Denver Broncos News Blogs - Tuesday, Sept. 12

Check out all the latest stories about the Denver Broncos' 18-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Broncos want a turnover turnaround - Denver Post - Pat Graham
09/12/2006 - The Broncos players were hoping to come in Monday, do some light running and lifting and then turn the page on their five-turnover performance against the St. Louis Rams. No one particularly wanted to see the replays of the 18-10 loss Sunday. But it was required viewing. "It's tough (watching it)," tight end Stephen Alexander said. "Everybody's in a bad mood, and the coaches are obviously mad. It's a game we should've won. But it's a fact: You turn the ball over and you're not going to win many games. We definitely proved that because I think we're definitely a better football team than the Rams." The Broncos prided themselves on not turning over the football last year. It's one of the reasons they advanced to the AFC Championship Game. They committed 16 turnovers all last season while tallying 36 takeaways.

Rams borrow Steelers' blueprint to beat Broncos - Rocky Mountain News
September 12, 2006 - Nothing takes a bat to the piñata of optimism like losing a season opener. And the Broncos certainly shattered the local love into confetti Sunday with a loss to a Rams team that most - guilty as charged - believed they would not lose to. It didn't help that the Broncos offense looked out of sorts for most of the afternoon despite running for a win-worthy 161 yards or that they turned over the ball a loss-worthy five times. Given all that, all roads in much of the public discourse are leading to Jake Plummer. Jake fumbled and threw three interceptions. The Broncos lost. For some, that's all there is in the Broncos' math.

Sloppy start for Broncos - Seattle PI - Dan Di Sciullo
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - The Denver Broncos have high expectations for this season, but you couldn't tell that by watching them in the season opener. Denver was supposed to waltz into St. Louis on Sunday and dominate the flow of the game with its potent rushing attack. The Broncos did move the ball well on the ground, but it's hard to dictate the pace of a game when you turn the ball over five times. In the end, the sloppy play would doom the Broncos to an 18-10 loss. The most alarming statistic of the day was Jake Plummer's passer rating of 26.3. Plummer is not the focal point of Denver's offense, but he does need to be efficient in order to keep opposing defenses honest and make things easier on his running backs. Instead, Plummer completed 13-of-26 passes for 138 yards with no touchdown passes, three interceptions and a fumble.

Tatum gets nod over Mike in Bell RB race - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/11/2006 - One back. Two Bells. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan announced the order of his running back committee Monday. Tatum Bell has been promoted to 1a. Mike Bell is 1b. Their playing time is virtually equal. Tatum Bell gets to start. Mike Bell gets the second series. Running backs coach Bobby Turner is charged with keeping the alternating Bells in order. Tatum Bell started in the season-opening, 18-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams. He'll start again in the home opener Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Open and shut down - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/12/2006 - Champ Bailey was finishing the knot on his tie 20 minutes after another season-opening flop. He shook his head and offered a disgusted chuckle. "Deja vu," Bailey said. "The only good thing about this time is I didn't cramp up and I didn't separate my shoulder. Other than that, it's the same thing as last year." John Lynch called it the opening-day buzz saw. For the second consecutive season, the Broncos must prepare for their home opener by finding ways to correct errors they committed in a folly-filled road opener. Sunday's 18-10 loss at St. Louis wasn't as pitiful as the overall destruction that was opening day 2005 at Miami, but the result was the same. Both were games the Broncos should have won.

Shanahan pans risky business - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 12, 2006 - It seems the Broncos' five turnovers Sunday against the St. Louis Rams didn't look any better early Monday morning to Mike Shanahan. No, five turnovers are not acceptable. No, Jake Plummer didn't play well. No, it wasn't all Plummer's fault. And no, he didn't say anything out of the ordinary to Plummer to address it all. "You don't have to say anything to Jake," Shanahan said. "Jake knows his first assignment is to protect the ball. Any time you have five turnovers, regardless of how they happened, he knows he's got a job to do and his job is to protect to ball, if you've got to take sacks or whatever you've got to do."

Broncos fail when they must pass - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 12, 2006 - The multiple turnovers committed Sunday by the Broncos weren't the only not-so- subtle reminder of their ugly AFC Championship Game performance several months earlier. Their game in St. Louis ended up morphing into another opportunity to prove the team has the wherewithal to overcome a deficit, something it couldn't do in January against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the results, if not the stakes, were the same in an 18-10 loss against the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Too many turnovers were the Broncos' undoing in the second half while in comeback mode, leaving an open question asked frequently during the offseason as to whether their run-heavy offense can succeed when the ball is put in quarterback Jake Plummer's hands in pass-first comeback mode late in games.

Tatum figures to hold on to top spot - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
09/11/2006 - The Broncos alternated tailbacks throughout Sunday's loss at St. Louis. Does that figure to continue for the long run? Not if Tatum Bell can help it. Said Bell, "As long as I hold on to it (the ball), I'll be the guy. Because once I get hot, I feel like they'll leave me in there more and more." Streakin': Jake Plummer at one point last season threw 229 consecutive passes without an interception. He made it through five Sunday before throwing his first pick of 2006. Not that the news was all bad for Jake the Snake. You'll be glad to know, for instance, that his career left-handed passer rating jumped to 16.7 from 0.0 after that semi-perfect spiral to Mike Bell in the first quarter.

Plummer's pratfall only fuels the calls for Cutler - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
09/11/2006 - St. Louis - Cue the calliope music. Let the circus begin. On a surreal opening Sunday of the NFL season, when the Broncos could not stand up for falling down, committing five clownish turnovers and taking an 18-10 pratfall against the St. Louis Rams, know what was the most surreal scene of all? In the losing locker room, as TV cameras and reporters engulfed Denver rookie Jay Cutler, a quarterback yet to play a down that counts in the league, veteran Jake Plummer slipped on a sport coat, took his three lousy interceptions against the Rams and quietly walked away. The problem with being Plummer is he cannot win. No way. No how. This prognosis for his demise has absolutely nothing to do with Denver's 0-1 record. Plummer can never beat the inevitability of losing his job to Cutler, selected No. 11 in the opening round of the 2006 draft. The controversy will not stop until Cutler pushes him out of the picture. Plummer knows how fickle fans are.

Walker drops his chances - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
09/11/2006 - St. Louis - Javon Walker's Broncos debut will be remembered more for the balls he didn't catch than the ones he did. Walker's welcome-to-the-Broncos moment occurred with 9 minutes left in the third quarter, when he dropped what was perhaps Jake Plummer's best pass of the day, a perfectly lofted ball that two Rams defenders overran. "I just dropped it," Walker said. Then, lo and behold, it happened again on the next play, this one a dart that Plummer put on Walker's numbers after he flashed across the middle of the field.

Defense bends but never breaks - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/11/2006 - St. Louis - The Broncos defense made a fantasy football god out of Jeff Wilkins. Football geeks lived and died with the Denver defense Sunday as the overworked and underassisted unit kept the St. Louis Rams out of the end zone. But in the end, it was Jeff Wilkins 18, Broncos 10 in the season opener at the Edward Jones Dome. "That was an incredible effort by the Broncos defensively," St. Louis safety Corey Chavous said. "What they were dealt and how they handled it was very impressive. You don't see that every day. As a defensive player, you really respect what they did." The Broncos flew home Sunday night knowing one unit of the team is ready for the season.

Criticism a given for quarterback - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
September 11, 2006 - ST. LOUIS - Oddly enough, the comforting comparison was from a year ago, when the Broncos gave another rookie head coach a victory in his first try. Then it was the Dolphins' Nick Saban. Sunday it was the Rams' Scott Linehan. Evidently, the Broncos double as the NFL welcome wagon. Still, they bounced back from the loss at Miami to win five straight and 13 of their remaining 15. In retrospect, losing the opener meant diddly. In fact, by the time the TV guys were finished consoling the Broncos in the visitors' locker room at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday, the Rams' 18-10 victory almost seemed like a good thing, as if setting in motion that familiar 13-3 pattern. The less comforting comparison was from the last game they played, the AFC championship in January. In that one, as in this one, the Broncos fell behind early and turned over the ball repeatedly trying to come back. In fact, just in case you're keeping track, that's nine giveaways in the last two games, eight of them by the quarterback. But nearly eight months later, with first- round draft choice Jay Cutler now on the sideline, fans have an alternative to demand.

Defense bends but never breaks - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 11, 2006 - ST. LOUIS - One of the major goals the Broncos defense professed during the offseason was to improve its red-zone performance. Little did the group know it would get so much work this early. The St. Louis Rams basically camped out inside the 20-yard line, particularly in the first half Sunday. But time after time, the Broncos held. First-and-goal at the 8: field goal. First-and-goal at the 3: field goal. First-and-10 at the 17: three points. And that doesn't include another Rams possession that started at the Broncos 34 after one of five Denver turnovers. That possession stalled at the Broncos 24 and ended with another Jeff Wilkins kick.

A case of mistaken identity - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 11, 2006 ST. LOUIS - Safety and security. Those traits were the strength of the Broncos, who lost three games last regular season. They committed 16 turnovers, played from ahead and grinded teams with their stout running game. The version of the Broncos that started the season with an 18-10 loss Sunday against the St. Louis Rams was so different it was unrecognizable. It harkened to the Broncos' performance in the AFC Championship Game in January instead of the regular season that got them there. The Broncos committed five turnovers against the Rams, nearly one-third of the way to last season's total in one game. Jake Plummer, who had a career-low seven interceptions last season, threw three and also lost a fumble. New starting running back Tatum Bell, playing in a series- by-series rotation with rookie Mike Bell, gained 103 yards but had the other turnover. "Unless we stop some of the mistakes and turnovers, we won't win a lot of games," coach Mike Shanahan said. "But last year, we committed three turnovers in our first game and went on to do a pretty good job in that area."

Overturned - - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 11, 2006 - ST. LOUIS -- It was a day of opportunities lost -- for both teams. But while the St. Louis Rams could still celebrate after doing just enough to turn fortuitous field position into an 18-10 opening-day win, the Denver Broncos left the Edward Jones Dome frustrated after an exquisite performance by an aggressive but efficient defense went for naught. "Our defense played their (rear ends) off," quarterback Jake Plummer said, "and the offense just didn't capitalize." An offense that didn't have more than three turnovers in the 2005 regular season lost the football five times Sunday -- the most since Nov. 26, 2000 on a soggy Seattle afternoon. "We come out and turn it over five times," said tight end Stephen Alexander. "That's not us. That's not characteristic of what we do offensively."

Monday Notebook: Mike Bell Unfazed by Finger Fracture - - Andrew Mason
Monday, September 11, 2006 - The vast majority of Mike Bell's yardage came Sunday after he'd fractured a finger on his right hand -- while also having the fingernail pulled off of the injured digit. So the rookie running back has already answered the question of whether he can run with an ailing finger. "He played with it; it happened early in the game, so I don't anticipate any setbacks," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday afternoon at his day-after-game press conference. But Bell's injury could only be described in terms that weren't for the squeamish. "The bone came out and the fingernail came up, but it looked like it went back in place," Shanahan said. Added Bell: "It was pretty bad during the game, but it's going to be all right, so that's all I'm concerned about." He incurred the injury early in the contest, when Jake Plummer fumbled after Leonard Little pushed Bell backwards, collapsing the pocket of protection around the quarterback.

Turnover turnaround: Once-careful Broncos are off to a bad start - The Sporting News - Associated Press
September 11, 2006 - The Broncos players were hoping to come in Monday, do some light running and lifting and then turn the page on their five-turnover performance against the St. Louis Rams. No one particularly wanted to see the replays of the 18-10 loss Sunday. However, it was required viewing. "It's tough (watching it)," tight end Stephen Alexander said. "Everybody's in a bad mood, and the coaches are obviously mad. It's a game we should've won. But it's a fact: You turn the ball over and you're not going to win many games. We definitely proved that because I think we're definitely a better football team than the Rams." The Broncos prided themselves on not turning over the football last year. It's one of the reasons they advanced to the AFC championship. They committed 16 turnovers all last season while tallying 36 takeaways.

Reality replaced optimism as Broncos fall to Rams - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Sun, Sep. 10, 2006 - ST. LOUIS _Optimism was replaced by reality Sunday in the Denver Broncos' ugly 18-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams. All offseason the Broncos talked about getting to the Super Bowl, but they didn't look like a championship team in the regular-season opener. Denver had five turnovers, including four by quarterback Jake Plummer, and many other costly mistakes in front of 65,577 fans at the Edward Jones Dome."Unless we solve some of those mistakes with turnovers, we won't win many games," coach Mike Shanahan said. Plummer lost a fumble and was intercepted three times, Tatum Bell fumbled and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah committed a devastating roughing the punter penalty in the fourth quarter.

Plummer contributes plenty to Broncos' plight - Mercury News - Milo F. Bryant
Sun, Sep. 10, 2006 - ST. LOUIS - Freddy Krueger. Jason Voorhees. Michael Myers. Chucky. Jake Plummer. The five share one distinguishing commonality. They're all stars of bad sequels filled with abject horror. They keep returning. We keep watching. And they keep disappointing. We're no longer concerned that Jason is waiting behind the door. Boo! See, no longer scared. Just the same, we're no longer surprised when Plummer throws an interception. We've seen the ill-advised passes before. The panicked scrambling blended well with the pitiable looks Plummer had after each of his four turnovers Sunday. Three interceptions. One fumble. Those are what Plummer contributed to the Broncos' plight during Sunday's 18-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Rams drop Denver 18-10 - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
09/10/2006 - St. Louis - We'll give you that Lions assistant coach arrested for driving naked the other day. Otherwise, the Broncos have to be the most embarrassed people in the NFL today. How ugly was their season-opening loss to the St. Louis Rams? Their first four drives ended in two fumbles, an interception and a sack the Rams accepted instead of a holding penalty. The Rams won 18-10, but it would have been much worse if not for St. Louis' Field Goals R Us offense. The Rams settled for four first-half field goals despite playing much of the half in Broncos territory. At one point, St. Louis ran 22 consecutive plays on the Broncos' side of the field, one on a first-and-goal from the Denver 3-yard line.

Broncos fall 18-10 as Plummer commits four turnovers vs. Rams - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 10, 2006 - ST. LOUIS -- Sometimes in a football life, you either kick or you get kicked. And when all was said and done Sunday St. Louis' Jeff Wilkins had kicked six field goals and the Broncos were left only to kick themselves in an 18-10 season-opening loss in the Edward Jones Dome. "Any time you have as many turnovers as we did no team can win,'' said Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker. "Minimize the turnovers, we win.'' No, instead the Broncos went turnovers to the max with five in the game -- three interceptions by quarterback Jake Plummer to go with a Plummer fumble and a fumble by Tatum Bell.

Too Many Turnovers Down Denver - - J. Michael Moore
Sunday, September 10, 2006 - ST. LOUIS -- A year ago, the Broncos took the field in Miami Gardans, Fla. looking for an opening-day win against what was supposed to be an inferior opponent. What followed was a long, hot, injury-filled game that ended with a Broncos loss. The 2006 Broncos took the field on Sunday looking to change their recent fortune in season openers and get back to the success Head Coach Mike Shanahan has enjoyed in Week 1 games heading into this season (10-3 in season openers). Making good on such a goal would not be the case, however, as the Rams downed the Broncos 18-10 for Denver's second straight season opening loss.

Rams 18, Broncos 10 -
Sunday, September 10, 2006 - ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jeff Wilkins' nickname is "Money," as in money in the bank. Thanks to the St. Louis Rams' new-look defense, his franchise-record six field goals was just enough of a deposit. Wilkins bailed out a shaky offense, accounting for all the scoring in an 18-10 opening victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. In the process, he became the first Ram to score 1,000 points. "He's almost automatic and when he misses one, you sit there and you're a little bit dejected because you think he's always going to make them," quarterback Marc Bulger said. "We know when the game's on the line or it's really, really important, he's going to make it. He has for years now."

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