Broncos Update Insider: Outlook better

After a tough month that almost knocked the Denver Broncos out of the playoffs, their outlook is looking better. Check out the latest in today's team report.

The Denver Broncos aren't out of the woods yet.

A win at Arizona on Sunday, which broke a four-game losing streak, was good. It kept the Broncos alive for a playoff spot in the AFC and gave the team a little more confidence going forward.

The tough part is the Broncos now have to win two more games to get in the playoffs. Denver, which is assured a playoff spot with two more wins, could mathematically get into the playoffs if they lose either of their final two games. But Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he realizes that one more loss and his team will be eliminated.

"I don't think there's any question about it," Shanahan said.

The Broncos were encouraged by how they played in Sunday's game. The offense, led by rookie quarterback Jay Cutler, played its most efficient game in weeks. Denver didn't punt until the fourth quarter, on its last drive.

Defensively, the Broncos played well. They got an effective pass rush, which has been missing for weeks.

After a tough month that almost knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs, their outlook is looking better.

"I was pleased with the way we responded," Shanahan said. "I think everybody knows that was a situation where we had to play well against a football team that had been playing very good over the last four weeks."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Quarterback Jay Cutler flung his first touchdown pass to Javon Walker 65 yards in the air, and hit Walker in stride. Cutler, a strong-armed rookie, was asked how far he can throw the ball.

"I don't know, 70-plus, 75," Cutler said. "If it's a little wind, maybe 80."

--Defensive back Domonique Foxworth said he had no problems moving back to cornerback, after starting two straight games at safety. Foxworth started because cornerback Darrent Williams was out with an injury.

"That transition was easy," Foxworth said. "Learning how to play safety in the matter of two days was difficult. Going back to corner, I'm a corner so that came naturally."

--Broncos center Tom Nalen drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty from Arizona defensive linemen Antonio Smith, the second time Nalen has goaded an opponent into throwing a punch at him. Nalen was arguing with Smith, and after grabbing him, Smith threw a punch and drew a penalty. That came after a third-down play and extended Denver's drive.

Two weeks ago, Nalen was punched by Chargers defensive lineman Igor Olshansky, drawing a 15-yard penalty. Nalen tried to cut block Olshansky on a spike play, and was fined $25,000 for that play.

PLAYER NOTES --CB Darrent Williams will be reevaluated through the week to see if he can play. Williams missed Sunday's game because of toe and shoulder injuries.

--TE Stephen Alexander played through rib injuries, but Shanahan said he felt pretty good on Monday. Alexander is a big part of Denver's running game.

--S Curome Cox went back in the starting lineup at strong safety because of an injury to cornerback Darrent Williams. Domonique Foxworth, who replaced Cox at safety after Cox started one game because of a season-ending injury to Nick Ferguson, moved to cornerback.

--TE Tony Scheffler had another strong game. He has become a go-to receiver since Jay Cutler became Denver's quarterback. Scheffler has been able to get open downfield and Cutler has confidence in him.

--LB Keith Burns had his ankle kicked on a play late in the game, but said he was fine and won't miss any time. Burns is Denver's special-teams captain.



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