But the once ultra-reliable Elam has not been his usual self this season. Elam missed another important kick last week against the New York Giants and his field-goal accuracy is at 64.7 percent. He has never finished a season making fewer than 72 percent of his kicks. The only kicker in the NFL with a lower percentage and more than five attempts is Jets rookie Mike Nugent.
"I don't think I've ever had a year like this," Elam said. "Nothing really seems to be going right. I kind of get on a little roll and then something will happen. You just have to keep battling. You can't go in the tank."
Elam's fourth-quarter miss against the Giants summed up how his season is going. He lined up for a 49-yard field goal that would have put the Broncos ahead by nine points with a little more than five minutes remaining.
Elam said when he hit it he thought it was good, but then the ball inexplicably dove to the right and sailed wide. The Giants ended up scoring with five seconds remaining and winning by one.
Elam said he had no explanation for why the kick went wide.
"Usually I know what I've done," Elam said. "Right now I have no idea why it did what it did."
The Broncos went for it on fourth down and two in the first half against the Giants because the wind was blowing hard. But that wasn't a factor on Elam's fourth-quarter miss.
"I would have felt good about that one at 55, 58," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Elam and Shanahan said the change in holders this season isn't a factor in Elam's slump either. The Broncos tried punter Todd Sauerbrun for the first couple of games this season, then switched to quarterback Jake Plummer when Sauerbrun struggled.
Plummer had a nice hold on Elam's first attempt against the Giants, when a ball slipped through his hands but he recovered immediately and Elam drilled a 49-yarder.
"Jake's doing a great job," Elam said.
Shanahan said he hasn't lost confidence in Elam. Elam has 19 kicks in his career that have either won a game for the Broncos in the fourth quarter or overtime or sent a game into overtime, including a game-winner in the final seconds against San Diego earlier this season.
"I'll take him any day of the week," Shanahan said.
SERIES HISTORY: 10th meeting. The Philadelphia Eagles lead the series over the Denver Broncos 6-3 but the Broncos won the last meeting. The two teams haven't played since 1998, when Denver beat Philadelphia 41-16 on the way to a second Super Bowl title.
--Quarterback Jake Plummer said that the reason the Broncos lost on Sunday against the New York Giants wasn't that the team got too conservative on offense after Denver took a big lead.
"There are a lot of theories out there that we're getting conservative or this or that, and I don't think we are," Plummer said. "We took some shots and just didn't pan out.
"We got to make it happen. Those are the plays that, they don't shut the door on the team but it makes it a lot harder for them to come back and get a win."
--Broncos owner Pat Bowlen was one of many NFL owners saddened to hear about the passing of longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara at age 89.
"The finest values of society and professional football were all represented by Wellington Mara," Bowlen said in a statement released by the team. "His dignity, faith and loyalty to our sport and to what America itself represents were of the highest order. Wellington Mara was an icon, and while his loss diminishes all of us, everyone who knew or was influenced by him is better for it."
"All the antics and the celebrations, that's just personal stuff," Bailey said. "They don't talk as much as you think. He might talk to me, he might not. I don't care. It doesn't bother me one bit."
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- When he was with Washington, Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey lost five straight times to the Eagles. Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb started four of those games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If you studied our guys and how hard they're working, those sacks will come." -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on his defense, which is tied with Cleveland with a NFL-low eight sacks.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
There should be plenty of blitzes in Sunday's game. Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is known for his creative blitz packages and Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer has adopted that attitude.
The Broncos are blitzing often this season, sending cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers in many different packages. The Broncos have put some pressure on the quarterback but only have eight sacks, tied for the lowest total in the NFL, despite all the blitzes.
--CB Roc Alexander was inactive last week. He had problems with his
hamstring earlier this season. But if Lenny Walls is inactive with a
groin injury, Alexander could be Denver's dime cornerback against
--WR Charlie Adams' lateral during a kickoff return on Denver's final play of last Sunday's game was recovered by the Giants and cost the Broncos a chance at history. Denver would have been the first team in NFL history to go five straight games without a turnover.
--P Todd Sauerbrun, Denver's kickoff specialist, is third in the NFL with 11 touchbacks.
--RB Tatum Bell has more rushing yards per game than Philadelphia's team. Bell is Denver's backup tailback behind Mike Anderson. He is on pace for 1,000 yards this season. Philadelphia is last in the NFL in rushing yards.
--CB Champ Bailey leads the Broncos with three interceptions, and he has only started and finished two of Denver's seven games. He missed two games entirely because of a hamstring injury. Bailey's career high in interceptions is five.
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