"You need a miracle," receiver Brandon Stokley said.
Players and coaches admitted their first concern was Stokley being caught, but he easily outran linebacker Dhani Jones. He even ran along the goal line to burn a few seconds before scoring.
While the play was mostly luck, Stokley has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. He ran up the numbers on an "all go" play and happened to have perfect positioning for the deflection.
"I don't know why he was there," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "I'm glad he was."
NOTES, QUOTES --WR Brandon Marshall played, although he didn't have a full-time role against Cincinnati. He made four catches, and although he showed some rust with one drop and another deep ball going through his hands, he didn't do bad after not playing at all in the preseason. He had four catches for 27 yards.
"I thought he played well," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said.
--TE Tony Scheffler never figured he'd get a NFL interception. But he was put in to play deep center field against Cincinnati's Hail Mary attempt, and the ball came right to him for the pick.
Scheffler said the Broncos had gone through that situation in the weeks leading up to the opener.
"Coach McDaniels puts us in many situations in practice," Scheffler said.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--LB Spencer Larsen hurt his shoulder falling in the locker room on a slick surface before the game, and will miss at least a few weeks, Josh McDaniels said. Larsen is a key member of the special teams.
--PK Matt Prater was perfect in the preseason after a rough start to camp, and hit both attempts on Sunday. Prater's plan, to cut back on his amount of kicks in camp to stay fresh, appears to be paying off.
--WR Eddie Royal was used to return kickoffs and punts on Sunday. The coaching staff wants to limit his use on special teams but doesn't have many other reliable options.
--CB Alphonso Smith had a good debut. He had five tackles, including one for a loss, and also knocked down a pass. Smith is Denver's nickel cornerback.
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