Denver Broncos Hot Topics - Monday, Oct. 16

The Denver Broncos improved to 4-1, but still don't have many answers to why their offense has struggled so much this season. Today's edition of "Hot Topics" focuses on the offensive woes as the defense carries the team. Also - all the latest personnel updates.

The Denver Broncos improved to 4-1, but still don't have many answers to why their offense has struggled so much this season.

Denver beat Oakland 13-3 on Sunday night. They got off to a good start, which was promising. A 54-yard pass to Javon Walker set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Tatum Bell, and the Broncos had a couple long drives result in field goals in the second quarter. Denver had a 13-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Broncos got conservative, and the offense couldn't make plays to stay on the field. The first three drives of the second half resulted in 38 yards and three punts. Denver seemed content to win the field position battle because their defense is playing so well.

"When you got the game won you don't want to take too many chances," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

The Broncos had only 35 passing yards in the final three quarters against a bad Raiders team. Running back Tatum Bell had only 3.6 yards per carry against a Raiders defense that was 29th in rushing defense before this week.

"We started fast and we got a cushion, but we've got to put more points up in the second half," Plummer said.

Denver's offense has been surprisingly poor this season. The Broncos have five touchdowns in the first five games of the season, and haven't scored more than two in a game.

The Broncos are riding their defense right now. They have allowed one touchdown in five games. The last team to allow one touchdown or fewer in the first five games of a season is the 1934 Detroit Lions.

The defense is fine carrying the team, but they are aware that the offense is struggling.

"I promise you they want more," safety John Lynch said. "I know people like Rod Smith, they don't like this."

"But honestly, these are all team wins."

Denver was defensive all week about Oakland, which is now 0-5. The Broncos said they didn't expect an easy win and that turned out to be prophetic. Denver struggled along with the Raiders in the second half but the defense never gave up any big plays.

"A lot of people think, 'These guys are 0-4, so you should blow them out,'" Smith said. "It doesn't work like that."

The Broncos were fortunate the Raiders played so poorly. Oakland had 13 penalties and turned the ball over twice inside Denver's 30-yard line, which was a big difference in the game.

The Broncos go to Cleveland next week and hope the offense improves. Denver had a breakthrough scoring in the first quarter, after four games without scoring in the first quarter. The next step for the Broncos is putting together a complete game.

"We have to keep working on offense and hopefully improve," Shanahan said.

PLAYER NOTES --DE Elvis Dumervil was active for the second straight week, had one sack and another sack nullified because of a penalty. He was inactive for Denver's first three games but once he showed improvement on special teams the Broncos activated him as a reserve defensive lineman.

--FB Kyle Johnson left Sunday's game in the first half with a sprained ankle. Johnson said the training staff believes he has a high ankle sprain, which might keep him out for a couple weeks. Cecil Sapp would take his place.

--WR David Kircus was Denver's third receiver against Oakland. Rookie Brandon Marshall was impressive in the offseason and early in training camp and appeared to have an inside track on the job, but he was hurt for most of the preseason. That allowed Kircus the opportunity to make some plays and win the job.

--WR Javon Walker caught a long pass to set up Denver's first touchdown against Oakland. Walker got one-on-one coverage and Plummer threw him a jump ball. The Broncos have a lot of confidence in Walker's ability to beat cornerbacks when the ball is in the air.

--CB Champ Bailey spent most of Sunday's game against Oakland moving around to shadow receiver Randy Moss. That was a change for Bailey, who has stayed on the left side for most plays this season regardless of the matchup.



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