January 9, 2005 - The Denver Broncos promised this year wouldn't be like last year, and they were right. It was worse. The Broncos fell 49-24 to the Colts in the first round of the playoffs Sunday, a humiliation that was worse not so much because of the score -- they actually lost by more last postseason -- but because it exposed Denver as a franchise that is getting no better despite insisting that it is. "What's the difference?'' irate receiver Rod Smith asked a reporter. "What are the results? How do you think I feel?" In the wake of last year's 41-10 loss to the Colts, Denver decided to shore up the secondary by acquiring John Lynch in free agency and trading Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey. Clearly, that was only a start, not a solution.
Blue Sunday - Denver Post - Barry Wilner, AP
Sunday, January 09, 2005 - Take away his favorite option and Peyton Manning doesn't pout. He simply destroys you somewhere else, setting records along the way. With Marvin Harrison shut down early, Manning went to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark in building an insurmountable first-half lead Sunday. The NFL Offensive Player of the Year had 457 yards passing, second most in playoffs history, in Indianapolis' 49-24 victory over Denver. The Colts (13-4) go to defending champion New England next Sunday for a rematch of last year's AFC title game, and they bring with them an even more diversified attack. Against the overmatched Broncos (10-7), Wayne finished with 221 yards, the third most in playoff history, on 10 catches, with two touchdowns. Clark, who suffered a concussion in last week's loss at Denver had 112 yards and a score.
2004 AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Indianapolis Colts - DenverBroncos.com
Sunday, January 09, 2005 - As kickoff approached to the AFC Wild Card playoff matchup Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated the following eight players: Matt Mauck, Kyle Johnson, Jashon Sykes, Dan Neil, Tim Stuber, Tyson Clabo, Trevor Pryce and Demetrin Veal. Unfortunately, after playing in the regular season finale, Pryce was unable to dress for the playoff contest. Mauck was elevated to the team's active roster as Johnathan Reese was released in a game-day transaction. Indianapolis won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff.
Broncos-Colts Wild Card Notebook - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, January 9, 2005 - As the Broncos fell into deep trouble during the first quarter Sunday afternoon, the statistics that emerged after the initial 15 minutes painted a hideous picture from Denver's perspective. And the 14-0 deficit was just the beginning of the numbers that chronicled the Broncos' early woes. The Colts outgained Denver 172 yards to 40 in the first period. In doing so, they amassed a 10-1 advantage in first downs. Indianapolis' 10 first downs were two more than it had in the entire game at Denver seven days earlier.
Déjà Vu All Over Again - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Sunday, January 9, 2005 - It was the déjà vu the Broncos hoped so desperately to avoid. And in truth, the Broncos didn't find themselves in the same situation they experienced 371 days earlier when they lost at Indianapolis in the 2003 playoffs. This one was worse. The halftime deficit a year earlier was 31-3. This time it was 35-3. The first-down disparity at halftime a year earlier was 15-10. This year it was 20-4, as the Colts racked up more first downs in 30 minutes than Denver permitted in 12 of 16 entire regular-season games.
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