Monday, January 10, 2005 - Was it worse or was it better? Really, it was all the same. Same defensive lapses, same inability to catch up, same sick, empty feeling. Same ending that came too soon in the minds of the Broncos, considering the talent assembled in their locker room. Safety John Lynch wasn't with the team last year when the Broncos were flattened by the Indianapolis Colts, but his feeling Sunday was similar to how the Broncos felt then. "It was almost helpless," Lynch said.
Defense gets TKO'd - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, January 10, 2005 - If Sunday's wild-card playoff game had been a prizefight, Denver's defense would have gotten a standing-eight count after the first quarter. In those first 15 minutes, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning sliced up the Broncos for 152 yards passing. At the end of the second quarter, by which time Manning had thrown for 360 yards and three touchdowns, the Colts would have been awarded a TKO against the punch-drunk Broncos.
Mediocrity stares Broncos right in the eyes - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, January 10, 2005 - So who is Mike Shanahan going to fire this time? The Broncos have not won a playoff game in 2,170 days, and he is running out of fingers to point. Who is looking for a soft place to fall now, after a 49-24 pounding Sunday by Indianapolis? Something has got to change for Denver. But what, pray tell, can divert the Broncos off the road to nowhere as the league's poster children for the false hope of parity?
Denver psyched out and smacked down - Denver Post - Thomas George
Monday, January 10, 2005 - There were six seconds left before halftime, enough for one final Colts kickoff. And give the Broncos this - none bolted for the tunnel seeking early refuge. They stood there, humiliated, and gathered the kickoff. The same could not be said for their senses. It was 35-3. It was over.
Broncos finish season with Pryce inactive for rematch - Denver Post
Monday, January 10, 2005 - Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce said Sunday he knew after playing last week against the Indianapolis Colts that his chances of participating in the playoff game were not good. "I just didn't play very well and didn't feel well," said Pryce, who was inactive for Sunday's game. "I just wasn't me." Pryce said he is not concerned that his career might be in jeopardy. He said he will be able to participate fully when training camp begins in July. "If the season was one month longer, I'd be fine," Pryce said. "But I'm just not ready yet."
No need to retool, just rebuild - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, January 10, 2005 - Well, at least John Lynch didn't get thrown out. Poor guy. Lynch wouldn't have missed much. Once again, the Broncos didn't have a mutt's chance at the RCA Dome. "We were confident coming in," Lynch said. "Some people thought we were foolish, but I'll stand by that. Coming into this game, I thought this was a team we could play with. Obviously it didn't happen." Stuff happens when Peyton Manning is on the field. Or, if it's the Broncos defense we're talking about, when any other competent NFL quarterback is on the field.
Lynch: Hard hit takes toll - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, January 10, 2005 - First came the big hit, followed by the big fine and the raging controversy. By the time Sunday's playoff game rolled around, Broncos Pro Bowl safety John Lynch was a little shellshocked. But he said he did not play passively or shy away from big hits as a result. "With my experience, I thought I could channel my emotions. But to be completely honest, I was drained coming into the game," Lynch said after Denver's 49-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. "By no means am I making that an excuse for the way our team played, but that's just the way it is."
Plummer stats belie Colts' domination - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, January 10, 2005 - The Broncos were hoping their offense would give them a chance to slow the Colts' scoring machine. But Denver went 0-for-6 on third-down conversions in the first half Sunday, putting its defense to the test. It gave up 35 points before halftime in the 49-24 loss at Indianapolis. Denver quarterback Jake Plummer completed 24-of-34 passes for 284 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception, but most of his production came in the second half with the game out of reach. "If we had played the first half like the second, we would have been right in the game," Plummer said.
Manning among boys - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 10, 2005 - Call it the varsity blues. Seven days after shoving the Indianapolis Colts reserves all over Invesco Field at Mile High, the Denver Broncos had their postseason dreams get lost - again - in the jet wash of the real-deal Indianapolis Colts offense Sunday, 49-24 at the RCA Dome in an AFC wild-card game. "Every dog has his day . . . ," Broncos defensive end/tackle Trevor Pryce said. "I think we ran into a buzz saw. They just had it out for us for a long time. I think they're still sore about that regular-season game last year (a 31-17 Broncos win in December 2003). You could tell by the way they played. . . . They just had our number."
Broncos done in by their inability to sustain drives - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
January 10, 2005 - It started well enough for the Denver Broncos. Indianapolis punted on its first possession. Denver's offense took over Sunday and started with a 21-yard completion to Ashley Lelie. Game over. Denver stalled in the red zone, leading to Jason Elam's 33-yard field goal for the Broncos' only first-half points. The running game produced only 32 yards on nine carries before halftime. Meanwhile, the sustained drives the Broncos said they needed never materialized as they managed only four first downs in falling behind by 32 points. "We just didn't execute," Lelie said. "Third-and-shorts, we're supposed to do that and keep them off the field. We didn't do that."
Hopes of Broncos fans washed out - Rocky Mountain News - Julie Poppen,
January 10, 2005 - Toward the end of Sunday's game, more patrons at the Fire House Car Wash on East Colfax Avenue basked in the sun than watched the Broncos' lackluster performance. But a handful of diehard fans in the waiting area couldn't pull themselves away from the vintage television set with its well-used rabbit ears. Scott Emigh, 41, was among them. As car wash employees pampered his BMW Z3 convertible, Emigh hoped for a miracle. He wasn't surprised that the Broncos were losing their AFC playoff game to the Colts in Indianapolis; he just wished his team "would fight a little harder."
Krieger: Shanahan has met the enemy . . . him - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
January 10, 2005 - Even in that bright orange sweater, Mike Shanahan has never looked smaller on a sideline than he did Sunday. He was the little Dutch boy - OK, the little Irish boy - struggling mightily to plug the dike, except that every time he did, five more leaks sprang open. Shanahan the coach was again sabotaged by Shanahan the personnel man. If Pat Bowlen knows half as much football as he thinks he does, this should be obvious by now. It is time for Bowlen to give Shanahan the coach a break and get him some personnel help - whether he wants it or not.
Lincicome: Mediocre Broncos must first get worse - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
January 10, 2005 - Dé jà vu all over again. In the exit corridor of the RCA Dome, postgame favors were passed out to the Broncos as they made their way out of the building of doom, cold sandwiches, soft drinks, chips, a poor meal packaged neatly. A chest of iced soft drinks would help it all go down. Not that the Broncos deserved anything better. As each Broncos player paused to take the only free item of the day, a small scoreboard overhead declared the game score 49-24. No way to get away from what happened, not leaving, not pretending, not soon. "We're going to see that score for a year," linebacker Al Wilson said.
Broncos Man-handled in Indy - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 10, 2005 - The Broncos aren't exactly living the Nike slogan. "We found a way not to do it," Rod Smith said after Denver's 49-24 loss to Indianapolis in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs on Sunday here at the RCA Dome. Peyton Manning — who threw for 377 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Colts to a 41-10 victory over the Broncos in last year's first round — played even better this time. The league's most valuable player, who broke Dan Marino's single-season record by throwing for 49 touchdowns, threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. Check that, those were his halftime numbers. Manning finished 27 of 33 for 457 yards and four touchdowns.
Thorburn: Once again, Denver never had a chance - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 10, 2005 - With slurred speech the Colts fan blocking my view of Sunday's game observed: "If we score on this drive, it's over!" You think? Don't go out on a limb or anything. Peyton Manning gave the roaring masses what they wanted at the RCA Dome, capping that final drive of the first half with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Indianapolis a 35-3 lead over the dregs from Denver. The game, however, was over before my inebriated friend even cracked his first beer. This was worse than a nationally televised Ashlee Simpson performance, live or lip-synched. Remember how humiliating those three Super Bowls were for Dan Reeves with John Elway? Same feeling for Mike Shanahan sans No. 7 in the first round, three times and counting.
Rookie Alexander suffers brunt of Indianapolis attack - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 10, 2005 - The only thing John Lynch hit on Sunday was the wall. "To be honest, I'm drained," the Broncos safety said after Sunday's humbling 49-24 loss to Indianapolis at the RCA Dome that ended Denver's season. "I've dealt with so much crap." It all started a week earlier when Lynch — after the officials looked at the replay of his collision with Colts tight end Dallas Clark in slow motion — was assessed a 15-yard penalty for an illegal hit. That decision led to a $75,000 fine from the NFL, which also warned the officials in Sunday's wild-card game to watch for improper plays by Lynch and reminded them that they could eject him from the game if warranted.
Bronco Pryce sits, watches as Colts dismantle defense - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 10, 2005 - If only Trevor Pryce's bite was as nasty as his bark. Denver's Pro Bowl defensive end, after his team's 49-24 loss to Indianapolis in the wild-card rematch on Sunday at Invesco Field, wasn't in the mood to give the Colts much credit in the postgame locker room. "There are certain teams they can't beat. They just had our number today," Pryce said. "I don't think they'll beat the next team they play." Indianapolis plays New England next Sunday in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship. Perhaps the Colts would listen to Pryce had he played in Sunday's game and given them a reason to doubt themselves. Instead, Pryce — who was listed as probable (75 percent chance of playing) on the injury report — sat out and watched in street clothes as Peyton Manning picked the Broncos defense apart.
Colts' record day routs Broncos - Indianapolis Star - Phil Richards
January 10, 2005 - Target practice. After a week of Denver players shooting their mouths off, the Indianapolis Colts came out shooting silver bullets Sunday. They played with such ferocity and efficiency in their 49-24 victory that by halftime at the rowdy and roaring RCA Dome, Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt had outscored the suddenly silent Broncos single-footedly, and he had yet to attempt a field goal. It was 35-3. Quarterback Peyton Manning passed for 457 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. But if the Colts' savage AFC wild-card playoff victory could be reduced to a single play, perhaps it would be wide receiver Marvin Harrison's block on Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, the block that delivered Wayne to the end zone for the clinching touchdown.
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