at least 3,000 yards only twice in his first seven seasons before 2004. But he is on the cusp of joining Elway as the second Broncos quarterback to cross the 4,000-yard threshold.
Legwold: Here are five not-so-easy ways to make a boy out of Manning - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 31, 2004 - It is the unanswered question of this NFL season, a riddle lost in a hail of touchdown passes launched by Peyton Manning's right arm. It's 49 of those touchdowns and counting. No player in the long history of professional football has done that - Manning passed Dan Marino on Sunday - and Manning still has a game remaining in Denver on Sunday to push even further into uncharted airspace with his 50th touchdown pass of the season. He's thrown long, short and in between. He's beaten man-to-man, zone and combination coverages all over the field. He's frazzled defensive linemen, harried linebackers and sent defensive backs to the headache powder all season. So, what exactly is a defense supposed to do with this guy? What else do Manning, Marino have in common besides passing records? No Super Bowl title - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 31, 2004 - Peyton Manning is all of 28 years old and already is digging in for what looks like an all-out assault on almost any passing record in the NFL's archive. He already is the first player to have thrown for at least 4,000 yards in six consecutive seasons. Of course, two years ago, he became the only quarterback to have done it in four consecutive seasons. He has set a single-season record for touchdown passes and still has a game remaining. He never has missed a start in seven seasons, and no player in the league's history has thrown for as many yards as Manning did in his first six seasons or in his first seven, either.
Broncos champ at the bit - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 31, 2004 - The Denver Broncos told Champ Bailey there would be days like this. Told him over and over again. Told him just before they slid an $18 million signing bonus across the table to him. "I know what it's about," Bailey said. "But I look at every game like it's my biggest challenge. That's just how I approach it. I know I'm usually going to get somebody's best effort." And when the Indianapolis Colts left the shattered remnants of the Broncos' 2003 season littered all over the football carpet inside the RCA Dome in January, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan decided he had to do something. In the wake of Peyton Manning's 22-for-26 passing effort for 377 yards and five touchdowns, for a perfect passer rating of 158.3, that something turned out to be the most drastic, most talked-about trade in decades.
Broncos' wall of protection - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Friday, December 31, 2004 - If, on this final day of 2004, Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer still has a spring in his step, he can thank his nifty feet. And his offensive line. Heading into Sunday's regular-season finale against Indianapolis, that line has allowed only 14 sacks, tied for second in the league with Green Bay behind the Colts' 13.
Crucial block announces Sapp's arrival at fullback - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, December 31, 2004 - Reuben Droughns was watching in the distance. He couldn't have been more proud. Cecil Sapp, the NFL fullback, had arrived. In the second quarter of the Broncos' 37-16 victory at Tennessee on Saturday night, Sapp made a devastating block to help tight end Jeb Putzier get extra yardage on a 34-yard catch to the Titans' 6-yard line. Three plays later, the Broncos scored to make it a 24-10 game.
Manning, smart line key to Colts' protection - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Friday, December 31, 2004 - Compared to fleet-footed Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, the Colts' Peyton Manning wears cement shoes. But he has been sacked only 13 times this season, fewer than any other starting quarterback in the NFL. What's the secret to this success? Manning's head for the game, for one, combined with a smart and sturdy offensive line that protects him like Tiger Woods protects his privacy.
Younger QBs get Elway's 7 - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, December 31, 2004 - Watching the Broncos-Titans game on Christmas night caused me to observe. Billy Volek wears No. 7, as do Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Boller, Byron Leftwich and perhaps others. Do you think this is evidence of the influence of John Elway on a new generation of QBs? Remember all the No. 32 RBs who followed Jim Brown?
Harrison still haunts defense - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 31, 2004 - Peyton Manning had a perfect passer rating during Indianapolis' 41-10 playoff victory over Denver nearly a year ago. But play of the league's most valuable player isn't what haunts the veterans on the Broncos defense. "The play that comes to mind is the Marvin play," safety Kenoy Kennedy said. "When he was surrounded by 12 of us at one time ... got up and ran for a touchdown. That's the play that comes to mind."
O-line's style successful, but often controversial - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 31, 2004 - Cut it out. That has been the sentiment from opposing defensive lines all season when facing the Denver Broncos, whose running game has been the envy of the league since Mike Shanahan hired Alex Gibbs and drafted Terrell Davis a decade ago. The Indianapolis Colts, not surprisingly, are wary of/whining about the legal but controversial cut-blocking tactics the Broncos use to churn out 1,000-yard running backs every year. "You try to take it out on their quarterback," defensive tackle Montae Reagor, who should be used to going against Tom Nalen and the boys from his Denver days, told the Indianapolis Star this week as the Colts prepare for Sunday's visit to Invesco Field (2:15 p.m., Channel 4). "That's the motto of the defensive line: They cut us, we try to take it out on their QB."
Thursday Notebook: Ready to Go - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - If the decision about playing Trevor Pryce Sunday is left up to the massive defensive lineman himself, one won't require a crystal ball to predict whether he'll be uniform. "No doubt in my mind," Pryce replied when asked if he would play. It's when the opinion of others enters into play that the questions arise. "It's up to (Head Coach) Mike (Shanahan)," Pryce said. "If he sees something he doesn't like, I won't play."
Brandon Miree: Living Life on the Sidelines - DenverBroncos.com - Doug Collin
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - There are people who hate to be on the sideline of life, watching the world pass them by as they stand there, helpless to do anything but watch it flow past them with pangs of regret. For NFL players like the Broncos' Brandon Miree, who has spent the entire season on the sideline as he rehabilitates from a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear, watching the game pass by is just part of life on the injured/reserve list.
Bronco Dan's Fantasy Preview - Week 17 - DenverBroncos.com - Bronco Dan
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - There's a chance the Colts will be playing a lot of backups on Sunday. And even if they don't there could be a good chance for the Broncos defense to make some plays against what may be a conservative Indianapolis attack. Call it a hunch, but Champ Bailey gets in the end zone on Sunday. You heard it here first. If you are still playing fantasy football this week, that's a mixture of good news and bad news.
Nate Jackson's Jounal -- Football Mirrors Life - DenverBroncos.com
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - How lucky we are to be discussing football. Mother earth has just swallowed up 100,000 lives in one big gulp. She must know more than we do. This beautiful sport of football that we know and love allows us the absolutely essential oppurtunity to forget our own mortality and dive passionately into its magic. It welcomes us when we are troubled. It captivates us while it lasts. So those of us who embrace this sport welcome it even more this weekend. Especially as a Bronco fan.
From the Ivy League to Denver - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - In 1969, University of Pennsylvania alumnus George Burrell played in all 14 of the Broncos' games at safety, starting seven. It took 35 more years for another Ivy League product to make it onto the Broncos' roster, a span that finally ended Tuesday when the Broncos signed running back Johnathan Reese to fill the spot vacated when Garrison Hearst went to injured reserve. But it probably won't take that many years for another to play for the Broncos. Reese is the 17th Ivy product on a 53-man NFL roster this season, a total that is up from 14 last year. Limiting Division I-A schools to 85 scholarships funnels talent to more schools -- whether they're mid-major I-A programs or I-AA schools like those in the Ivy.
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