Broncos looking to break Ravens' streak

Updated: October 24, 2003, 5:25 PM ET

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos have lost their last three meetings with the Baltimore Ravens, and Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith says it hasn't even been close.

"This team has dominated us the last three times we've played them," Smith said. "It's getting to the point where it is kind of personal.

"We've played them on the road, at home and in the playoffs, and they've gotten the best of us. They played better. They were more aggressive. They made the plays they had to make, and we didn't. Somehow, some way, we have to find a way to make those plays this week."

Baltimore beat Denver 21-3 in the AFC wild-card game in Baltimore in 2000. The Ravens triumphed again 20-13 in Denver in 2001. Last year, the Ravens prevailed on a Monday night in Baltimore, 34-23.

Referring to the Baltimore defense and All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, Smith said: "As long as 52 (Lewis) is in the middle, the other 10 guys have no choice but to play at a certain level. It's great to see somebody that can dominate a football game from that side.

"Offensively, we have to do the same thing. We have to play to the level of (tight end) Shannon Sharpe. Shannon plays at an unbelievable level, and he's done it for a long time."

Because of their tenuous quarterback situation, the Broncos might rely more heavily on running back Clinton Portis. Smith said Portis is up to the challenge.

"Last week I was very impressed with the way he handled himself on the field," Smith said. "Clinton made plays when we needed him. He was tired and took a lot of hits, and he left it on the field for us.

"Everybody sees how he is maturing as a football player, and eventually he is going to be one of the leaders of this team. When Shannon is gone, when I am gone, when Ed (McCaffrey) is gone, he is going to be one of the guys that everybody looks up to."


^RECEIVER SHORTAGE:@ Wide receivers Ed McCaffrey and Chris Cole did not practice on Friday, leaving the Broncos thin at the position.

McCaffrey was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game with a knee injury, and Cole is questionable with a sprained ankle.

Rookie receiver Adrian Madise appears likely to see his first significant action of the season. He would be the No. 3 receiver if McCaffrey and Cole can't go.

Denver listed 16 players on its injury report, 11 of them as probable, including quarterback Danny Kanell, who missed Friday's practice with the flu.

Quarterback Jake Plummer (broken foot), offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam (knee) and defensive end Bryant McNeal (lower back) were listed as "out."


^EXTRA POINTS:@ The Broncos began Friday's practice 80 minutes sooner than normal to more closely approximate the time of Sunday's game, which will kick off at 11 a.m. MST. Practice ended 15 minutes sooner than scheduled because of the quarterback shortage. ... If he recovers from the flu, QB Danny Kanell will make his first NFL start since Nov. 12, 2000, when he was with Atlanta. ... The Broncos have outscored opponents 109-53 in the first half, the AFC's best first-half differential. ... Clinton Portis has rushed for 18 TDs in the past 16 games and is averaging 5.5 yards per rush, tied for fourth in the NFL. ... TE Shannon Sharpe won two Super Bowl rings with Denver in 1997 and 1998 and another with Baltimore in 2000. He played for the Ravens for two seasons (2000-01). ... Denver is the only defense in the NFL to have three players with at least 4.5 sacks. Bert Berry has six sacks, Trevor Pryce five and Reggie Hayward 4.5. ... The Broncos lost to Minnesota 28-20 on Sunday. Since 2000, the Broncos are 16-4 following a loss. ... Baltimore leads the NFL in rushing, and Denver ranks third.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index