Broncos make the Playoffs

The Denver Broncos took care of business at home Sunday and secured a berth as the final AFC Wild Card team in the playoffs. The Broncos beat the Indianapolis Colts 33-14, behind the passing and running of quarterback Jake Plummer. The win sets up another game against the Colts in Indianapolis next Sunday at 11:00 a.m. MST.

Ready for rematch - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, January 03, 2005 - Let's do it again. However, in this repeat performance, the Broncos hope to bottle their regular-season success and avoid reverting back to a year ago in Indianapolis. "That's the challenge," Denver safety Kenoy Kennedy said. "We have to find a way to erase what happened last year after being embarrassed. We can't let that happen again." Last year is what the Broncos will be focusing on as they prepare to return to the RCA Dome for an AFC wild-card game. The playoff game, at 11 a.m. Sunday, will match third-seeded Indianapolis (12-4) against sixth-seeded Denver (10-6).

Crunch time now on hand for Colts - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, January 03, 2005 - Let the blood flow, the contempt seethe and the violence intensify. Let's put 100 angry men from the Broncos and Colts in the same room and, you know, see what happens. I will guarantee one thing when Denver and Indianapolis butt heads in the NFL playoffs: It's going to hurt. Did you see how Denver safety John Lynch tried to slobber-knock the teeth of tight end Dallas Clark through the back of his Indianapolis helmet?

Lynch's latest crushing blow likely to result in new fine - Denver Post
Monday, January 03, 2005 - John Lynch always goes back to what Ronnie Lott told him more than a decade ago. The Hall of Famer's advice is good enough for Lynch. "You go to make a play and to knock the ball out of the receiver's hands," Lynch said Sunday after a bone-crushing hit. "That's how you play the game." However, a first-quarter hit on Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark likely will cost Lynch. He was fined $7,500 in the season opener for a hit on Kansas City receiver Dante Hall. Lynch likely will face a heavier fine for the hit on Clark, which drew a 15-yard penalty after it was ruled helmet-to-helmet contact upon official review. Still, the Broncos backed their man.

Prime time for passer - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, January 03, 2005 - Quarterback Jake Plummer's accomplishments in a Broncos uniform this season surpassed even those of Hall of Famer John Elway. Plummer took every snap, which no other quarterback in Broncos history can claim. And he threw for 4,089 yards, topping the franchise record of 4,030 set by Elway in 1993. Sunday, a sharp and confident-looking Plummer led the Broncos to a 33-14, must-win victory over Indianapolis. He has led the Broncos to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. But Plummer never has won a playoff game with the Broncos. Elway won 14, including five AFC championships and two Super Bowls.

Broncos saving their Sunday best - Denver Post - Thomas George
Monday, January 03, 2005 - There is not a mountain of history between the Broncos and the Colts, except for that tidy deal in 1983 that sent a Hall of Fame, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback west and kicked the Colts further into oblivion. These teams have played only 15 times since the first meeting in 1974. Until a couple of years ago they averaged seeing each other, oh, maybe once every three years, the sort of timetable reserved for visiting the weirdest relative or the lousiest friend. But at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday, the Broncos and Indianapolis smacked each other around for the third time in less than 12 months, with a fourth meeting set in six days.

Indianapolis takes a breather - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
Monday, January 03, 2005 - After taking part in all but 34 of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive plays this season, and with his team having already clinched its spot in next weekend's playoffs, the magic number for Peyton Manning on Sunday was three - the number of snaps he took in the Broncos' 33-14 victory. "It was sort of weird; it's not something you want to get used to," Manning said. "You'd rather be out there. Coach (Tony) Dungy did what he thought was the right thing to do. Hopefully we came out of the game pretty injury-free."

Champ, Jake take cake as team's MVPs - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, January 03, 2005 - Talk about your epic wins. If you still were excited four hours after the Broncos beat the Colts' taxi squad, I hope you consulted a physician. For the record, the Broncos have won three games since Thanksgiving. The opposing quarterbacks in those games were A.J. Feeley, Billy Volek and Jim Sorgi. Sorry, Don Strock wasn't available. Things figure to be different next Sunday. Peyton Manning will be on the RCA Dome carpet, where, despite your best efforts, you may recall the Colts beat the Broncos in last year's playoffs. "We'll know where we stand as a football team come next Sunday," Trevor Pryce said.

Going wild again - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 3, 2005 - Gentlemen, start your engines. The Denver Broncos did what they had to do Sunday, shoving aside the Indianapolis Colts Lite 33-14 to earn the chance at the real deal in a rematch with the front-line, life-in-the-fast-lane Colts on Sunday in an AFC wild-card game in the RCA Dome at Indianapolis. "Man, this is why we do what we do," said Broncos linebacker Al Wilson after what probably was the Broncos' home finale of the season. " . . . It doesn't matter, it's football, brother. It's all about playing ball. Somebody's got to throw it, somebody's got to catch it and somebody's got to tackle. We wanted a chance to do all that against whoever, and now we got one."

2 football players run afoul of the law - Rocky Mountain News - Sarah Huntley
January 3, 2005 - Broncos cornerback Willie Middlebrooks spent Sunday's big game on the ultimate of sidelines - in an Arapahoe County jail cell. Middlebrooks was one of two pro-football players who had contact with local law enforcement this weekend. Former teammate Montae Reagor, who played for the Indianapolis Colts against the Broncos Sunday, turned himself in to Arapahoe County sheriff's officials Saturday on an outstanding warrant in an unrelated domestic case.

Plummer is linchpin for playoffs - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
January 3, 2005 - A lackluster performance by the first-team offense in the second game of the preseason in Buffalo, N.Y., had Jake Plummer in a surly mood. "What's the date?" he responded gruffly. "What is the date?" More than 4,000 yards later, it's playoff time. And it will be Plummer again who must answer some tough questions. Is he the quarterback who, in a 33-14 playoff-clinching win Sunday, broke John Elway's single-season record for passing yards, finishing with 4,089, and tied the Broncos legend for most touchdown passes in a season (27)?

Broncos get shot at redemption - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 3, 2005 - So what's so great about this Peyton Manning guy? On Sunday the league's alleged most valuable player put up a passer rating of 56.2. Sure, Manning only took three snaps before getting the hook in what was a meaningless regular-season finale for Indianapolis. But Denver won the game, 33-14 at Invesco Field, to set up the playoff rematch next Sunday at the RCA Dome it has been wanting for a year. Advantage Broncos? Not exactly. "Sometimes I think Peyton Manning is a product of the system," Trevor Pryce said of the Colts star who broke Dan Marino's 20-year-old record for touchdowns in a season (49) and threw for 4,557 yards. "But he's not."

Woelk: History, reality don't favor Broncos - Daily Camera - Dave Woelk
January 3, 2005 - In short, here's what happened Sunday afternoon at Invesco Stadium: Peyton Manning made a cameo appearance, the Denver Broncos mustered up enough defense to stop Jim Sorgi (but not without the requisite meltdown on one play), Jake Plummer didn't flip a pass to the wrong person or his finger in the wrong direction, and the Broncos clinched a playoff berth. That's the good news. The distressing news, of course, is that for their efforts, the Broncos have been rewarded with another date with Manning and Co. next weekend — and this time, it won't be the Indianapolis Jayvees.

Colts show Broncos a whole lot of nothing - Indianapolis Star - Bob Kravitz
January 3, 2005 - The idea, the Indianapolis Colts said later, was to show the Denver Broncos absolutely nothing. Well, mission accomplished. In a game that was as meaningful to the Colts as one of Jennifer Lopez's wedding vows, they played like Sunday's game meant nothing, or less than nothing, if that's actually possible. The Broncos threw everything at the Colts, all manner of blitzes, all kinds of bootlegs and offensive flourishes. They had no choice; they had to win. The Colts, conversely, threw nothing at the Broncos, no stretch plays, no no-huddle attack, an approach that wasn't vanilla as much as it was, well, a badly faded taupe. It hardly seemed like a real Colts game without Peyton Manning standing behind center, jumping around and gesturing like an aerobics instructor after a third trip to Starbucks. Denver 33, Indianapolis 14 - - Deeie Pells, AP
Denver 33, Indianapolis 14 - Peyton Manning spent most of the game on the sideline, wearing a jacket and a headset. The Denver Broncos can only dream of seeing the same sight next week. Jake Plummer threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to help the Broncos qualify for the playoffs with a 33-14 victory over the watered-down Indianapolis Colts. The win gave Denver (10-6) the AFC's final wild-card spot, and a trip to Indy for a rematch next Sunday in which Manning will almost certainly throw more than the two passes he attempted in this game.

Surf's Up - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, January 2, 2005 - In the 1960s, the Beach Boys used the threat of peer pressure to encourage untold millions of landlubbers to indulge in waves. "Let's go surfing now; everybody's learning how," they crooned. Ashley Lelie tried something different Sunday. Of course, he didn't sing; he merely demonstrated how to surf -- on national television, after a 38-yard touchdown reception that was the Broncos' first touchdown of a 33-14 win over Indianapolis, a score that brought an end to the Broncos' only deficit of the afternoon. Lelie lunged into the end zone, snared the Jake Plummer pass and then began one of the most unusual celebrations of the year, mimicking a paddle on a surfboard, then pulling himself atop and motioning as if he was on a wave, looking less like he was along the Front Range and more as if he belonged on the North Shore. It was just a splash of panache to close a season in which Lelie emerged as one of the most potent deep threats in the NFL.

Déjà Vu - - James Merilatt
Sunday, January 2, 2005 - By beating the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Denver Broncos earned a berth in the NFL Playoffs – a rematch with these same Colts in the first round. That statement has a familiar sound to it, doesn't it? Just like last year, the Broncos beat Indianapolis in a late-season game for their 10th victory of the season. Just like last year, the win clinched a postseason spot for Denver. And just like last year, the victory will mean these same two teams will once again face off in a Wild Card Playoff Game. But a season ago, this equation didn't work out particularly well for the Broncos. After beating the Colts 31-17 in Week 16 of the 2003 season, they traveled back to Indianapolis two weeks later and got shelled, ending their season on a sour 41-10 note.

Broncos-Colts Notebook: Pryce's Return - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, January 2, 2005 - It took only three plays Sunday for Trevor Pryce to make it to the moment he'd anticipated for nearly three months. It then took just a single snap to see that his impact remained intact. It was third-and-12 -- an obvious passing down. It also proved to be the perfect chance for Pryce to step onto the field for the first time since suffering a back injury against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 12. Pryce lined up at left defensive tackle, made a move at Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and ran squarely into a double-team. Evidently, fourteen games out of the lineup obviously failed to diminish opponents' respect for the eighth-year veteran.

Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, January 02, 2005 - As kickoff approached Head Coach Mike Shanahan declared the following players inactive: Chris Young, Kyle Johnson, Johnathan Reese, Jashon Sykes, Dan Neil, Tim Stuber, Tyson Clabo and Demetrin Veal. Cooper Carlisle started again for Neil at guard and Patrick Hape started in place of Johnson at fullback. Notably absent from the inactive list is Trevor Pryce who will see his first game action since the season opener against Kansas City on Sept. 12. The game-time temperature was 32 degrees. Indianapolis won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff.

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