Denver Broncos News Blogs - Sept. 19

Last half heroics by cornerback Champ Bailey, running back Ron Dayne and others helped lift the Denver Broncos to a 20-17 come from behind win over San Diego on Jason Elam's field goal. Read reports on the game in today's news.

Defense gifts Denver a victory - Longmont Daily Times-Call - Pat Ridgell
9/19/2005 — Last time we saw San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees in Denver was mid-summer at Coors Field. Chargers assistant coach John Pagano used a contact he had within the Colorado Rockies to set Brees up for some batting practice with the major leaguers. Brees is no slouch athlete, but, still, it took him several swings to park one. Fortunately he had a patient pitcher in Rockies manager Clint Hurdle who gladly served up one after another until the Chargers quarterback finally yanked one over the fence and into the right-field seats. When it came to Brees on Sunday, the Denver Broncos seemed like they considered taking a similar approach.

Recharged - Longmont Daily Times-Call - Pat Graham
9/19/2005 — The fans almost had Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer convinced. He heard them booing and thought hope was lost. In fact, Plummer glanced at the scoreboard in the first half, expecting to see a 31-0 deficit. "I almost fell for their trap," Plummer said. "I looked up and realized we were in this ball game. I was wondering why the fans were booing us that early in the game?" The Broncos faithful weren't booing at the end. Denver turned it around in the second half to knock off San Diego, 20-17, on Sunday to avert a disastrous 0-2 start to the season.

Game 2: Whew! - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/19/2005 - There are times in an NFL season when it isn't so much that winning is important as avoiding defeat becomes monumental. Anyone who says the Broncos picked up a huge win Sunday by defeating the San Diego Chargers 20-17 might be guilty of slight overstatement. However, what the Broncos accomplished before a finicky sellout crowd at Invesco Field at Mile High was avoiding the catastrophic consequences defeat might have wrought. There is nothing about the Broncos' 1-1 record that tips their 2005 season one way or the other. But had the Chargers held on to their 14-3 halftime lead and sent the Broncos to an 0-2 mark?

Broncos beat the boos - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
09/19/2005 - All that was at stake for the Broncos on Sunday was the heart of a city. Before the home team could rally from an 11-point deficit to beat San Diego 20-17 on a dramatic field goal by Jason Elam, the Broncos had to win back the hometown's faith. Their own fans were often tougher on the Broncos than the visiting Chargers. Or did you not hear the angry customers at Invesco Field at Mile High booing our local football heroes? When the Broncos play like zeros, as they did early in the home opener, the people of this fair city now let them hear it.

Broncos beat the boos - Denver Post - Thomas George
09/19/2005 - The Broncos defensive players walked into the locker room trailing 14-3. They had allowed two LaDainian Tomlinson touchdown runs and 172 total yards. They needed a lift. They needed emotion. Encouragement. It came from an unlikely source. Larry Coyer stormed in and told his defense it was going to win this game against the Chargers. He told them to stick together. He told them to be ready to play a more aggressive second half. Take some chances. Take the ball. "We had our minds made up as a defense once we walked back out there for the second half," safety John Lynch said.

Halftime speech sparks defense - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/19/2005 - Tears filled Larry Coyer's eyes and he choked as he spoke. He had just been part of what he described as the greatest defensive half of football he'd ever seen. It couldn't have come at a more critical time. "I just feel privileged to have been a part of this," the Broncos' defensive coordinator said. "What these guys just did was incredible. It was the greatest half of football I've ever seen." Coyer, under scrutiny after a lackluster defensive performance in a season-opening 34-10 loss at Miami, orchestrated a brilliant second half for a 20-17 victory over San Diego - a crucial AFC West game Sunday at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Dayne excels after Anderson exits - Denver Post - Mike Klis and Bill Williamson
09/19/2005 - Ron Dayne didn't play much, but it was just enough. Now Broncos fans might wonder if he should play some more. The game was tied, the game was late, and Broncos starting tailback Mike Anderson finally had succumbed to his ripped-up rib cage. Enter Dayne, even though until that point his season totals consisted of one carry for 1 yard. "I was a little surprised," Dayne said.

Chargers left scratching heads after losing ground - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
09/19/2005 - If there was anyone to blame for the San Diego Chargers' second-half collapse in their 20-17 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, it was not quarterback Drew Brees. Nor was it wide receiver Keenan McCardell. In the somber atmosphere of the locker room after the game, the twice-beaten defending AFC West champions couldn't even bring themselves to blame it on Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. On the first play of the second half, Bailey jumped in front of an out-pattern pass intended for McCardell, intercepted it and ran easily into the end zone, lifting the Broncos out of a first-half funk.

Great to have him back - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
09/19/2005 - The Broncos didn't have a sack in the first half Sunday. So what else is new? They didn't have any sacks in their season opener, either. But then came the third quarter, when Courtney Brown, for the first time in a calendar year, made his presence felt on an NFL field. First he recovered a fumble after Ian Gold sacked Drew Brees. Then he recorded his first sack since 2003, dropping Brees for an 8-yard loss that killed a third-quarter drive. Not bad for a guy who played in two games last season before going on injured reserve, then missed virtually the entire preseason and the season opener with a dislocated elbow.

Fight to the finish - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 19, 2005 - They were booed, pushed around and in deep trouble. And then the Denver Broncos just rang the bell and kicked open the door to the old school. They erased an 11-point deficit and plowed their way to a 20-17 win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Invesco Field at Mile High. "Man, I think we just got to the point where if we were going to lose, we were going to lose fighting," Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said. "If you don't like the way it's going, you have to do something about it. We did something about it, we got after them in the second half." The win, in which the Broncos defense surrendered only 41 yards after halftime, puts them at 1-1 with the Kansas City Chiefs set to come to Invesco a week from today. It also kept the Broncos from losing a valuable home game to an AFC West opponent a week after looking overwhelmed at times in their season-opening loss in Miami.

Despite win, offense still offensive - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
September 19, 2005 - Thanks mostly to huge plays on defense and special teams, the Denver Broncos escaped with a 20-17 victory Sunday at Invesco Field. Recording a victory in a crucial divisional matchup and avoiding a debilitating 0-2 start cast enough of a reassuring luster in the Broncos locker room that it was easy to overlook some of the shortcomings displayed by Denver's offense. Despite a gutsy final drive that netted the winning field goal, the Broncos offense struggled in two key areas for the second consecutive week - third-down conversions and scoring touchdowns inside the red zone.

Bailey's pick for TD silences restless fans - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer And Jeff Legwold
September 19, 2005 - It was only the second quarter of the home opener Sunday and already the boos were cascading from the stands. They started after a short third-down completion that preceded a punt. The noise grew louder after San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson's second touchdown run gave the Chargers a 14-3 lead. The derogatory chant was at its highest level as the Broncos exited the field before halftime, seemingly on the way to an 0-2 start to the season. "I didn't know if anybody would come back the second half," Broncos tight end Jeb Putzier said. "That's very frustrating as a player. You're already hard on yourself and the coaches are hard on you and it just doesn't seem like anybody has your back." It's a trend Putzier has noticed since he joined Denver four seasons ago.

Krieger: Elam still provides a leg to stand on - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
September 19, 2005 - It never gets old for Jason Elam. He does, but it doesn't. At 35, Elam gets as nervous as he did at 25, even if by now every successful kick breaks or draws near some once-unapproachable record. For example, his two field goals and two conversions Sunday gave him 202 career points against the Chargers. The only player in history with more is George Blanda, who retired with 203 at age 48. Elam probably won't have to last that long to own the record.

Lincicome: Broncos put fans through the stress test - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
September 19, 2005 - Disgust does not come easily to the throats of the Broncos faithful. Boos sound more like prayers. And they were praying loudly and often at Invesco Field on Sunday until Jason Elam was allowed to win another game for the Broncos, a habit of his. After missing twice from 53 yards, Elam's kick from 41 in the opposite direction obeyed both the laws of physics and of melodrama. And just like that, doubt became conviction and the Broncos became 1-1. This is how it is going to be, I'm afraid. There will be no comfort level with this bunch. It will be cheers and groans from now until New Year's Eve, and Mike Shanahan's modest goal of hosting a playoff game will dangle on the thread of anxiety.

Broncos awaken just in time - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
September 19, 2005 — In an effort to energize his team's running game this offseason, Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan took a chance on a former Big Ten star with questionable credentials. If it worked, Shanahan would get the glory. If it didn't, there would be another entry into a growing and glaring list of personnel mistakes. For at least one game, the Ron Dayne experiment paid off.

Denver defense rises to occasion - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
September 19, 2005 - There were plenty of second-half stars for the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Linebacker Ian Gold harassed San Diego's Drew Brees into a fumble and also came up with a big stop in the backfield. Safety John Lynch crunched Brees for a sack at the San Diego 4-yard line to set up a scoring drive in Denver's 20-17 win. Just before halftime, tackle Gerard Warren tackled LaDainian Tomlinson with one hand for a 2-yard loss at the Chargers' 6-yard line. "Champ Bailey is what changed the game," defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "Let's tell it like it is." In a game in which the Denver defense was saving the team from going 0-2, Bailey led the charge with a 25-yard interception return for touchdown on the first play of the second half to make it 14-10. And Bailey had a good excuse to sit out the game after dislocating his shoulder last week in Miami. But he practiced Thursday and Friday and provided the spark for the defense's second-half performance.

Rookie DB Williams loses TD, interception to officials - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 19, 2005 — For a few moments, Darrent Williams experienced his dream home debut as a member of the Denver Broncos. First victory at Invesco Field (20-17 over the San Diego Chargers). Check. First career kick return for a touchdown. Check. First career interception. Check. Well, double check those last two. Williams' 61-yard punt return for a touchdown, which would have given the Broncos a 17-14 lead with 9:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, was called back because the officials noticed that Stephen Alexander had stepped off the sideline to celebrate before the play was officially over.

Thorburn: Tougher games ahead for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 19, 2005 — Kickoff: 2:15 p.m. Temperature: 77 degrees. Humidity: 23 percent. Fans: Broncomaniacs. Opposing coach: Marty Schottenheimer. Excuses: None. The Denver Broncos did their best to ruin the sun-splashed opener on Sunday, but not even Jake Plummer could prevent the home team from beating the San Diego Chargers for the fifth time in as many tries at Invesco Field. Everything seemed to go wrong from the start, yet Mike Shanahan's flawed team walked off the field with a happy ending — 20-17 winners. "It was a gutsy performance," Shanahan said. "Things didn't go right, but we found a way to win against a good football team." There were many lowlights.

Mile-high hole - San Diego Union Tribune - Kevin Acee
September 19, 2005 – The Chargers walked from the Invesco Field turf a mile high and not quite certain how low they were, shocked and disappointed and wanting desperately for it to all be as simple as the inability to play a complete game. Two weeks into their season of great expectations, the Chargers have had two teams by the throat, been close to winning twice. Seemingly, they have reasons to believe they are good. But after their offensive line crumbled and their defense finally wore down and their season was officially off to an 0-2 start, a bottom line had to be reckoned with.

Broncos-Chargers Notebook - Denver - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 18, 2005 - Mike Anderson carried the football as much as his aching ribs would allow, but when the Broncos needed relief, Ron Dayne was ready. "I thought he might get a little tired during the second half and Mike lasted a little longer than I thought," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. "When Ron came in he was fresh, and it was a good 1-2 punch. Dayne provided a vital boost on the final drive, gaining 24 yards on three straight carries at one point and providing the 10-yard, fourth-and-1 run that set up Jason Elam's game-winning 41-yard kick. Dayne ended the drive with 38 yards on six carries, and finished the contest with 44 yards on eight rushes. On the fourth-down run, Dayne took advantage of misdirection to sprint into the open field. Plummer faked a handoff to Kyle Johnson, then pitched left to Dayne, who sprinted 10 yards before he was dragged down.

Short Circuit - - Jennifer Tavlian
Sunday, September 18, 2005 - The Chargers short-circuited against a Denver Broncos team looking to rebound from a Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins. San Diego was also looking for redemption from their 28-24 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys last week, but fell a field goal short of a win against their division rival. "It came down to what we thought," Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "We knew it was going to be a tough, hard-fought football game. We made some plays and did a terrific job, but the bottom line is that when we had to make the plays at the end, now for the second week, we didn't make them."

A Needed Turnaround - Denver - J. Michael Moore
Sunday, September 18, 2005 – Broncos linebacker Al Wilson called it one of the best defensive performances he had ever been associated with. Cornerback Champ Bailey – a five-time Pro Bowler – called it the best one-half effort he had ever been a part of. Head Coach Mike Shanahan called it a character-builder. Descriptions aside, the Broncos defensive effort in the second half against the San Diego Chargers was key to the 20-17 come-from-behind victory that evened Denver's record at 1-1 Sunday. "This is the first time we've dominated," Bailey said. "I've never been on a team that dominated the way we did that second half.

The Value of Persistence - Denver - Andrew Mason
Sunday, September 18, 2005 - Nine seconds separated the Broncos from their first victory of the 2005 season or a sentence into overtime purgatory when Jason Elam stepped onto the field for his third field-goal attempt of the afternoon. It was as tense a moment as one could imagine, with momentum and a solid place in the AFC West table riding on Elam's normally reliable right foot. But the 41-yard field-goal try wasn't just another kick; for Elam, it was a shot at redemption for two earlier misses. In that respect, the Broncos' longtime kicker was a microcosm of his whole team.

Coyer rallies Broncos past Chargers - Mercury News - David Ramsey
Sun, Sep. 18, 2005 - The abyss. It was there, awaiting the Denver Broncos. They teetered on the edge of a deadly canyon of zero wins and two losses, and that's a canyon they never could have escaped. A season would have ended after two weeks. It was looking shaky, very shaky, as the Broncos trotted to the locker room at halftime trailing the San Diego Chargers 14-3. The season was on its way to oblivion. The Broncos have opened with consecutive losses seven times. They never have recovered to make the playoffs and their combined record in those seasons is 30-70-2. That scary scenario brought defensive coordinator Larry Coyer to life.

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