Denver Broncos News Blogs - Sept. 12

The Denver Broncos took a big step backwards with their 34-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Read about the devastating loss as well as injuries to running back Mike Anderson and cornerback Champ Bailey in today's news reports.

Season-opening rout cramps Broncos style - - Eddie Pells, AP
Monday, September 12, 2005 - The Denver Broncos hadn't lost a season opener by that much since 1966. Back then, it might have been expected. In 2005, it took a lot of people by surprise. "It was ugly. It was humid. I was tired," cornerback Lenny Walls said, succinctly wrapping up Denver's 34-10 loss to Miami. The Broncos looked overmatched, unprepared and out of shape Sunday in their worst season-opening loss since a 45-7 defeat to Houston nearly 40 years ago, which turned out to be the second-to-last game of the less-than-illustrious Mac Speedie coaching era in Denver. Denver's current coach, Mike Shanahan, watched replays of Sunday's loss on the long flight home - talk about a bad in-flight movie - and gave an unflinching critique of his team, mostly his offense, on Monday.

Notebook: Bailey's Shoulder Dislocated - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 12, 2005 - A day after a humbling season-opening loss that represented the franchise's worst opening-day result since 1966, some good news arrived for the Broncos with the word that Champ Bailey's left-shoulder injury was not as severe as initially feared. After initially believing that Bailey had separated his shoulder early in the third quarter Sunday, subsequent examination Monday morning revealed that it was merely a dislocation, leading Head Coach Mike Shanahan to say there was even an "outside chance" that the Pro Bowl cornerback could return in time for the Week 2 game against the San Diego Chargers. "(Head Athletic Trainer) Steve (Antonopulos) thought initially it was separated, very similar to what Lenny (Walls) had (in 2004)," Shanahan said. "Then after the MRI and talking to him after the game, it's dislocated, which means it pops out of the joint, so it's still quite sore." Whether Bailey can play will depend on his pain tolerance, Shanahan said.

What a drag - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/12/2005 - Miami - Back home, expectations may be getting an adjustment after hype just took a forearm to the chin strap. The darkest nightmares in Broncoland could not have imagined a more abysmal start to a season. The Broncos not only were defeated by the underdog Miami Dolphins 34-10 on Sunday at Dolphins Stadium, they were disgraced. Insult was rubbed into their many wounds on the final play. The Broncos were trying to pick up some garbage points at the Dolphins' 6-yard line when defensive end Jason Taylor stripped quarterback Jake Plummer of the ball, picked it up and rambled 85 yards for a touchdown on the last play. Off went the gun. The embarrassment was complete.

A master brain drain - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
09/11/2005 - Miami - There are elementary-school kids in Colorado who cannot spell Mastermind, much less tell you why Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was ever called one. All the awesome that once defined Denver's offense was officially replaced Sunday by awful. Let us count the ways: Miami 34, Broncos 10. As a matter of historic reference, when was the last time anybody has seen the Broncos look so pathetic in possession of the football?

Cornerback woes handicap Denver - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/12/2005 - Miami - Champ Bailey threw his helmet in disgust as he took an unfamiliar place on the sideline. Lenny Walls and Darrent Williams had IVs replenishing their weary bodies. Domonique Foxworth was being thrown into the fire, and Sam Brandon, of all people, was in coverage. "It was a crazy day," said Bailey, struggling to dress with one healthy arm after the Broncos' pained 34-10 season-opening loss Sunday. "It wasn't good." The cornerback position was front and center in the Broncos' all-around flat loss. Although Bailey said he will try to play in the home opener against San Diego next week, he could be out several weeks with a separated shoulder. Bailey was hurt on the first play of the third quarter while tackling Miami rookie tailback Ronnie Brown and did not return. Coach Mike Shanahan said he was told by trainer Steve Antonopulos that Bailey's injury is similar to one Walls suffered last year. Walls separated his shoulder three times last season. After the first injury he missed three games, then missed one. He was lost for the season after his third shoulder separation.

Anderson left running to nowhere - Denver Post - Mike Klis and Bill Williamson
09/12/2005 - Miami - Mike Anderson kept running on the Denver sideline, trying to figure out a way to get back in the game Sunday after suffering a rib injury. "I kept running and running, but it didn't feel right," the sorely missed Anderson said after the Broncos' 34-10 loss at Miami. "I couldn't do it." Anderson departed on the Broncos' second series and did not return, being replaced by second-year player Tatum Bell. Anderson finished with 5 yards rushing on four carries.

Dolphins defense bucks Broncos right out of their saddle - Denver Post - Joseph Goodman
09/12/2005 - Miami - Early in the fourth quarter, Miami Dolphins veteran linebacker Junior Seau broke up a Jake Plummer pass on third-and-long and beat his chiseled chest in celebration. There was plenty of time left on the clock - 12 minutes - but the game was over. Leading 20-3, the Dolphins had forced Denver punter Todd Sauerbrun into action once again. Sauerbrun was the most productive Bronco on Sunday, punting seven times for 318 yards. That's an ugly stat if you're a Broncos fan. Here's another: That legendary Broncos running game? It opened the season with 70 total yards. The beating - which included a second-quarter goal-line stand - seemed far worse than the final score: Miami 34, Denver 10.

WR Lelie guarantees better days - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
09/12/2005 - Miami - On a day defined by the plays the Broncos didn't make, Ashley Lelie was the unofficial team leader. How many touchdowns would-he-could-he-should-he have scored? "At least three," Lelie said. "At least three." The first came early in the game when Jake Plummer escaped a sack and found Lelie near the end zone, only to have Lelie misjudge the ball. Later, he had an easy touchdown catch slip through his hands and had a chance to make catches on two deep passes, only to come away empty-handed. He walked off the field with two catches for 17 yards, the first of which came in the fourth quarter after the Broncos had fallen behind 27-10. Eight times before that, Plummer had thrown the ball Lelie's way, with nothing to show for it. The only thing Lelie did right was live up to his lousy day.

Miami meltdown complete - Denver Post - Thomas George
09/12/2005 - Miami - Back in August before the Broncos played their first preseason game against the Texans, the team traveled early to Houston. Remember? The idea was to practice in a handful of sessions against the Texans. The hope was to get a grip in Houston on the kind of foul heat and humidity they would encounter in their real debut against the Dolphins. Sam Madison, Miami's splendid and suave cornerback, laughed when he heard that. "I've got a condo in Houston," Madison said. "When I go there and work out, I have to put on two pairs of long pants and two pair of shirts just to try to create the heat we have in Miami. This heat is totally different here." Temperatures easily topped 100 degrees on the field Sunday. The Broncos wilted. It crushed them. The Dolphins did their part, punishing the Broncos 34-10. Miami got the first laugh. It got the last one.

It's 2004 revisited as Broncos treat red zone like it's a red light - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - The Denver Broncos couldn't run the ball effectively (20 carries, 70 yards), dropped too many passes (including two drive-killers by tight ends) and turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions Sunday. But their offensive competency, or lack thereof, in a 34-10 loss boiled down to two statistics: One-for-12 on third down. One touchdown and one field goal on four trips inside Miami's 5-yard-line. Or to put it another way, "On third down, we did nothing and in the red zone we did nothing," Denver quarterback Jake Plummer said. The two intertwined often.

Opener turns into pain game - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - One by one, the injuries mounted. Rib cartilage damage. A dislocated shoulder. Bouts with cramps. And when the carnage was over, the Denver Broncos were left unsure of the availability of both their top running back and cornerback after Sunday's flat showing in their season opener at Dolphins Stadium. Champ Bailey and Mike Anderson are expected to undergo magnetic resonance imaging exams today to determine how long, if at all, they'll be out.

Lincicome: Broncos didn't see this one coming - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - Uh-oh. Or to put it another way, reality bites. The question of whether the Broncos are that bad or the Dolphins are that good will take more evidence, but for now, we may rely on the wisdom of Denver defensive end Trevor Pryce. "They have Gus Frerotte and Marty Booker, man," he said. "You don't expect this." This would be a systematic rout, a battering of expectations, a hammering of the Broncos' thumb by a hidden hammer. Whomp. Whomp. Oooh, that smarts.

Frerotte's slow feet still just too fast - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - Scouts have long watched Gus Frerotte play quarterback and, no matter how many passes went for how many yards, they always looked at his feet. Big arm, they always say, but slow feet. Whatever. Most everything Frerotte did Sunday was fast as he directed the Miami Dolphins' easy-as-1-2-3 passing attack to a 34-10 victory against the Broncos in Dolphins Stadium. "We answered the call," Frerotte said. ". . . We did a great job."

Brandon steps back in time, mans corner position - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - The last time Sam Brandon played cornerback, he was a sophomore in high school in Riverside, Calif. But with Lenny Walls and Darrent Williams cramping and Champ Bailey out because of a left shoulder separation, the safety was staring down one-time Pro Bowl receiver David Boston on Sunday in man coverage during the Broncos' 34-10 loss. "I was nervous a little bit out there," said Brandon, who played the majority of the third quarter at right cornerback with rookie Domonique Foxworth on the left side. "But after the first or second play, it was like, 'OK, what's the call?' And playing safety, you pretty much know the whole defense. You know what corners do, what the linebackers do. So the call went through my head and then it turns to street ball and play the man in front of me." Brandon was forced into action, in part, because of Sunday's deactivation of cornerbacks Karl Paymah and Roc Alexander.

Broncos go MIA - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI - Welcome to square one. All of the good tidings that washed over the Denver Broncos in the preseason, all of the new adjustments for the new year and all of the optimism were officially left scattered Sunday in the dirt of Dolphins Stadium. A Miami Dolphins team trying to make a point certainly made one, sending the Broncos back to Denver with a 34-10 loss in the luggage with them. The Broncos are 0-1, with AFC West rivals San Diego and Kansas City coming to Denver the next two weeks. "We just lost, got beat in all phases," Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said. "A one-game season, we're (ticked) off and running out of here really mad, but we've got 15 more games."

For openers, Broncos a disaster - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Jake Plummer completed 22 of the 48 passes he attempted in Sunday's regular-season opener here at Dolphins Stadium. At least the Broncos' starting quarterback was accurate on one point — the preseason really didn't mean anything. After Denver finished the exhibition schedule with a 4-0 record, the only team in the NFL without a defeat, Mike Shanahan's revamped roster was soundly beaten by Miami in what was supposed to be one of the easier of the 16 games that will count in the standings.

Thorburn: No excuse for Broncos' lack of effort - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Excuses, excuses, excuses. The Denver Broncos had a lot of good ones after losing their season opener on Sunday at Dolphins Stadium to a Miami team with a rookie head coach, a rookie running back and Gus Frerotte at quarterback. Their starting running back was injured early in the game. Their top three cornerbacks were hurt and/or dehydrated in the second half. Their best ex-Browns defensive lineman wasn't quite ready to suit up. Their quarterback stinks. The heat. The humidity. The early kickoff. The history. It all added up to the regrettable final score — Miami 34, Denver 10. "It's not the end of the season," Mike Shanahan said.

Denver secondary ravaged by injuries - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Three things would have to happen in order for Sam Brandon, a backup safety, to enter the game as a cornerback. And all of them were bad. "That's what you've got to do I guess when everybody goes down," Brandon said of switching positions in Denver's defensive backfield. "Everybody went down." One by one, three of the four cornerbacks Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan had available for Sunday's game limped off the field to the visitors' sideline at Dolphins Stadium.

Broncos' run attack sputters - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 12, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The locker room was quiet and cleared out for the most part. Except for one corner where Tom Nalen, Matt Lepsis and Ben Hamilton were engaged in conversation. The Denver Broncos offensive linemen don't speak to the media during the regular season, but the topic of discussion had to be about what happened to the running game during Sunday's 34-10 loss to Miami at Dolphins Stadium. Mike Anderson had only 5 yards on four carries before leaving the game with a rib injury. Tatum Bell had only 47 yards on 13 carries (3.6 per) in relief, including a 30-yard run.

Woeful display - Longmont Daily Times-Call - Pat Graham
9/12/2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith grabbed a bottle of water out of the case on the way out of the locker room. So did offensive guard Cooper Carlisle. Safety Sam Brandon snagged a Gatorade for the road while tight end Wesley Duke, who didn't even play, grabbed two. They needed to replenish their depleted liquids. The temperature on the field was as high as 114 degrees Sunday, and the Miami Dolphins used the heat, humidity and dehydration to roast the Broncos for a 34-10 win in the season opener. The loss snapped Denver's four-game season-opening win streak. Heat and Miami continue to add up to losses for Denver. The Broncos are now 0-7 while playing Miami in Dolphins Stadium. They shouldn't feel bad, though, because the Dolphins are 43-14 all-time in regular-season games played in August and September.

Anderson Leaves With Rib Injury - Denver - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 12, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- If Jason Taylor's sprint up the left sideline and ahead of quarterback Jake Plummer and others giving chase was the final insult, the first blow was absorbed by running back Mike Anderson, who barely had a chance to warm up before fate cast him out. Anderson's last carry of Sunday's action came just four minutes and 18 seconds after the opening kickoff. He wouldn't take another snap because of a rib injury of unknown severity.

That Separated Feeling - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Champ Bailey's voice had lost its usual pep. The normally upbeat cornerback still spoke with a soft, southern drawl after the Broncos' 34-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but the tone of his conversation was notably down a few octaves. Bailey couldn't hide the frustration of the separated left shoulder he suffered on the first play of the second half. If severe enough, it may become the first major injury of the Pro Bowler's career. And it came in the midst of a solid game. Bailey forced a fumble and notched an interception – his fifth in his seven season openers – in the first half and was a spark on a defense that spent more than 32 minutes playing in the sticky Florida heat. The cornerback has never missed a game in his NFL career. In fact, he holds the NFL record for starts by a cornerback since he entered the league in 1999. But that could change come week two.

'Insult to Injury' - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The search for positives following a 24-point loss is typically a fruitless one. Nevertheless, defensive end Trevor Pryce tried when asked if there was anything to which he could cling following the 34-10 season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, a defeat that marked the team's worst opening-day loss in 39 years. Pryce paused as he foraged through his mind searching for something -- anything -- to which he could cling. "I don't think we got tired," he said. It didn't take him long to amend himself. "There's nothing positive to come out of this," Pryce said. Added Head Coach Mike Shanahan: "They played much better than we did in all phases."

Broncos-Dolphins Notebook - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- It has never been a good sign when Jake Plummer's pass-attempts total creeps north of 40 tosses. Plummer fired 48 passes during Sunday's game, the second-highest total of his three seasons in Denver. The Broncos are now 0-5 when Plummer throws 40 or more times, and Plummer's teams are 6-18 over his nine-year career in that scenario. But one must consider the fact that the Broncos had passing plays on 27 of their last 30 plays Sunday after they'd fallen into a 20-3 deficit early in the final period. All of Plummer's turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble -- came during that stretch as the Broncos desperately tried to regain traction and get back into the game. Plummer started the game with no completions in his first six attempts, and then completed 22 of his last 42.

Dolphins Take Advantage - - Jennifer Tavlian
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - The Dolphins used their health and the heat to their advantage Sunday. Miami advanced to a 10-3-1 series record against the Broncos, including a win in seven of their last eight meetings. They are also undefeated against Denver (7-0) in South Florida. "When the Broncos came in here, it was hot, that was to our advantage," Dolphins' linebacker Zach Thomas said. "I knew if we put it together we could play well." The Broncos' running backs had an exceptional preseason, rushing for 800 yards on 137 attempts. Mike Anderson left the game in the first quarter with a rib injury and had five yards on four carries. Tatum Bell entered the game as his replacement and finished the game with 47 rushing yards on 13 attempts.

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