Clinton Portis spins away fromDwight Freeney (AP)
Billed as a Monday night revenge match, the Denver Broncos set out to prove themselves as a legitimate contender in the powerful AFC West. Unfortunately all they were able to prove is the fact that they are still miles away from being ready for Sept. 7th’s season opener
DENVER, Colo. - Billed as a Monday night revenge match, the Denver Broncos set out to prove themselves as a legitimate contender in the powerful AFC West.
Unfortunately all they were able to prove is the fact that they are still miles away from being ready for Sept. 7th’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I thought we played pretty sloppy throughout the whole football game, offensively and defensively,” said Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan following the teams 28-23 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Offensively, we moved the football and then we stopped ourselves…anytime you’re 0 for 2 in the red zone it comes back and haunts you. I believe they (the Colts) were 3 for 3 for touchdowns in the red zone.”
Ironically the Colts needed only 231-yards to outgun the Broncos, and fifty-three of those yards came on a Peyton Manning touchdown pass.
Denver meanwhile led in virtually every category statistically except the one that really mattered: the scoreboard. Negating the progress were mental errors, mistakes and penalties, twelve penalties to be precise, a grand total of 86-yards.
Five Broncos fumbles only added to the frustration
"We looked bad," voiced a highly frustrated Shannon Sharpe. "And the bad thing is that you're on national television. Now everybody's licking their chops, saying, 'Hey, this is the same team from last year; they're making the same mistakes they made last year.' It's just very disappointing."
Disappointing as it was, the game was not without its bright spots, with wide receiver Ashley Lelie topping the list. His acrobatic 55-yard touchdown catch from Jake Plummer helped solidify his role as a serious threat downfield.
Plummer as well showed signs of progress, but two fumbles and an interception later didn’t exactly endear him in the hearts of fans, some of whom were heard booing him during the third quarter.
“Obviously you want to be perfect,” said Plummer. There’s always going to be a couple plays you want back. We’d move the ball well and then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot. Maybe that’s a little lack of concentration by some guys since it is the preseason, but still we have to play it like a real game because that’s the only way you’re going to get better and improve.”
NEW & NOTES –
Running back Clinton Portis, who led all rushers with 49-yards on 13 carries, left the game with what is being classified as a bruised calf. The injury is not considered serious.
Tuesday is the NFL’s mandatory cut down day, with Denver expected to release as many as 15 players.
”We will sit down early in the morning and talk about the cuts,” said Shanahan. “We’ve got an idea, but there are a couple guys, that we’ll look at our notes, look at the game film and make a couple decisions.”