Notes & Quotes from a Playoff Win

Read all about what Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos had to say after last night's victory over the New England Patriots.

Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening statement
"It's always nice to win against a team that you know you‘re going against the best, from a coaching standpoint, offense, defense and special teams. I have the utmost respect for what they've done, and we really feel fortunate to come away with a win against a team that has played at that level consistently for a number of years."

On the Patriots Performance
"They know what they're doing, they are very well coached, they play extremely hard, they play very good rush-defense, especially in the second half of the season when they were healthy. In order to beat a team like that you have to make some plays. You have to make some turnovers. Our guys played hard. They played with a lot of heart, they played for a full sixty minutes. You're going to have your ups and downs in a game like that, but you have to find a way to make some plays when it counts, and we find a way to do that. They didn't really blitz a lot. They changed it up, they were blitzing about 25% going into the game. They just keep you off balance. You're not sure if they're playing zone or man-to-man. But they do play the running game with their front seven. It was obvious through the game. We didn't get a lot of yards rushing, but we tried to keep them honest with the run. We got some good field position and therefore we got some points."

On CB Champ Bailey's Interception
"Well, we gave the game ball out and he got the game ball, so that gives you an idea of what I thought about that play. That was a turning point of the game, obviously. They were driving down and had a chance to go up, and Champ's a great player and made a big-time play when it counted. Great players do that."

On Continuing On in the Playoff Race
"It's always nice. There's only going to be one team that's happy at the end of the season, and hopefully it's us. We have two more rounds to go. Obviously, we're hoping to take care of business whoever we play. We'd sure like to play here. I'm not saying I care who wins, but it would be nice to come back to home field if possible."

On the Crowd Noise
"You talk about having an advantage. Talk about the twelfth man. With the pressure we got on [QB Tom] Brady and the ability to cause as many penalties as we did is a reflection on our fans. They had an impact on a lot of plays. The two or three plays when they jumped offsides, that was very obvious. What you don't see is the extra jump even when they're not offsides but we get some pressure on them in a lot of different situations. That's one of the big advantages of playing at home, and obviously the biggest advantage of playing in Denver. The fans are so great, and it's sure nice to be able to have one [a playoff game] at Invesco Field."

On Taking Advantage of Turnovers
"Before the game, I was asked the question: On offense and defense, if you could say what's the most important thing going into the game was about not turning over the football and getting turnovers, and we were able to do both."

On P Todd Sauerbrun's Forced Turnover
"I didn't even see it; I was just kind of like a cheerleader. Did he force the fumble? [Answer: Yes] I like that. He's a tough son-of-a-gun. How many punters at 220 lbs who are that great an athlete? You know he had a scholarship offer coming out of high school to play lacrosse, so he's more than just your typical punter, he's a great athlete. I didn't know he made that play, but it doesn't surprise me."

On Winning a Playoff Game without QB John Elway
"People forget how fortunate it is to coach great players. John Elway is a great player, and I think John'll be the first to tell you that it takes a complete team. I thought when we came back here we were able to do something as a team, obviously starting with the fact that John is such an incredible athlete, but the supporting cast really gave him the chance to do something very special. That's the only reason we won today. It was a group of people playing together and playing extremely hard. Hopefully we can continue to do that and do something special as a team."

On QB Jake Plummer's Performance
"I thought Jake did a good job. He managed the game, he kept his composure. Obviously, we couldn't get the running game going which put a lot of pressure on him. The one he threw to the sideline that was reviewed and they got it – that was really the only mistake that he made. That was the scenario that he really had a chance to make that play, too, so that's going to happen in that kind of game when you throw as many times as we did. You feel fortunate to win with as many turnovers as we recovered, obviously that was a big key."

The Series - Denver has now won both postseason encounters with New England, also winning a 1986 AFC Divisional playoff against the Patriots, 22-17 (and also in Denver). The Broncos have won 15 of the last 18 games versus New England overall, and since 2001, Denver is 4-1 against the Patriots, the only team over .500 that has played at least four games against the Pats in this time.

Divisional Success - Denver is now 8-3 in divisional playoff games (.727), trailing only Dallas (14-5, .737) since the 1970 merger.

Mike Shanahan - Denver head coach Mike Shanahan is now 8-4 in the postseason, passing Dan Reeves (7-6) for the most coaching wins in the postseason in Bronco history.

Third Time's A Charm - Denver has now defeated the defending Super Bowl champion three times: tonight; in 1997, Denver kept Green Bay from repeating; in 1977, the Broncos knocked Oakland off in the AFC title game.

Only One To 11 - Denver extended its home winning streak to 11 games, ending New England's run of 10 straight wins in the postseason. It was Denver's fourth straight win at home in the playoffs (the first at INVESCO Field at Mile High).

Turnovers - Denver forced five New England turnovers tonight, impressive for a single game, but even more so when considering that in New England's 10-game playoff winning streak, the Patriots committed six total (while forcing 27, or +21). The five were the second most forced by Denver in the postseason, trailing only the six against the N.Y. Jets (4 FUM, 2 INT) in the '98 AFC title game.

Capitalizing - Denver turned the first four New England turnovers into 24 points; the four scoring drives consumed just 2:35 of playing time, and Denver needed just 24 yards on offense to score the 24 points on those drives (not including a 39-yard interference penalty).

CB Champ Bailey - His 100-yard interception return was the longest in Denver Bronco postseason history (easily topping a 58-yard effort by Darrien Gordon vs. Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII. It was the longest non-scoring return in NFL postseason history.

PK Jason Elam (3-3 PAT, 2-2 FG, 9 points) - He became Denver's all-time scoring leader in the postseason, as he now has 79 points, passing Terrell Davis (74). His 50-yard field goal was his longest make of the season, and was also the second longest in Bronco postseason annals; he owns the only pair 50 yards or longer, as he has the record (51 yards versus Green Bay in SB XXXII). Elam is now 14-of-17 in the post season, breaking a tie with Rich Karlis (12) for the most postseason field goals in Bronco history.

WR Rod Smith (6-96, 1 TD) - He passed Vance Johnson into the all-time lead in Denver postseason receiving yards with 799 (Johnson had 719); he also has 45 career postseason receptions, passing Johnson (41) into second place, as he trails only Shannon Sharpe (47).

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