Mike Shanahan

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Posted by pompos 04/23/2009 @ 16:11

Tags : mike shanahan, football coaches, football, sports

News headlines
Krieger: Broncos' respect taking big hit - Denver Post
The loss of Mike Shanahan, a coach who has won about 60 percent of his games (.599) over the course of his career. • The replacement of Cutler, a quarterback Shanahan considered a franchise player, with Kyle Orton, your basic mortal....
Big-buck coaches are pricing selves out of NFL - FOXSports.com
Remember when experience counted, and with it great coaches like Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan could demand whatever salary they wanted? The NFL remains a big-money league, but only for the players (for now at least, until the next CBA tug-of-war),...
Joe Theismannn on Tony Kornheiser: 'fish out of water' - Newsday
Mike Holmgren won a world championship, not coaching. Mike Shanahan won a world championship, not coaching. Bill Cowher won a world championship, not coaching. How about that for an alumni of Super Bowl champion coaches that are not actively coaching...
DJ Williams: Perfect ILB - Bleacher Report
One of the best draft picks of the Mike Shanahan era. Perfect ILB? Many of us remember the DJ MLB experiment a couple of seasons ago as a negative, but I don't see it that way. I think most of would agree that number 55 (its an old pic he was number 52...
Who Is Running the Show in Denver? - Bleacher Report
Unless you are living under a rock, you know that owner Pat Bowlen made the decisions to fire head coach Mike Shanahan, replace him with Josh McDaniels, fire Jim and Jeff Goodman, promote Brian Xanders to general manager, and trade Jay Cutler....
Powell hopes to hold ground on Broncos' new line - The Virginian-Pilot
His coach Mike Shanahan, a presumed Denver untouchable, was canned and replaced by peach-fuzzed Josh McDaniels, who immediately clashed with high-producing/high-maintenance quarterback Jay Cutler, who wound up traded to Chicago....
The Denver Broncos: How the Grinch Stole the 2009 NFL Playoffs - Bleacher Report
After 14 seasons as the Denver Broncos head coach, Mike Shanahan (146-95-0 in the regular and post season, including back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998) was released from the team. That change came in the form of Josh McDaniels....
A Confusing Offseason for the Denver Broncos - Bleacher Report
by Carlos Monagas (Contributor) I have never been a big Jay Cutler fan, as a matter of fact I was puzzled by Mike Shanahan when he made the selection. I was dumbfounded and a few moments later completely petrified as I realized what this draft pick...
Possible Landing Spots Next Year for Mike Shanahan - Mile High Report
by Pierre Coghill on May 10, 2009 3:00 AM MDT 10 comments Mike Shanahan is 56 years old. He is 17th on the list of wins for NFL head coaches. He has collected enough stats to ensure his place in the football hall of fame. He is a very big part of the...

Mike Shanahan

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Michael Edward Shanahan (born August 24, 1952) is a former American football head coach, most recently for the Denver Broncos. He led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1998 and 1999. His son is the Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan played high school football at East Leyden High School, Franklin Park, Illinois where he played wishbone quarterback. He had the single-game rushing record until 1976 when it was broken by Dennis Cascio. The record is now held by Ricky Emery. Shanahan was an undersized quarterback at Eastern Illinois University in the 1970s before a hard hit on the practice field ruptured one of his kidneys, stopping his heart for thirty seconds and nearly killing him.

With his playing career abruptly ended, Shanahan entered coaching. After graduation, he served as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University and the University of Oklahoma. He then returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator and helped his school win the Division II football championship. Shanahan also worked at the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota, turning around both schools and making them into offensive powerhouses, before making the jump to the NFL.

Shanahan served as a quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator for the Broncos under Dan Reeves in the 1980s and had a brief stint as the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988–89. He went 8–12 with the Raiders in less than two seasons before being fired and returning to the Broncos as an offensive assistant again under Reeves. Shanahan was later fired by Reeves after finding himself in the middle of a growing feud between Reeves and quarterback John Elway.

In 1992, Shanahan was hired as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers on George Seifert's staff, capping his rise with a Super Bowl victory after the 1994 season. The 49ers offense that year has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time, with the likes of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones, John Taylor, William Floyd and Ricky Watters scoring points in flurries. His years under Seifert placed him in the Bill Walsh coaching tree.

Shanahan's success with the 49ers earned him a head coaching spot once more, this time back in Denver with the Broncos beginning in 1995. Shanahan led Elway and the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, during which time the Broncos set a then-record for victories in two seasons. He was the last coach to win two consecutive titles until New England's Bill Belichick did it during the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons. Between 1996-1998, the Broncos set the NFL record for victories by going 46–10 over a three-year span. The 1998 Broncos won their first 13 games on their way to a 14–2 mark. Shanahan, taking his cue from West Coast offense guru Bill Walsh, was well-known for scripting the first 15 offensive plays of the game, and helped the '98 Broncos set an NFL record for first quarter points scored in a season.

Shanahan is known for a run-heavy variation of the West Coast offense he coached in San Francisco. He has often found unheralded running backs from later rounds of the annual NFL Draft and then turned them into league-leading rushers behind small-but-powerful offensive lines. Examples of this phenomenon are Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, all of whom have had at least one 1,000-yard season in a Denver uniform over the past 10 years.

Shanahan faced criticism for not delivering a playoff victory since Elway's retirement and Davis' career-ending injuries. The playoff drought ended on January 14, 2006 when the Broncos defeated the two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs at Invesco Field at Mile High. Coincidentally, Shanahan has the best record for any active coach against Bill Belichick. Including the postseason win, Shanahan is 5–2 against Belichick's Patriots, the five wins coming in the last six meetings.

In 1999, with the assistance of writer Adam Schefter, Shanahan penned Think Like a Champion, a motivational book about leadership. It was published by Harper Collins.

Shanahan and his wife, Peggy, have two children—son Kyle and daughter Krystal. Kyle is a graduate of the University of Texas and is the Houston Texans’ offensive coordinator. Krystal also is a graduate of the University of Texas.

In May 2008, Shanahan attended the wedding of George W. Bush's daughter Jenna Bush, who was the former college roommate of Shanahan's daughter.

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Bill Walsh (American football coach)

Bill Walsh (left) with San Jose State Spartans head football coach Dick Tomey.

William Ernest "Bill" Walsh (November 30, 1931–July 30, 2007) was an American head football coach of the San Francisco 49ers and Stanford University, during which time he popularized the West Coast offense. Walsh went 102–63–1 with the 49ers, winning ten of his fourteen postseason games along with six division titles, three NFC Championship titles, and three Super Bowls. He was named the NFL's Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1984.

Born in Los Angeles, Walsh started his career as a running back for Hayward High School in Hayward.

Walsh attended San Mateo Junior College for two years as a quarterback. He then transferred to San José State, where he played as a tight end and a defensive end. He also participated in intercollegiate boxing. Walsh graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1955. He served under Bob Bronzan as a graduate assistant coach on the Spartans football coaching staff and graduated with a master's degree in physical education from San Jose State in 1959. His master's thesis was entitled Defensing the Pro-Set Formation.

Following graduation, Walsh coached at Washington High School in Fremont, leading the football and swim teams.

Walsh was coaching in Fremont when he interviewed for an assistant coaching position with Marv Levy, who had just been hired as the head coach at the University of California, Berkeley.

After Cal, he did a stint at Stanford as an assistant coach, before beginning his pro coaching career.

Walsh began his pro coaching career in 1966 as an assistant with the AFL's Oakland Raiders. As a Raider assistant, Walsh was trained in the vertical passing offense favored by Al Davis, putting Walsh in Davis' mentor Sid Gillman's coaching tree. Walsh would later modify his own offensive philosophy to favor a predominantly horizontal passing approach.

He then moved to the AFL expansion Cincinnati Bengals in 1968, serving under Paul Brown for eight seasons as one of the architects of the team's offense, built around quarterback Ken Anderson and wide receiver Isaac Curtis.

In 1977, Walsh was hired as the head coach at Stanford where he stayed for two seasons. His two Stanford teams went 9-3 in 1977 with a win in the Sun Bowl, and 8-4 in 1978 with a win in the Bluebonnet Bowl; his notable players at Stanford included quarterbacks Guy Benjamin and Steve Dils, wide receivers James Lofton and Ken Margerum, and running back Darrin Nelson. Walsh was the Pac-8 Coach of the Year in 1977.

In 1979, Walsh was hired as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The long-suffering 49ers went 2-14 in 1978, the season before Walsh's arrival and repeated the same dismal record in his first season. Walsh doubted his abilities to turn around such a miserable situation -- but earlier in 1979, Walsh drafted quarterback Joe Montana from Notre Dame in the third round.

Walsh turned over the starting job to Montana in 1980, when the 49ers improved to 6-10. San Francisco won its first championship in 1981, just two years after winning two games.

Under Walsh the 49ers won Super Bowl championships in 1981, 1984 and 1988. Walsh served as 49ers head coach for ten years, and during his tenure he and his coaching staff perfected the style of play known popularly as the West Coast offense.

In addition to drafting Joe Montana, Walsh drafted Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, and Jerry Rice. He also traded a 2nd and 4th round pick in the 1987 draft for Steve Young. His success with the 49ers was rewarded with his election to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

The 1981 season saw Walsh lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl championship; the team rose from the cellar to the top of the NFL in just two seasons. Four important wins during the 1981 season were two wins each over the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams were only one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance, and had dominated the series with the 49ers for nearly a decade. The 49ers' two wins over the Rams in 1981 marked the shift of dominance in favor of the 49ers that lasted until the late 1990s.

In 1981, the 49ers blew out the Cowboys in week 6 of the regular season. On Monday Night Football that week, the 49ers' win was not included in the famous halftime highlights. Walsh felt that this was because the Cowboys were scheduled to play the Rams the next week in a rare Sunday night game and that showing the highlights of the 49ers' win would potentially hurt the game's ratings. However, Walsh used this as a motivating factor for his team, who felt they were disrespected.

The 49ers faced the Cowboys again that same season in the NFC title game. The game was very close, and in the fourth quarter Walsh called a series of running plays as the 49ers marched down the field against the Cowboys prevent defense, which had been expecting the 49ers to mainly pass. The 49ers came from behind to win the game on Dwight Clark's memorable TD reception (The Catch), propelling Walsh to his first Super Bowl. Walsh and the 49ers defeated Cincinnati in the Super Bowl, which was played in Pontiac, Michigan. Walsh would later write that the 49ers' two wins over the Rams showed a shift of power in their division, while the wins over the Cowboys showed a shift of power in the conference.

Many of his assistant coaches went on to be head coaches, including George Seifert, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Ray Rhodes, and Dennis Green. These coaches in turn have their own disciples who have utilized Walsh's West Coast system. Walsh was viewed as a strong advocate for African-American head coaches in the NFL and NCAA. Along with Rhodes and Green, Tyrone Willingham became the head coach at Stanford, then later Notre Dame and Washington. One of Mike Shanahan's assistants, Karl Dorrell has gone on to be the head coach at UCLA. Walsh directly helped propel Dennis Green into the NFL head coaching ranks by offering to take on the head coaching job at Stanford.

After leaving the coaching ranks immediately following his team's victory in Super Bowl XXIII, Walsh went to work as a broadcaster for NBC (teaming with Dick Enberg to form the lead broadcasting team). Walsh returned to Stanford in 1992 to once again serve as head coach for the school, leading the Cardinal to a 10-3 record and a Pacific-10 Conference co-championship. Stanford finished the season with an upset victory over Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl on January 1, 1993 and a # 9 ranking in the final AP Poll. After consecutive losing seasons, Walsh left Stanford in 1994 and retired from coaching.

Walsh would also return to the 49ers, serving as Vice President and General Manager from 1999 to 2001 and was a special consultant to the team for three years afterwards. In 2004, Walsh was appointed as special assistant to the athletic director at Stanford. In 2005, after then-athletic director Ted Leland stepped down to take a position at the University of the Pacific, Walsh was named interim athletic director. He also acted as a consultant for his alma mater San Jose State University in their search for an Athletic Director and Head Football Coach in 2005.

Bill Walsh was also the author of two books, a motivational speaker, and taught classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Walsh was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004. In November 2006, he confirmed that he was undergoing treatment for the illness. "News about me has been circulating," he said. "It's been getting back to me." "There are too many people following the progress of this. I felt it was appropriate to confirm what's happening. I hope now that I have done that, the media will refrain from phoning me. I'm pragmatically doing everything my physicians recommend and I'm working my way through it," Walsh said. In early 2007 Walsh's former broadcasting partner, Dick Enberg, reported that Walsh had told him the cancer was in remission.

Bill Walsh died of leukemia at 10:45 am on July 30, 2007, at his home in Woodside, California. Following Walsh's death, the playing field at Candlestick Park was renamed "Bill Walsh Field". Additionally, the regular San Jose State vs. Stanford football game was renamed the "Bill Walsh Legacy Game".

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Super Bowl XXXII

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Super Bowl XXXII was an American football game played on January 25, 1998 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1997 regular season. Qualcomm Stadium would also host the 1998 World Series, becoming the only stadium to host the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same calendar year.

The American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos (16–4) defeated the heavily favored National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers (15–4), 31–24. The Broncos' win was their first league championship after suffering four previous Super Bowl losses, and snapped a 13-game losing streak for AFC teams in the Super Bowl (the previous being the Los Angeles Raiders win in Super Bowl XVIII in 1984). The Broncos became just the second wild card team to win a Super Bowl and the first since the Raiders in Super Bowl XV.

Despite suffering a migraine headache that caused him to miss most of the second quarter, Denver running back Terrell Davis (a San Diego native) was named Super Bowl MVP. He ran for 157 yards, caught 2 passes for 8 yards, and scored a Super Bowl record three rushing touchdowns.

NFL owners awarded Super Bowl XXXII to San Diego during their October 26, 1993 meeting in Chicago. This was the second time San Diego hosted the game; the city previously hosted Super Bowl XXII ten years earlier on January 31, 1988.

The Broncos entered Super Bowl XXXII after suffering 4 Super Bowl losses: Super Bowls XII, XXI, XXII, and XXIV. In all of those losses the Broncos never had the ability to rush well enough or score enough points to be competitive. Denver was blown out in each one, losing all 4 by a combined scoring margin of 163–50.

The last three Super Bowl losses were under starting quarterback John Elway, whose ad-libbing skills enabled the Broncos to advance to the league's championship game in a span of 3 out of four seasons. Elway also led his team to the 1991 AFC Championship Game, but they lost in a defensive struggle to the Buffalo Bills, 10–7.

The team's fortunes changed when Mike Shanahan became head coach of the Broncos in 1995. Shanahan was previously Denver's offensive coordinator during those Super Bowl losses, but was fired in 1991 after a power struggle between him and then-head coach Dan Reeves over the offensive personnel. Shanahan then served as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers from 1992 to 1994, including the 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX win. Under Shanahan, the San Francisco offense ranked first in the league in total yards gained for all three of his seasons there.

When Shanahan returned to the Broncos in 1995, he selected running back Terrell Davis in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Davis became the cornerstone of Denver's rebuilt running game, leading the team with 1,117 rushing yards in just his rookie year. The Broncos finished the 1995 regular season with just an 8–8 record. By 1996, the Broncos had the league's best offense, gaining 5,791 yards of total offense, and recorded the AFC's best regular season record at 13-3, but they were upset by the second-year Jacksonville Jaguars, 30-27, in the playoffs.

During the 1997 regular season, the Broncos once again had the league's best offense with 5,872 total yards of offense, and led the league in total points scored with 472. Although they recorded a 12-4 regular season record, they finished in second place behind the 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

Pro Bowler Davis remained the team's leading rusher, recording 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also catching 42 passes for 287 yards. At 37 years old, Elway still posted a Pro Bowl season with 280 out of 502 completions for 3,635, 27 touchdowns, with only 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 215 yards and another touchdown. Pro Bowl tight end Shannon Sharpe led the team with 72 receptions for 1,107 yards. Wide receiver Rod Smith, who was not drafted by any NFL team and recorded only 22 receptions for 389 yards and 3 touchdowns in his 2 previous seasons, had a breakout year with 70 receptions for 1,180 and 12 touchdowns. Wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who played in Shanahan's 1994 49ers offense, recorded 45 receptions for 590 yards and 8 touchdowns. Denver's offensive line was led by seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Gary Zimmerman and Pro Bowler Tom Nalen.

On defense, the major acquisition to the team prior to the season was former Chiefs defensive lineman Neil Smith. Smith had a Pro Bowl season for the 6th time in his career with 28 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Defensive end Alfred Williams recorded 36 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. The linebacking core was led by veteran Bill Romanowski, who had 55 tackles and 2 sacks, and John Mobley, who led the team with 97 tackles while also recording 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 interception.

The secondary was led by veteran defensive backs Tyrone Braxton, who led the team with 4 interceptions for 113 yards and 1 touchdown, and Steve Atwater, who had 53 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 interceptions for 42 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensive back Darrien Gordon recorded 50 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, 64 return yards, and 1 touchdown. He also returned 40 punts for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Packers entered the 1997 season coming off of their win in Super Bowl XXXI. They then repeated as NFC Central division champions, earning a 13–3 regular season record.

Quarterback Brett Favre had another Pro Bowl season and became the first player ever to win the NFL MVP award three times, winning it for the third consecutive year. Favre lead the league with 35 passing touchdowns and completed 304 out of 513 attempts for 3,867 yards, with 16 interceptions, while ranking second on the team in rushing with 187 yards and a touchdown. Super Bowl XXXII would be Brett Favre's last Super Bowl appearance to date. Wide receiver Antonio Freeman led the team in receptions with 81 catches for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wide receiver Robert Brooks was also a major deep threat, catching 60 passes for 1,010 yards and 7 touchdowns. Pro Bowl tight end Mark Chmura recorded 38 receptions for 417 yards and 6 touchdowns. Pro Bowl running back Dorsey Levens led the team in rushing with 1,435 yards and 7 touchdowns, while also catching 53 passes for 373 yards and 5 touchdowns. Fullback William Henderson rushed for 113 yards and caught 41 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown.

On the Packers defense, the line was led by veteran Pro Bowler Reggie White, who led the team with 11 sacks. Behind him, the Packers lineman Santana Dotson recorded 37 tackles and 5.5 sacks. In the secondary, Pro Bowl defensive back LeRoy Butler led the team with 5 interceptions, while also adding 70 tackles. Safety Eugene Robinson led the team with 74 tackles while also recording 2.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception. Cornerback Mike Prior recorded 4 interceptions while rookie Darren Sharper recorded 2 of them, both of which he returned for touchdowns.

The Broncos entered the playoffs as a wild-card team but defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 42–17, the Kansas City Chiefs, 14–10, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24–21, making Denver the sixth wild-card team to make it to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Packers were victorious against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 21–7, and the San Francisco 49ers, 23–10.

The Packers came into the game as 11 1/2-point favorites. First, Green Bay had a better regular season record than the Broncos, who entered the playoffs as a wild card team. Secondly, the Packers were the defending Super Bowl champions. Finally, NFC teams had a 13-game winning streak in the Super Bowl.

Each player wore a Super Bowl logo patch on their jerseys. This would become a regular practice in each Super Bowl since.

The game was broadcast in the United States by NBC, with play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg and color commentators Phil Simms and Paul Maguire. Greg Gumbel hosted all the events, and was joined by co-host Ahmad Rashad and commentators Cris Collinsworth, Sam Wyche, and Joe Gibbs. Following the game, NBC aired a special one-hour episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, which opened live at the game site with Gumbel playing himself before he was "attacked" by show star John Lithgow.

This broadcast was the last for NBC as the AFC network after 33 years (CBS has held the AFC broadcast rights ever since), their last NFL broadcast overall until 2006, when the they signed on to televise Sunday Night Football, and their last Super Bowl broadcast until 2009 (Super Bowl XLIII). This was also the last time Channel 4 in the UK would show the Super Bowl and their coverage of American football after they had been showing the event since 1983 (Super Bowl XVII). Only Sky Sports would show it live until Channel 5 joined them in 2003 (Super Bowl XXXVII).

The pregame show, narrated by actor and comedian Phil Hartman, celebrated the music and history of California. It featured performances by The Fifth Dimension, Lee Greenwood, and The Beach Boys. Singer Jewel later sang the National Anthem.

To honor the 10th anniversary of the Washington Redskins' win in Super Bowl XXII, the only other previous Super Bowl played in San Diego, the game's MVP Doug Williams and former head coach Joe Gibbs participated during the coin toss ceremony. They were joined by the recently retired, longtime college football head coach Eddie Robinson, who ran the Grambling State University Tigers football team from 1942 until 1997.

The halftime show was titled "A Tribute to Motown's 40th Anniversary" and featured Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves and The Temptations.

Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman returned the opening kickoff 19 yards to the Green Bay 24-yard line. On the third play of the drive, quarterback Brett Favre kept the offense on the field by completing a 13-yard pass to Freeman on third down and 9. Then running back Dorsey Levens rushed the ball on three consecutive plays, gaining 27 yards to advance to the Denver 35-yard line. Favre finished the drive with two completions to Freeman: the first one for 13 yards and the second one a 22-yard touchdown pass to give the Packers a 7–0 lead (the Packers were the third team to take the opening kickoff down the field and score a touchdown on that drive. The other two being Miami in Super Bowl VIII and San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIX).

The Broncos stormed right back with a touchdown of their own. Denver running back Vaughn Hebron returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to their own 42-yard line. Denver then drove to the Green Bay 46-yard line. On third down, a holding penalty on Packers defensive back Doug Evans nullified quarterback John Elway's incompletion and gave the Broncos a first down. On the next play, running back Terrell Davis ran the ball 27 yards to the 14-yard line. Then after a 2-yard run by Davis, Elway scrambled 10-yards to gain a first down at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, Davis capped off the 10-play, 58-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game (this was the first Super Bowl in which both teams scored TDs on their opening drives).

On the second play of the Packers next possession, Denver defensive back Tyrone Braxton intecepted a pass from Favre at Green Bay's 45-yard line. Aided by 5 runs by Davis, the Broncos marched 45 yards to score on Elway's 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, taking a 14–7 lead.

Elway's touchdown play involved a fake handoff to Davis, who was previously taken out of the game during the drive because the onset of a migraine headache had severely impaired his vision. But head coach Mike Shanahan decided to send him into the game for the third down play, believing that the Packers would not be fooled by a fake handoff without Davis on the field. Davis later said his vision was so impaired that he was afraid Elway would call an audible at the line and try to hand him the ball. Despite his blurred vision, Davis perfectly executed the play and Green Bay defenders were fooled just enough to allow Elway to score. By the second half, Davis had taken migraine medication and his vision had returned to normal, allowing him to play the rest of the game.

On the Packers ensuing possession, Broncos safety Steve Atwater forced a fumble while sacking Favre, and defensive end Neil Smith recovered the ball on the Packers 33-yard line. Although the Broncos were unable to get a first down, kicker Jason Elam made a 51-yard field goal, the second longest in Super Bowl history, to increase Denver's lead to 17-7. Both teams went three-and-out on their next possessions, and Denver punter Tom Rouen's 47-yard kick planted Green Bay at their own 5-yard line with 7:38 left in the quarter. But Green Bay stormed down the field on their ensuing drive, marching 95 yards in 17 plays and scoring with Favre's 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Chmura with just 12 seconds left in the half. Thus by halftime, the Broncos held onto a slim 17–14 lead.

Green Bay kicked to Denver to start the 2nd half. On the first play after the second half kickoff, Green Bay defensive back Tyrone Williams forced and recovered a fumble from Davis at the Broncos 26-yard line. Green Bay's offense took possession deep in Denver territory, but Denver's defense forced a "three and out." However, Denver was called for an offside penalty on the field goal attempt following the three and out, giving Green Bay a new set of downs. Green Bay had 1st and 10 inside the Broncos twenty yard line, but again, Denver forced a second consecutive "three and out" and Green Bay had to settle for field goal from the 9-yard line. This series marked a "six and out" forced by Denver's Defense, tying the game at 17–17 on Ryan Longwell's 27-yard field goal.

Green Bay kicked off once again and Denver's offense stalled, forcing a punt, giving the Packers good field position again near their 40 yard line. But for a third consecutive time, Denver's defense forced a "three and out." On the ensuing punt, again Denver's special teams was called for an offside penalty, giving Green Bay a fresh set of downs near midfield. Once again, Denver's defense forced a "three and out" for a fourth consecutive time. Marking back to back "six and outs" by Denver's defense to begin the second half to keep the score tied at 17–17.

Later in the quarter, Green Bay punter Craig Hentrich's 51-yard kick pinned the Broncos back at their own 8-yard line. But the Packers defense could not stop Denver as they marched on a 13-play, 92-yard drive to regain the lead. Aided by a 36-yard reception by receiver Ed McCaffrey, the Broncos advanced to the Green Bay 12-yard line. Then on third down, Elway scrambled for an 8-yard run and dove for the first down, a play in which he was hit so hard that he spun sideways through the air (This run has been later referred to as "The Helicopter"). Many consider The Helicopter as Elway's defining career moment and the defining moment of Super Bowl XXXII. Two plays later, Davis scored another 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Bronocs the lead, 24–17.

On the ensuing kick off, Denver's special teams player Detron Smith ran full speed into the wedge of the Green Bay blockers, forcing Antonio Freeman outside, to his left. Freeman was hit as he held the ball exposed running side ways and fumbled, Denver defensive back Tim McKyer recovered the ball at the Packers 22-yard line. Immediately the Broncos tried to capitalize on the turnover by trying to throw for a touchdown, a pass intended for Rod Smith as he ran a post pattern following a fake handoff and a roll out by Elway, but Packers safety Eugene Robinson intercepted Elway's pass in the end zone and returned it to the 15-yard line.

After the interception, the Packers marched 85 yards in just 4 plays, 3 of them receptions by Freeman, to tie it up once again 1:28 into the fourth quarter with Freeman's 13-yard touchdown catch. On the scoring play, Packers receivers Anotio Freeman and Robert Brooks ran a "criss-cross" pattern, with Antonio Freeman on the inside running towards the sidelines. Denver Defensive back Darrion Gordon hesitated as to which to cover and Farve hit Freeman for the score.

Both teams' defense tightened up, and the clubs exchanged punts twice. With Green Bay pinned at their own 10-yard line, Hentrich then kicked the ball 39 yards to the Packers 49-yard line with 3:27 left in the game. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Packers linebacker Darius Holland committed a 15-yard facemask penalty while tackling Davis on a 2-yard run, moving the ball to the 32-yard line. Two plays later, Elway completed a 23-yard pass to fullback Howard Griffith. A holding penalty pushed the Broncos back to the 18-yard line, but then Davis rushed 17 yards to the 1-yard line and the Broncos called a timeout. This left the Broncos facing second and goal with 1:47 left on the clock. The Packers had two timeouts remaining.

Packers coach Mike Holmgren told his team to let the Broncos score to maximize the time the Packers would have on the clock for a potentially game-tying drive. He admitted later that he had thought that it was first and goal rather than second and goal, crucial to clock management decision making on the play. Davis did score his third rushing touchdown on second and goal, leaving 1:45 on the clock. The Broncos now had a one touchdown lead, at 31–24.

The Packers attempted one final drive to try to tie the game before the end of regulation and send the contest into overtime. Freeman returned the Broncos kickoff 22 yards to the 30-yard line, and the Packers advanced to the Broncos' 35-yard line with 1:04 left in the game with a pair of completions from Favre to Levens for gains of 22 and 13 yards on the next 2 plays. After a 4-yard pass to Levens, Favre's next 2 passes fell incomplete. Then on fourth down, Denver linebacker John Mobley broke up a pass intended for Chmura, enabling the Broncos to take the ball back and run out the clock for the victory.

During the post-game victory celebration, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen held the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the air and said, "This one's for John," referring to the fact that Elway's long quest for a Super Bowl victory was finally complete.

Elway finished the game with 12 out of 22 pass completions, for 123 yards and 1 interception. Elway became the sixth player to score touchdowns in three different Super Bowls, joining Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Kurt Warner. He was also the Broncos second leading rusher behind Davis with 17 rushing yards and a touchdown on 5 carries. Terrell Davis is the only player to rush for three touchdowns in a Super Bowl, and the only non-49er to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl. Roger Craig, Jerry Rice and Ricky Watters are the only other players to do so. Rice had 3 touchdown catches in two different Super Bowls. Davis' three touchdowns in the Super Bowl gave him a total of 48 points (8 touchdowns) during the postseason, an NFL record.

Levens was Green Bay's leading rusher with 90 rushing yards, and was their second leading receiver with 56 yards on 6 pass receptions. Both Freeman and Favre had outstanding performances for the second Super Bowl game in a row. Favre completed 25 out of 42 passes for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception. Freeman caught 9 passes for 126 yards, 2 touchdowns receptions, and also gained another 104 yards on 6 kickoff returns, giving him 230 total yards, the third highest total in Super Bowl history. Freeman also tied himself for second all-time in touchdown catches in Super Bowls with three, joining Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Cliff Branch. (Jerry Rice has the most with eight). He also became just the third player to have at least 100 yards receiving in back-to-back Super Bowls, joining Rice and Stallworth.

Denver became the first team to score on four one-yard touchdown runs in a Super Bowl. The Packers also became the third, and most recent, defending Super Bowl champion to lose the Super Bowl, joining the Dallas Cowboys (won Super Bowl XII, lost Super Bowl XIII) and the Washington Redskins (won Super Bowl XVII, lost Super Bowl XVIII).

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Terrell Davis

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Terrell Lamar Davis (born October 28, 1972 in San Diego, California) is a former American football running back who played for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League from 1995 to 2001. Davis was drafted by the Broncos in the sixth round (196th pick overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft. Davis is the Denver Broncos all-time leading rusher, with 7,607 rushing yards. When he played, he was often referred to as T.D., by players, fans and the media. The phrase, "T.D. for T.D.," was frequently used, as well (Davis' initials, T.D., are also an abbreviation for "touchdown").

Son of Joe and Kateree Davis, Terrell was the youngest of six children, (all boys) and grew up in San Diego, California. He picked up the game of football at the age of seven when he played for the local Pop Warner league. While there, he was a dominant force at running back, earning him the nickname "Boss Hogg". To earn money, Terrell was a paperboy and delivered the San Diego Union-Tribune from the age of five to his sophomore year of high school. Terrell didn't play football again until his junior year of high school after he transferred from Morse High School to Lincoln Prep (the same high school fellow Super Bowl MVP, Marcus Allen attended). As a junior, he was listed as a fourth string running back, and decided to play nose tackle to get playing time. In his senior year, the coaches gave him a chance at fullback, in a three back formation. He was also given playing time in other positions, including kicker, and helped lead his team to a 12-2 record. Terrell also set the Lincoln Prep record in the discus throw as a member of the track team. After graduation, Terrell went on to play football at Long Beach State University. His brother Reggie Webb was a tailback there before him, and he persuaded the school to grant Terrell a scholarship.

At Long Beach State, Davis joined the football team that was coached by former Washington Redskins coach George Allen. The coaches didn't think he was ready to play, so he was redshirted his freshman year in order to give him an extra year of eligibility. Davis never got to play a real game for coach Allen, because Allen died after the end of 1990 season. Davis played the following season and rushed for 262 yards on 55 carries. Long Beach State eliminated its football program due to budget concerns at the end of the 1991 season, ending in a dismal 2–9 record. Davis wanted to continue playing, so he needed to find another school to transfer to. The University of Georgia and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) encouraged Davis to join their teams. Davis' first choice was UCLA, but since they didn't offer him a scholarship, he chose Georgia. During his first season at Georgia for the Bulldogs, Davis played backup to Garrison Hearst, one of the leading rushers in college football and a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. After Hearst graduated, Davis became the top running back during the 1993 season, and rushed for 824 yards on 167 carries. Davis' senior season at Georgia got off to a rocky start when he aggravated a tear in his hamstring muscle against Tennessee early in the season, which took him out of the lineup for three games. Davis claims coach Ray Goff never liked him and forced him to practice while injured, which led to his torn hamstring. Davis ran for only 445 yards on 67 carries that year, but in his last two games, he rushed for 113 and 121 yards respectively. Those totals got him invited to the Blue-Gray Football Classic game, after another senior running back couldn't play. Davis' reputation for being injury-prone hurt his standing in the NFL draft, along with the fact that Coach Goff denied scouts game film of Davis.

Davis graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer Economics.

In 1995, then newly-appointed Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan drafted Terrell Davis in the 6th Round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Davis entered training camp as the sixth string tailback and was a long shot to even make the team. He managed to impress the Broncos coaching staff after his second pre-season game, most notably with a crushing hit as a member of special teams. Davis kept improving with each pre-season game and was promoted to starting running back for the season's opening game. With Davis at running back, the Broncos possessed the potent running attack that they had previously lacked. Davis started 14 games during the 1995 season, carrying the ball 237 times, averaging 4.7 yards per run, and scoring eight touchdowns. Davis finished his season with a total of 1,117 rushing yards, becoming the lowest drafted player to ever gain over 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season.

In 1996, Davis signed a lucrative new five-year contract with the Broncos that was worth $6.8 million. That season, he rushed for a total of 1,538 yards and set a Denver Broncos record for rushing touchdowns with 13. The Broncos ended that season with a 13–3 record, tied with the Green Bay Packers for the best in the NFL that year.

Davis was instrumental in the Broncos postseason wins during the 1997 season and their victory over the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. In their Wild Card playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Davis set franchise records with the most carries (31), rushing yards (184) and rushing touchdowns (2). Then, against the Kansas City Chiefs, the 1997 AFC West champions, Davis rushed for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries, vaulting Denver to a 14–10 victory and into the AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Against Pittsburgh, Davis posted his third straight 100-yard game, rushing for 139 yards and scoring his 5th postseason touchdown. His efforts assisted the Broncos to victory and launched him into second place for most rushing yards in a single postseason.

In the Super Bowl, Davis rushed for 157 yards, caught 2 passes for 8 yards, and became the first player in Super Bowl history ever to score 3 rushing touchdowns. This performance earned him MVP honors despite having to sit out the second quarter due to a migraine, which he is a sufferer of.

Davis' 8 touchdowns in his three playoff games and the Super Bowl gave him a total of 48 points, the most ever scored in a single postseason. This record would stand until surpassed by kicker Adam Vinatieri's 49 points in the 2006–07 postseason.

In 1998, Davis rushed for 2,008 yards, then the third highest rushing total in history. This performance earned him league MVP honors, his third straight AFC rushing title, his first NFL rushing title, and his second time being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. At the end of the season, the Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, with Davis recording 102 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards.

Super Bowl XXXIII was the last postseason game Davis would play in. In his 8 postseason games from 1996 to 1998, his numbers were staggering: 204 carries for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 19 receptions for 131 yards. This included a streak of 7 consecutive games with over 100 rushing yards, all of which the Broncos won, breaking the previous record for consecutive 100 rushing yard postseason games held by John Riggins (6). Even in the sole playoff game in which Davis didn't gain 100 rushing yards, he still had an impressive performance, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown and catching 7 passes for 27 yards.

Terrell Davis was nominated to the Pro Bowl in the 1996, ’97, and ’98 seasons. Nicknamed “TD,” Davis popularized the “Mile High Salute,” a military-style salute given to fans and teammates in celebration of a touchdown.

After the 1998 season, Davis was plagued with injuries and saw action infrequently. In 1999, Davis tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament of his right knee while trying to make a tackle on an interception thrown against the New York Jets, during the fourth game of the season. This injury kept him out for the remainder of the year.

In 2000, Davis was sidelined for all but five games because of a stress reaction injury in his lower leg. In 2001, he only played in eight games because of arthroscopic surgery on both knees.

Davis retired during the preseason of 2002. He walked through the tunnel in uniform for the final time during a preseason Denver-San Francisco 49ers matchup held at Invesco Field at Mile High. To a standing ovation, he gave a mile-high salute to the fans and was hugged by his teammates. After walking to midfield as the lone Broncos player at the coin toss, Davis retreated to the sideline. He spent the second half in street clothes. The following week, upon his request, he was placed on injured reserve, ending his season and effectively ending his career.

Through his first four seasons, Davis rushed for 6,413 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 56 touchdowns. Among the 24 modern-era Hall of Fame halfbacks and fullbacks, only Earl Campbell (6,457, 4.6 yards per carry) and Eric Dickerson (6,968, 4.8 yards per carry) had more rushing yards during their first four seasons; no member of the Hall of Fame matched Davis’ first-four-season 56 rushing touchdowns. Davis was selected for ESPN's All-Time 40-Man Super Bowl roster as a running back for his performances in Super Bowls XXXII & XXXIII.

Overall, Davis finished his 7 NFL seasons with 7,607 rushing yards, 169 receptions for 1,280 yards, and 65 touchdowns (60 rushing and 5 receiving). He is also one of two Broncos (the other being John Elway) to be named league MVP.

Davis currently resides in Temecula, California. He wrote an autobiography titled "TD: Dreams in Motion" after his first Super Bowl victory. A chapter was later added to the book covering his NFL MVP season and second championship win.

Davis was on the cover of the video game NFL GameDay 99 by 989 Sports. He also made an appearance in Madden NFL 2006, serving as the player's mentor in the new NFL Superstar Mode.

In 2004, Davis was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

Davis was one of the semifinalists for the 2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

On July 27, 2007, it was announced that Davis would be inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. His induction ceremony took place at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 23, 2007, in a Broncos home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Davis currently serves as an analyst on the NFL Network's NFL Total Access to give a player's perspective on NFL issues.

Davis appeared on Sesame Street in a skit with Elmo and a talking football. Elmo called Davis "the man" and Davis responded, "Thank you, thank you. I try!" It was revealed on America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions that he was supposed to film the episode after a game against the New York Giants in New York City. However, instead, he had to fly back to Denver to practice after the game and then fly back to New York to film the episode.

Davis guest-starred on Disney Channel's The Jersey, in an episode called "They Say It's Your Birthday" along with other sports stars Shannon Sharpe, Tim Brown, Hardy Nickerson and Tony Siragusa. The episode originally aired on October 21, 2000.

Davis appeared on an episode of Sister, Sister at the twins' graduation to give a speech.

Davis appeared on the August 29, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report to analyze the acceptance speech given by U.S. Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama at Invesco Field at Mile High a day earlier.

In 2001, Davis was named in the Atlanta's Gold Club federal prostitution, fraud and racketeering trial. The owner, Steve Kaplan, initially denied accusations of arranging dancers for athletes, claiming that he was unaware of any sexual encounters. Employee Jana Pelnis testified that she had sex with Davis in the club. Kaplan later pleaded guilty and was fined $5 million. A sentence of three years in jail was also put on the table, but Kaplan instead received a sentence of 16 months and 400 hours of community service. Davis was never charged with any criminal wrongdoing. However, Campbell Soups dropped him from their advertising shortly thereafter.

In September 2006, Davis filed a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. for breach of contract over its refusal to defend him in a lawsuit related to a tussle at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. A judge dismissed Davis' suit against Liberty Mutual in January 2007 after both parties reached a settlement. In the lawsuit against the Roosevelt, Davis claimed he was roughed up by two bouncers during a party at the hotel's Tropicana Bar in October 2005. Davis said he suffered a bruised neck and damage to a surgically repaired hip.

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2007 Denver Broncos season

The 2007 Denver Broncos season was the 48th season for the team in the National Football League. A loss to the Houston Texans in Week 15 and a win by the San Diego Chargers the following Sunday knocked them out of playoff contention, marking the second year in a row they failed to make the playoffs. The Broncos' 7-9 record was the worst since 1999, their last losing season (when they went 6-10).

This was head coach Mike Shanahan's 13th year (1995 to present) with the Broncos. Joining him was Mike Heimerdinger & Jim Bates as assistant head coaches, Rick Dennison as offensive coordinator, Bob Slowik as defensive coordinator and Scott O'Brien as special teams coordinator.

The 2006-2007 off-season began as two members of the team died in less than two months after the season ended. Cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in his H2 limousine on New Years Day, just a few hours after the Broncos last game of the 2006 season. Soon after, Broncos 3rd string running back Damien Nash collapsed and died in a pick-up basketball game.

The Broncos traded running back Tatum Bell and offensive tackle George Foster to the Detroit Lions for former Pro Bowl cornerback Dre' Bly to compensate for the unfortunate loss of Williams. In addition to the trade for Bly, the Broncos had made a trade to the Miami Dolphins for Dan Wilkinson, only to have that trade voided because Wilkinson did not show up to Denver for his scheduled physical.

Denver added running back Travis Henry, fullback Thump Belton, and tight end Daniel Graham through free agency. The team released linebacker Al Wilson during the month of April for health and salary cap reasons.

Denver also signed backup WR Brandon Stokley from the Indianapolis Colts and P/Kickoff Specialist Todd Sauerbrun.

Signed K Brandon Pace (Virginia Tech) and C Mark Fenton (Colorado) on May 7. Released OL Tim Duckworth on May 7.

The Broncos started strong in the preseason, beating San Francisco 17-13. Jay Cutler led a 67-yard scoring drive on one of his only series for the Broncos, and new Running Back Travis Henry punched in another touchdown. Back-up Quarterback Patrick Ramsey played most of the game. The previous match-up between Denver and the San Francisco 49ers was the last game of the 2006-2007 season, when the 49ers beat Denver in overtime, 26-23, and kept them from entering the play-offs.

In game two, The Broncos were in Texas to play the Dallas Cowboys. The game had a lot of buzz, due to the pairing of Dallas wide-receiver Terrell Owens and Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. Also, the mother of Darrent Williams attended the game.

The Bills scored first on a 74 yard kick return by Roscoe Parrish. Denver then answered with a 10 play drive that led to a field goal by Jason Elam, making it 7-3.

In the second quarter Denver scored first with a 48 yard field goal. Bills kicker Rian Lindell then missed a 45 yard field goal. The Broncos drove deep into Bills territory at the close of the half but Cutler threw an interception to end the drive. The Bills then drove into Denver territory and tried a long field goal but failed due to a false start, then ended the half with an interception thrown to Elvis Dumervil.

On the opening kickoff for the second half, a scary injury occurred to Bills TE Kevin Everett, as he suffered a cervical spine injury while making a tackle on Domenik Hixon. Everett later underwent surgery that day and is currently in intensive care. He does have feeling and partial movement in his extremities and it is believed he will walk again.

The Broncos began the second half with a drive that ended with a missed 50 yard field goal. The Bills then made a nine play drive that ended with a 23 yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch. The Broncos responded with a drive ending with a touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. They then attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion but failed with an incomplete pass to Javon Walker.

The fourth quarter had little scoring. Elam missed a field goal, but the Bills failed to score or run out the clock, giving Denver the ball with a little over two minutes to play. After an ill-advised lateral bounced free, (saved by rookie back Selvin Young smartly batting the loose ball out of bounds) the Bronco's faced a seemingly insurmountable 3rd and 23 to go. Cutler immediately turned in the best clutch performance of his NFL career to date, one that drew comparisons to John Elway by both sportswriters and teammates.

Cutler's drive included two fourth down conversions to drive deep into Bills' territory, where, with no time outs, they rushed the field goal unit onto the field with ten seconds left and the clock ticking down. Execution by the field goal unit allowed Jason Elam to kick the game winning 42 yard field goal just as the clock ticked to 0:00. Buffalo ended up leading the game for over 51 minutes of the contest. Denver lead for one second.

In the first quarter, the Broncos were the first to score with a nine yard touchdown pass from Cutler to WR Brandon Stokley after taking the ball from the Raiders with an interception by Alex Ludwig. The second quarter began with another interception by Marcus Thomas after a deflection by John Lynch. The game was then halted due to lightning, but resumed after several minutes. Denver failed to capitalize however, with Cutler throwing an interception that led to a Raider field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. Later however the Broncos capitalized on a 40 yard run by Selvin Young, finishing the drive with a 4 yard touchdown by Cecil Sapp. The Broncos then forced a punt by Oakland and drove for a 23 yard field goal by Elam, putting them up 17-3 at the half.

Denver began the second half with a drive that ended with a missed field goal by Elam. The Raiders responded with a 46 yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Jerry Porter. They then kicked an onside kick which they recovered but failed to drive due to penalties. However Gerard Warren then sacked Cutler in the end zone for a safety to begin the fourth quarter.

Oaklend punted on their next possession, but Cutler threw an interception to Thomas Howard who returned it 44 yards for a score. Oakland made a two-point conversion, making it 20-17 Oakland. Later in the quarter Elam kicked a 20 yard field goal with 2:12 in time remaining to tie to score at 20-20. The Raiders failed to score, throwing an interception to Dre Bly to send the game into overtime.

The Broncos won the coin toss to get the ball first in overtime, but failed to score, punting it to Oakland. Raider Lamont Jordan then broke a 33 yard run to set up a 52 yard field goal attempt by Janikowski. Denver called time out just before the Raiders got the snap off and so Janikowski's successful kick did not count. On his next attempt he hooked it left, giving Denver the ball. The Broncos then drove to the Oakland 4 yard line, then kicked a game winning field goal by Elam.

Following their OT win over the Raiders, the Broncos stayed at home for an intraconference duel with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a scoreless first quarter, Denver trailed early as Jaguars QB David Garrard completed a 3-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Williams. The Broncos would tie the game with QB Jay Cutler completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Nate Jackson. However, Jacksonville would take the lead with FB Greg Jones getting a 4-yard TD run, while kicker John Carney nailed a 19-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Denver continued to trail as the Jaguars increased its lead with Carney's 27-yard field goal, which was the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos attempted a comeback with RB Travis Henry getting a 6-yard TD run. However, Jacksonville sealed their win with Carney kicking a 18-yard field goal.

With the loss, Denver fell to 2-1.

Hoping to rebound from their home loss to the Jaguars, the Broncos flew to the RCA Dome for an intraconference fight with the defending-Super Bowl champions, the Indianapolis Colts. In the first quarter, Denver galloped to an early lead with kicker Jason Elam getting a 35-yard field goal, along with QB Jay Cutler (Indiana native) complete a 7-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall. In the second quarter, the Colts responded with RB Joseph Addai got a 14-yard TD run. The Broncos replied with Elam kicking a 22-yard field goal, yet Indianapolis took the lead with QB Peyton Manning completing a 9-yard TD pass to TE Dallas Clark.

In the third quarter, Denver began to struggle as Manning got a 1-yard TD run, along with completing a 3-yard TD pass to Clark. The Broncos got close with Cutler getting a 2-yard TD run. However, in the fourth quarter, the Colts sealed their win with Manning completing a 5-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne, along with kicker Adam Vinatieri nailing a 22-yard field goal.

With their second-straight loss, Denver fell to 2-2.

Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Colts, the Broncos went home for a Week 5 divisional duel with the San Diego Chargers. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as Chargers QB Philip Rivers got a 2-yard TD run, while LB Brandon Siler returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, the Chargers continued its offensive revival with kicker Nate Kaeding getting a 26-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Broncos would get their only score of the game, as kicker Jason Elam got a 30-yard field goal. San Diego would end the half with Kaeding nailing a 45-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Denver continued to get pounded with Rivers completing a 9-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates and a 15-yard TD pass to WR Vincent Jackson. In the fourth quarter, San Diego sealed their victory with RB Michael Turner getting a 74-yard TD run for the only score of the period.

With their third-straight loss, not only did the Broncos fall to 2-3 entering their bye week, but the loss marked their worse home loss since losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 56-10 on Oct. 23, 1966. The 38-point deficit also marked Denver's worst home loss since the AFL-NFL merger.

Coming off their bye week, the Broncos stayed at home for a Sunday night intraconference duel with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Heath Miller. Denver would respond with QB Jay Cutler completing a 15-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Stokley. In the second quarter, the Broncos took the lead with Cutler's 1-yard TD pass to FB Cecil Sapp, along with rookie DE Tim Crowder returning a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown.

In the third quarter, the Steelers tried to comeback with Roethlisberger completing a 13-yard TD pass to WR Santonio Holmes. Fortunately, Denver answered with Cutler completing a 1-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler. In the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh managed to tie the game with Roethlisberger completing a 13-yard TD pass to TE Matt Spaeth and a 12-yard TD pass to Miller. Fortunately, kicker Jason Elam came through for the third time this year as he nailed the game-winning 49-yard field goal.

With their three-game skid snapped, the Broncos improved to 3-3.

Coming off their Sunday night home win over the Steelers, the Broncos stayed at home for a Monday Night interconference fight with the Green Bay Packers. In the first quarter, Denver took the early lead with QB Jay Cutler completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler. The Packers would respond with QB Brett Favre completing a 79-yard TD pass to WR James Jones. In the second quarter, Green Bay took the lead with kicker Mason Crosby getting a 19-yard and a 26-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Broncos began to rally as kicker Jason Elam got a 45-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Denver managed to get a last-second 21-yard field goal from Elam to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, on the Packers' first play of the period, Favre sealed the win with an 82-yard TD pass to WR Greg Jennings.

With the loss, not only did the Broncos fall to 3-4, but it also marked the first time in franchise history that they lost to Green Bay at home.

Hoping to rebound from their Monday Night loss to the Packers, the Broncos flew to Ford Field for a Week 9 interconference duel with the Detroit Lions. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as Lions kicker Jason Hanson managed to get a 43-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Broncos continued to struggle as Hanson gave Detroit a 53-yard field goal, while QB Jon Kitna completed a 15-yard TD pass to WR Mike Furrey. The Lions would end the half with Hanson kicking a 38-yard field goal. Even worse, starting QB Jay Cutler (3/4 for 20 yards) would leave the game with a lower left leg injury.

In the third quarter, Detroit continued to destroy Denver as DE Dewayne White returned a fumble 3 yards for a touchdown, while Kitna completed a 49-yard TD pass to WR Shaun McDonald. In the fourth quarter, the Lions finished their job as NT Shaun Rogers returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown, while RB T. J. Duckett got a 3-yard TD run. The Broncos would prevent a shutout as QB Patrick Ramsey completed a 2-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Stokely.

With the loss, Denver fell to 3-5.

This would be the second time this year that the Broncos lost by at least 37 points.

Trying to snap a two-game losing skid, the Broncos flew to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC West duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, Denver drew first blood with kicker Jason Elam getting a 44-yard field goal. The Chiefs would respond with kicker Dave Rayner getting a 38-yard field goal. In the second quarter, the Broncos trailed as K.C. Safety Bernard Pollard blocked a punt that was deep in Denver territory. The ball would roll out the back of the endzone for a safety. The Broncos would respond with Elam kicking a 50-yard field goal. However, the Chiefs would regain the lead prior to halftime as Rayner kicked a 36-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Denver retook the lead as rookie RB Selvin Young got a 20-yard TD run, along with LB Nate Webster returning a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown. Kansas City would answer with Rayner nailing a 39-yard field goal. Fortunately, in the fourth quarter, the Broncos closed out the game with QB Jay Cutler completing an 18-yard TD pass to TE Daniel Graham.

With the win, not only did Denver improve to 4-5, but it also marked their first win at Arrowhead Stadium since 2002.

Coming off an impressive divisional road win over the Chiefs, the Broncos went home for a Week 11 Monday Night intraconference duel with the Tennessee Titans. In the first quarter, Denver drew first blood with QB Jay Cutler completing a 48-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Stokley, along with WR/PR Glenn Martinez returning a punt 80 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, the Titans got on the board with QB Vince Young completing a 21-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Jones. Afterwards, the Broncos regained some of their lead with kicker Jason Elam getting a 21-yard and a 39-yard field goal. Tennessee would end the half with kicker Rob Bironas getting a 56-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Denver responded with Cutler completing a 41-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall. The Titans would reply with Young getting a 4-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee drew closer as Bironas nailed a 37-yard field goal. Fortunately, the Broncos got the victory with rookie RB Andre Hall getting a 62-yard TD run.

With the win, Denver improved to 5-5.

Coming off their home win over the Titans, the Broncos flew to Soldier Field for a Week 12 interconference duel with the Chicago Bears. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as Bears kicker Robbie Gould managed to get a 24-yard field goal. The Broncos would reply with kicker Jason Elam getting a 23-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Denver took the lead with rookie RB Andre Hall getting a 16-yard TD run, while Chicago replied with Gould kicking a 44-yard field goal. The Broncos would end the half with Elam kicking a 22-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Denver lost its lead as WR/KR/PR Devin Hester returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos would answer with FB Cecil Sapp getting a 5-yard TD run, but the Bears immediately struck back as Hester returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Denver would regain the lead as Cutler completed a 68-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos increased their lead with Cutler completing a 14-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler. However, Chicago tied the game with RB Adrian Peterson getting a 4-yard TD run, while QB Rex Grossman completed a 3-yard TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian. In overtime, the Bears sealed Denver's fate as Gould nailed the game-winning 39-yard field goal.

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 5-6.

Coming off their embarrassing road loss to the Bears, the Broncos went to home McAfee Coliseum for an AFC West rematch with the Oakland Raiders. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as QB Josh McCown completed a 15-yard TD pass to WR Tim Dwight. The Broncos replied with RB Travis Henry getting a 4-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Oakland regained the lead with TE Zach Miller for the only score of the period.

In the third quarter, the Raiders continued their domination with kicker Sebastian Janikowski getting a 38-yard field goal, while McCown completed a 13-yard TD pass to WR Jerry Porter. The Broncos continued to try and keep up with kicker Jason Elam getting a 29-yard and a 44-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Denver tried to comeback as Henry got a 3-yard TD run. However, Oakland sealed the win with Janikowski nailing a 44-yard field goal and RB Justin Fargas getting a 5-yard TD run.

With the loss, the Broncos fell to 5-7.

In the game, Denver committed 4 turnovers (2 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles), which is tied as a season-worst for the Broncos.

Trying to snap a two-game skid, the Broncos went home for a Week 14 AFC West rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, Denver drew first first blood as QB Jay Cutler completed a 21-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Stokley, while RB Travis Henry got a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Chiefs would get their only score of the game with QB Brodie Croyle completing a 15-yard TD pass to TE Tony Gonzalez. Afterwards, the Broncos took over as Cutler completed an 8-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall, while kicker Jason Elam managed to get a 37-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Denver pulled away as Elam nailed another 37-yard field goal, while Cutler completed a 2-yard TD pass to TE Daniel Graham, along with a 13-yard TD pass to Marshall.

With the season-sweeping win, the Broncos improved to 6-7.

Also with this win, it improved Denver's divisional home record since 2001 to 18-4.

Coming off their dominating home win over the Chiefs, the Broncos flew to Reliant Stadium for a Thursday night intraconference duel with the Houston Texans. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as QB Sage Rosenfels got a 5-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Broncos would get on the board as kicker Jason Elam managed to get a 41-yard field goal. Houston would respond with kicker Kris Brown getting a 41-yard field goal. Denver would end the half with Elam nailing a 47-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Texans would increase their lead as RB Ron Dayne managed to get a 6-yard TD run. The Broncos would respond with QB Jay Cutler completing a 12-yard TD pass to TE Tony Scheffler. However, in the fourth quarter, Houston sealed the win as Rosenfels completed a 4-yard TD pass to WR Andre Johnson, while FB Vonta Leach got a 1-yard TD run.

With the loss, Denver fell to 6-8.

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2006 Denver Broncos season

The 2006 Denver Broncos season began with the team trying to improve on their 13-3 record and make a return to (at least) the AFC Championship Game as they did in 2005.

In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Broncos traded their number 15 and 68 picks to select Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler at number 11. Their second pick was tight end Tony Scheffler from Western Michigan. They then used their next pick (acquired from the Washington Redskins) on Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The rest of their picks included University of Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil, Akron University wide receiver Domenik Hixon, North Dakota guard Chris Kuper, and University of Minnesota center Greg Eslinger. Denver also traded a second round pick for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Javon Walker. In another big move, they traded WR Ashley Lelie to the Atlanta Falcons and received no less than 3rd and 4th round draft picks. Mike Anderson and Trevor Pryce were both waived due to salary cap issues and were subsequently picked up by the Baltimore Ravens.

The Broncos opened the regular season on the road against the St. Louis Rams on September 10 in the Edward Jones Dome. The game was primarily a defensive battle, with only one touchdown scored in the entire game, and the Rams won 18-10. Jake Plummer struggled throughout the game, throwing 3 interceptions, losing a fumble, and being sacked 4 times, 2 of them by Leonard Little. Tatum Bell also lost a fumble, but ran for 103 yards. Rookie Mike Bell ran for 58 yards and scored the only touchdown in the entire game late in the second quarter on a 1-yard run. Kicker Jeff Wilkins provided all of the scoring for the Rams, making 6 field goals, tying a franchise record, while running back Steven Jackson was one of the few bright spots for the Rams offense, running for 121 yards. The five turnovers by the Broncos was the most for them since the 2000 season.

The Broncos returned to INVESCO Field at Mile High in Week 2 for their home-opener against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. The game turned into another defensive battle, contrary to the typical shootouts the two teams usually have. Not a single touchdown was scored by either team. The Broncos improved on their turnovers, however, with just 1 interception thrown by Jake Plummer, while the Chiefs gave up 2 fumbles. Tatum Bell and Mike Bell combined for 113 yards rushing, while Denver again gave up a 100-yard rusher, allowing Larry Johnson to rush for 126 yards. Neither quarterback was spectacular, both throwing for less than 200 yards. Javon Walker led all receivers with 79 yards. The game was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation, prompting an overtime in which a Jason Elam 39-yard field goal won the game for the Broncos. In 93 games between the two teams, it was both the first to never have a touchdown and also featured the lowest-ever score. It was also only the third time in franchise history that the Broncos did not commit a single penalty.

The Broncos traveled to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Patriots during the Sunday night game on September 24. The game was a rematch of the divisional playoff game of the previous season in which the Broncos beat the Patriots and ended their record 10-game playoff winning streak. The Broncos won 17-7, improving their record to 2-1. The Broncos scored a 23-yard field goal (by kicker Jason Elam) and a touchdown in the second quarter (a 32-yard TD pass from QB Jake Plummer to Javon Walker). Plummer and Walker would hook up for another touchdown in the fourth quarter with an 83-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos held New England to only 50 yards on the ground, while Tatum Bell ran for 123 yards. The Patriots scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Tom Brady threw an 8-yard pass to Doug Gabriel. The Broncos became the first team since the 1942 Chicago Cardinals to begin their season with 11 straight quarters without allowing their opponents to score a touchdown.

The Broncos had a bye week, but moved into a first place tie in the division when the San Diego Chargers lost to the Baltimore Ravens 16-13.

The Baltimore Ravens traveled to INVESCO Field at Mile High for Monday Night Football on October 9. The last time these two teams played, on December 11, 2005, the Broncos won 12-10. The Broncos won 13-3 and improved to 3-1, still tied for first place in the division with the San Diego Chargers.

The Ravens got on the board first when Matt Stover kicked a 24-yard field goal, following a fumble by Broncos RB Tatum Bell. The Broncos responded with a 43-yard field goal of their own by Jason Elam. The Ravens drove deep into Broncos territory late at the end of the first half, but that drive was thwarted as Steve McNair was intercepted by Champ Bailey in the end zone on a pass intended for Clarence Moore. The third quarter was scoreless as the defensive struggle continued. The Broncos controlled the clock in the second half with the running game led by Tatum Bell, who atoned for his fumble in the first quarter by bouncing back with 92 yards rushing. Ravens QB McNair was intercepted again by Darrent Williams, which led to a Jake Plummer to Rod Smith touchdown pass. McNair was intercepted a third time, ending the Ravens' final drive, this time by Domonique Foxworth.

The Oakland Raiders traveled to INVESCO Field at Mile High for Sunday Night Football on October 15. The Raiders arrived in Denver 0-4 while the Broncos began the game tied for first place in their division at 3-1.

This game was again primarily a defensive struggle. Oakland had two turnovers deep in Broncos territory, one an interception thrown by Andrew Walter that was picked off by Champ Bailey, and another a fumble by LaMont Jordan. Neither team was able to do much on offense, with just 1 touchdown scored in the entire game (a run by Tatum Bell) and a total of 274 yards produced by the Raiders and 246 yards by Denver. The only turnover of the game by Denver came on a Darrent Williams fumble on a punt return early in the second half. Jason Elam succeeded on kicks from 51 and 22 yards, while Sebastian Janikowski scored the only points for Oakland on a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter. Randy Moss had 86 yards receiving, while Javon Walker had 75 yards. Both had 1 50+ yard catch to put their teams in scoring position. Tatum Bell was the leading rusher with 83 yards. With the win, the Broncos improved to 4-1.

The Broncos by this point had only allowed 1 touchdown in 52 opponent possessions. In this game they became the first team since the 1934 Detroit Lions to go five games while allowing only one touchdown to be scored against them.

The Broncos traveled to Cleveland Browns Stadium to face the Cleveland Browns in what would again be a primarily defensive struggle. The Broncos again had a 100-yard rusher in Tatum Bell, with 115 yards (and also 1 touchdown), and also had a 100-yard receiver in Javon Walker, with 107 yards. Former Bronco Reuben Droughns was held to just 33 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving (60 yards total). Jake Plummer again struggled, throwing 1 touchdown (to rookie Brandon Marshall, the first of his career), but also 2 interceptions. Although Denver committed 2 turnovers, they also forced three; one interception (by Champ Bailey, making it three consecutive games with an interception) and two fumbles. After Jake Plummer threw his second interception of the day in their own red zone, the Browns scored their only points when Charlie Frye threw a touchdown pass to Joe Jurevicius in the fourth quarter, only the second touchdown allowed by the Broncos all year. It also ended their second 11-quarter streak without a touchdown allowed of the season. Denver at the time had only allowed 44 points all season, the lowest in the league. However, in one of the few items of bad news for the Broncos, left tackle Matt Lepsis suffered a season-ending knee injury. Also, kicker Jason Elam missed just his second field goal of the season in the third quarter.

After the Chargers lost to division rival Kansas CIty, the Broncos took over the AFC West with a 5-1 record.

The Broncos returned to INVESCO Field at Mile High in a highly-anticipated showdown with the Indianapolis Colts and their high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning. Going into the game, Indianapolis was one of just two undefeated teams in the NFL (along with the Chicago Bears) with a 6-0 record.

Unlike the other games the Broncos played up to this point, this game turned into a shootout in the second half, with Peyton Manning playing a nearly flawless game. By the end of the first half, the Broncos had already scored 14 points (3 below their season high up to this point). The Colts scored first, with a 42-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri in the first quarter. The Broncos took a quick lead in the second quarter with two consecutive 80-yard drives for touchdowns; one a 1-yard run by Jake Plummer, his first of the season on running, and the second a 15-yard pass to Javon Walker. The Broncos went into the half leading 14-6 after a 32-yard field goal by Vinatieri.

The Colts responded with a 12-yard touchdown catch by Reggie Wayne in the third quarter. The only turnover of the game came on a Jake Plummer fumble on the next drive by the Broncos, leading to another easy touchdown pass to Wayne, putting the Colts ahead 17-14. A touchdown run by Mike Bell, who was substituting for the slightly injured Tatum Bell, put the Broncos on top again. Each team responded with a touchdown in the fourth quarter, with Bell running for another touchdown and Wayne hauling in another touchdown pass (followed by a 2-point conversion pass that was also caught by Wayne). The 37-yard field goal by Vinatieri with 2 seconds left won the game for the Colts, breaking the tie and allowing them to remain undefeated. He had another 48-yarder earlier in the quarter, while Jason Elam had previously tied the game on a 49-yard field goal.

The game proved to be good for both offenses; while Denver allowed the most points they had all season, they also scored more points than they had all season. Peyton Manning tore up the Broncos defense, throwing for 345 yards (138 by Wayne) on 32/39 passing, and 3 touchdowns (all to Wayne). Denver's powerful run attack (currently third in the league behind the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers) gained 227 yards against the league-worst Colts run defense (including 136 by rookie Mike Bell), but it simply wasn't enough to counter the Colts' powerful offense (which also ran for 93 yards, all by rookie Joseph Addai, a career high).

Denver again moved into a first place tie in the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers as they won their game against the St. Louis Rams.

The Broncos played the Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, in a rematch of the 2005 AFC Championship Game. The Broncos got on the scoreboard quick with Jake Plummer throwing a 16-yard touchdown strike to WR Rod Smith on their first drive of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Steelers fumbled the ball, with the Broncos recovering deep into Steeler's territory. Plummer then threw a 10-yard pass to WR Javon Walker to make the score 14-0. On the next drive, the Steelers got to the Denver 41-yard line when QB Ben Roethlisberger completed a 35-yard pass to WR Cedrick Wilson, who then fumbled the ball and the Broncos recovered.

In the 2nd Quarter, the Steelers dominated play outscoring the Broncos 10-0 on the quarter. Roethlisberger threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to RB Willie Parker for his first touchdown pass of the game. The Steelers were about to score on their next possession when Roethlisberger threw an interception near the endzone to CB Champ Bailey. After the Broncos showed no offense in the quarter, and the Steelers missed a 40-yard field goal, the quarter ended with the Steeler's Jeff Reed kicking a 46-yard field goal.

In the 3rd Quarter, Denver quickly scored with a 72-yard end around run by Javon Walker. On their next drive, the Steelers were driving down the field, when Roethlisberger threw another interception to Champ Bailey near the endzone. Denver was unable to get out of their own endzone after that and punted to the Steelers who scored on the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by Willie Parker.

Denver put the game to an end in the fourth quarter with another 10-yard touchdown pass from Plummer to Walker. This came after the Steelers punted from their own 1-yard line and the Broncos began the series on the Steeler 17-yard line. Both the Steelers and the Broncos scored field goals on their next possessions, the Steelers with a 29-yard field goal and Denver with a 32-yard field goal. Pittsburgh again, down by 11 nearly made it a 4-point game when WR Hines Ward leapt into the end zone, but fumbled from a John Lynch (American football) tackle, whereby the Broncos safety Curome Cox recovered the fumble. On the Steelers next possession, Roethlisberger again threw an interception, this time to Curome Cox, ending the game.

With this win the Broncos remained tied with the Chargers in the AFC West with a 6-2 record.

Following their road victory over the Steelers, the Broncos flew to McAfee Coliseum for an AFC West rematch with the Oakland Raiders. In the first quarter, the Raiders score first with RB LaMont Jordan on a 1-yard TD run. The Broncos would respond with QB Jake Plummer completing a 39-yard TD run with WR Javon Walker. In the second quarter, Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski would get a 55-yard and a 20-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 13-7 halftime lead. After a scoreless third quarter, Denver would score twice in the 4th Quarter with Plummer's 1-yard TD pass to FB Kyle Johnson and Jason Elam kicking a 24-yard field goal. With the win, the Broncos improved to 7-2.

Following their season sweep over the Raiders, the Broncos went home for a Sunday Night match-up with their AFC West rival, the San Diego Chargers. With first place in the division on the line, both sides would play tough. In the first quarter, the Chargers got the only score of the period as LaDainian Tomlinson scored on a 3-yard TD run on a 98-yard drive. In the second quarter, the Broncos took the lead with RB ] getting two 3-yard TD runs. In the third quarter, kicker Jason Elam completed a 42-yard field goal, while CB Darrent Williams returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown.

However, things started getting grim as Tomlinson (who historically had difficulty against the Broncos in Denver) exploded with a 3-yard TD run and a 51-yard TD reception. In the fourth quarter, Elam would get a 38-yard field goal, but San Diego managed to wrap up the game with QB Philip Rivers completing a 5-yard TD pass to WR Vincent Jackson and Tomlinson getting a 1-yard TD run. With the loss, the Broncos fell to 7-3 and second place in the AFC West.

It would later be learned that safety Nick Ferguson had season-ending surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee. He injured his knee after a 1st quarter interception.

The Broncos traveled to Arrowhead Stadium for an AFC West rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs. This was a historic game as NFL Network began their season with a 3rd NFL game on Thanksgiving. In the 1960s, Kansas City hosted three Thanksgiving Day games. For this battle, QB Jake "The Snake" Plummer was fighting for his starting job.

In the first quarter, the Broncos trailed early as K.C.'s Lawrence Tynes kicked a 24-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Denver's defensive problem continued as RB Larry Johnson got a 1-yard TD run. The Broncos would finally score as kicker Jason Elam nailed a 31-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Tynes helped the Chiefs get a 34-yard field goal, while Plummer completed a 1-yard TD pass to TE Stephen Alexander. In the fourth quarter, Tynes gave Kansas City a 29-yard and a 21-yard field goal. The Broncos tried to respond, but K.C.'s improved defense stopped any hope of a comeback. With the loss, Denver fell to 7-4.

Trying to break a two-game losing streak, the Broncos went home for a Sunday Night fight with the Seattle Seahawks. This game would be notable for the NFL debut of QB Jay Cutler. In the first quarter, the Broncos struck first with kicker Jason Elam's 37-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Denver's lead increased with Cutler's 7-yard TD pass to TE Stephen Alexander. However, the Seahawks got into game with DE Darryl Tapp's 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. After a scoreless third quarter, Seattle took control of the game with RB Shaun Alexander's 1-yard TD run, along with kicker Josh Brown's 44-yard and 23-yard field goal. The Broncos responded with a huge play, as Cutler completed a 71-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall. However, Denver's defense couldn't hold off the Seahawks' response, as Brown nailed a 50-yard field goal, spoiling Cutler's debut. With their third-straight loss, the Broncos fell to 7-5.

Hoping to snap a three-game losing streak and give rookie QB Jay Cutler his first NFL win, the Broncos flew to Qualcomm Stadium for an AFC West rematch with the San Diego Chargers. In the first quarter, Denver trailed early as QB Philip Rivers completed a 12-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates, while FB Lorenzo Neal got a 4-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Broncos managed to get on the board with kicker Jason Elam's 34-yard field goal. However, San Diego's dominance continued with RB LaDainian Tomlinson's 1-yard TD run, along with a 7-yard TD pass from Rivers to Gates. In the third quarter, the Broncos showed some signs of life as Cutler completed a 28-yard TD pass and an 11-yard TD pass to rookie TE Tony Scheffler, while Elam nailed a 33-yard field goal. However, in the fourth quarter, the Chargers pulled away with kicker Nate Kaeding's 34-yard and 35-yard field goal, while Tomlinson broke the single-season TD record with a 6-yard and a 7-yard TD run. With their fourth-straight defeat, Denver fell to 7-6.

Broncos' fans were given several reasons to hope for the future during this road win against the similarly rookie quarterback led Cardinals. Denver scored first on a Javon Walker 54-yard pass from Jay Cutler in the 3rd minute of the first quarter. They scored again in the 6th minute of the first quarter on a 30-yard field goal compliments of Jason Elam. Elam tacked on another 3 in the second minute of the second quarter from 22 yards. The Cardinals got on the board in the 6th minute of the second quarter with a field goal from Neil Rackers. They scored again in the 7th minute on a fumble return for a touchdown by Antonio Smith for 4 yards after Tatum Bell lost the ball. Elam struck again from 30 yards in the 14th minute of the 2nd quarter. Denver went on to score 3 more TDs. One in the third on a 10-yard pass to Rod Smith and two more in the fourth both on 1-yard carries from Mike Bell. Arizona scored on an FG in the third from 38 yards compliments of Rackers and then on a touchdown in the fourth on a four-yard carry by Edgerrin James. The Broncos improved to 8-6 while the Cardinals fell to 4-10.

Play-off Implications: Jay Cutler replacing Jake Plummer for his third regular season start had an impressive game with 21 completions on 31 attempts for 261 yards total. He had two TD passes and 1 interception. The run game while not impressive by Broncos' standards (106 yards team total with Mike Bell leading Tatum Bell (28 yards), with 61 yards on 16 carries) did provide enough of a threat to allow Cutler opportunities to make plays. After the Broncos' relatively stagnant last four games any semblance of an offensive rhythm is encouraging. The win in Arizona kept Bronco play-off hopes alive and set up an exciting must-win situation against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 16. The Broncos can clinch a wild card playoff berth with a win against the Bengals and a loss by the KC Chiefs along with a loss by either the NY Jets or the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Following their road victory over the Cardinals, the Broncos went home for a snowy Christmas Eve fight with the Cincinnati Bengals. In the first quarter, the Bengals struck first with RB Rudi Johnson's 6-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Denver struck back with QB Jay Cutler completing a 1-yard TD pass to rookie TE Tony Scheffler and a 39-yard TD pass to WR Javon Walker. However, Cincinnati responded with kicker Shayne Graham's 46-yard field goal and QB Carson Palmer's 11-yard TD pass to WR Chris Henry. In the second half, the Broncos took the lead with RB Mike Bell's 2-yard TD run in the third quarter and kicker Jason Elam's 24-yard field goal. Late in the game, the Bengals almost tied the game with Palmer completing a 10-yard TD pass to WR T. J. Houshmandzadeh. Fortunately, a botched snap resulted in failed PAT, giving Denver a one-point win. With the win, the Broncos improved to 9-6.

To close off their season, the Broncos went into their last game of the regular season needing a win or a tie to make the playoffs. Coach Mike Shanahan went on record as saying he preferred it that way -- he believed it would motivate his team to play well. Oddsmakers apparently believed so, too; the Broncos went in an 11-point favorite.

Denver looked strong early and led the visiting 49ers 13-3 at halftime, but San Francisco used a stingy goal-line defense and a heavy dose of NFC rushing champ Frank Gore to take a lead late into the second half. Cornerback Darrent Williams (playing in what would tragically be his final game) also left the game in the second half due to a shoulder injury. With just 90 seconds left on the clock, rookie QB Jay Cutler tossed a nine-yard touchdown to tie the game at 23. Neither team managed another score in regulation, and the game went to overtime.

The overtime period consisted of classic field-position football, with San Francisco steadily gaining field position but losing the battle with the clock. Despite two overtime possessions, Denver was unable to move the ball into field goal range. The Broncos might have been able to hold out for a tie or buy their exhausted defense enough rest to make a difference had they managed the clock better. Shanahan, however, either didn't think this would extend the team's season or wouldn't stoop to such tactics. Finally, the 49ers' Joe Nedney attempted a 36-yard field goal with just under two minutes left. He hooked it badly but the ball passed just inside the right goalpost, ending Denver's season.

The final record was 9-7, and the Broncos did not qualify for the Playoffs. On New Year's Day 2007, less than 12 hours after the last game ended, second-year cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. He was 24.

50 days after Williams died, running back Damien Nash died following a charity basketball game.

Jake Plummer retired after being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since Jay Cutler was the new starter in Denver. He refused to battle with Jeff Garcia and Chris Simms for the starting job in Tampa Bay.

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Source : Wikipedia