On a third quarter play, Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer pump faked, and the ball slipped out of his hands. Plummer recovered the loose ball in the end zone, and Washington got a safety when he was tackled. But Shanahan challenged the ruling on the field, citing the "tuck rule."
The officials agreed, saying Plummer's arm was still going forward, so it was an incomplete pass and not a fumble. Washington had two points taken off the board, and the Broncos eventually won 21-19.
Shanahan said he knew immediately after watching the replay on the stadium video screen that the play would be ruled an incompletion because of the tuck rule. But in his Monday press conference, Shanahan said he didn't like the rule too much.
"My opinion would be that it would be a fumble," Shanahan said. "But it's so hard for an official to take a look and decide. That's why we have the tuck rule in there."
Shanahan said that the rule was interpreted correctly by the officials. But he remembers the most famous moment of the tuck rule, when a Tom Brady fumble in a New England-Oakland playoff game four years ago was overruled and called an incompletion.
"My first impression when I saw that happen against the Raiders, I was saying 'God, that's a bad rule,'" Shanahan said. "But hey, that's the rule, and you deal with the rules."
--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he thought running back Tatum Bell, who had two long touchdown runs, and punter Todd Sauerbrun were the two biggest factors in Sunday's win over Washington. Sauerbrun averaged 47.3 yards per punt.
"Tatum Bell and Todd, they were the difference in the game," Shanahan said.
Sauerbrun hadn't spoken to the Denver media since he was acquired in a trade from Carolina last May, but he has apparently lifted that embargo.
"It feels good to be part of this win, and I'm just proud to be here," Sauerbrun said after the game.
--Cornerback Champ Bailey didn't play against Washington, missing his second straight game. The Broncos are making sure they don't rush Bailey back too soon.
"Hopefully he gets a little bit better and be ready to go this weekend," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--RB Tatum Bell wants to be an every-down back, but the Broncos want
to make sure he's fresh. His big-play ability is an asset to the
Broncos, and the team wants him to be able to break long runs late in the
game, so Denver will continue to use a committee at tailback.
--CB Domonique Foxworth was praised by Broncos coach Mike Shanahan after Sunday's game against Washington. Foxworth, a rookie, rarely makes a fundamental error. He is also a solid tackler.
--WR Charlie Adams returned two kickoffs on Sunday. Darrent Williams is still the primary returner, but Adams fills in for Williams after Williams has been on the field for a long drive with the defense.
--RB Ron Dayne didn't get any carries, but Mike Shanahan said Dayne is not out of the mix at tailback. The Broncos would like to use Mike Anderson and Dayne to pound the defense and Tatum Bell as the breakaway threat.
--TE Stephen Alexander has played in five games and has caught six passes for 49 yards. He is still the starter because he is a solid blocker, but backup Jeb Putzier is a much bigger factor in the in the passing game.
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