12/19/2005 - Sunday presented a dilemma in the Broncos' rooting interests. Either they would celebrate their first AFC West Division title in seven years if the Indianapolis Colts remained undefeated by beating the San Diego Chargers. Or the Broncos would get a confidence boost knowing the Colts are beatable at home. In the end, there was no choice at all. The Broncos found out the Colts can be had. The AFC West title? The Broncos should get that, anyway, provided they beat the 4-10 Oakland Raiders on Saturday in the final regular-season game at Invesco Field at Mile High.
Running game gets back in high gear - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
12/19/2005 - By the end of the frigid night, after all 37 of Jake Plummer's passes had landed, the Broncos found themselves with a tidy running effort, led by Mike Anderson, who is creeping toward his first 1,000-yard rushing season in five years. Hidden in the aerial attack and the playoff-berth-clinching 28-17 victory at Buffalo on Saturday was the resurgence of Denver's dominating running game. The Broncos devoured 178 yards rushing on 37 carries. The majority of the yardage came in the second half, when the Broncos gained 115 yards on 26 carries.
Broncos are close to scratching 7-year itch - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 19, 2005 - The AFC West title is within the grasp of the Denver Broncos. But defensive end Trevor Pryce isn't ready to acknowledge the significance of such an accomplishment, even if it comes gift-wrapped on Christmas Eve. "Winning the AFC West is nice and all that, but that just guarantees you a spot in the playoffs," he said. "It doesn't mean anything else." The Broncos' 28-17 victory Saturday against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., provided that postseason assurance but not the division crown. The Broncos (11-3) could have won their first outright AFC West championship since 1998, but the San Diego Chargers ended the Indianapolis Colts' bid for an unbeaten season with a 26-17 victory Sunday.
Pressure point for Broncos - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 19, 2005 - Those who call Rod Smith "the heart and soul of this offense" also can see what it would mean for Smith to have another chance at a Super Bowl trip. "On the field, he's always open," Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said. "He's determined. He wants to get back there. He's been there, he's tasted it, he wants to get back. He's as determined a player as I've ever been around." Exhibits A through Z in Saturday's 28-17 victory against the Buffalo Bills might have been Smith's 11 catches for 137 yards, including a leaping grab of a deflected pass for a touchdown that tied the score 7-7 just before halftime.
Legwold: Playoff bye is the biggest selling point for Broncos - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 19, 2005 - The Broncos did as much as they could in western New York on Saturday night to enhance their playoff fortunes. Sure, maybe they could have scored a few more touchdowns, allowed a few fewer points, but sift through the late-night work and the most they could do against the Buffalo Bills was clinch a playoff spot. They went, they saw, they did that. Now, they are on to bigger fish.
Williams may be ready for playoffs - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 19, 2005 — While the Denver Broncos were making a successful road trip to Buffalo, rookie cornerback Darrent Williams was back home making progress on his injured groin. Originally expected to be out of the lineup four-to-six weeks after getting hurt early in the Baltimore game on Dec. 11, Williams could be ready for the playoffs after working with a specialist. "We got good news," Denver head coach Mike Shanahan said on Sunday. "The doctors thought he is in really good shape for the initial diagnosis and feel like he's coming along very good. He had treatment today and worked out in the pool. Hopefully in a couple of weeks he'll be ready to go."
Eyes on the Prize -- a Bye Week - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Monday, December 19, 2005 - Just 10 hours had passed since Head Coach Mike Shanahan and his Broncos had returned to Denver amid flurry-filled and frigid darkness, and he had already moved on to what was next. Clinching a playoff spot? Ancient history. And while the division title remains another task yet to be completed after San Diego defeated Indianapolis 26-17 on Sunday afternoon, it is still just one win away. Shanahan and the Broncos, however, know they need two. "Our goal is to win the last two games so we can have a bye," he said at his day-after press conference Sunday. "We control our own destiny. Obviously it starts with the Raiders (on Dec. 24), but we're in control of our own destiny.
Notebook: Cox Recuperates - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Monday, December 19, 2005 - The shoulder injury Curome Cox incurred during Saturday night's 28-17 win over Buffalo shouldn't keep him from playing against the Oakland Raiders. For that matter, it might not even keep him out of practice this week, Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. "I think he can practice Tuesday," Shanahan said. "He had a first-degree separation. He got treatment (Sunday) morning. I think he'll be all right." Cox's role has increased dramatically through the regular season, which began with the former University of Maryland defender on the Broncos' practice squad. He was promoted to the 53-man roster for the 20-7 win at Jacksonville in Week 4 to provide depth due because of injuries to Darrent Williams and Champ Bailey, and after going back down to the practice squad after the game, returned to the active roster to stay for the following week's game with Washington.
Broncos treasure their deep secondary - Mercury News - John Wawrow, AP
Sun, Dec. 18, 2005 Smith unsatisfied after Broncos clinchJOHN WAWROWAssociated PressORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - It'll take a lot more than the Denver Broncos clinching a playoff berth to excite Rod Smith. The 11-year receiver is already focusing on the Broncos' next goal: Winning a playoff game, something the team hasn't done dating back to its second consecutive Super Bowl title in 1999. Denver has since gone 0-3 in the postseason. "It means nothing," Smith said early Sunday morning, following Denver's playoff-clinching 28-17 win against the Buffalo Bills. "We're in the playoffs. That's where we wanted to go. ... We've still got our work cut out." The victory clinched Denver (11-3) its third straight playoff berth. The Broncos, who host Oakland on Saturday, need a win or a San Diego loss or tie to secure their first AFC West title since 1998 after the Chargers
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