Shaun Rogers has 66-yard interception return in Lions' 44-7 rout of Broncos
Shaun Rogers led the way.
Detroit's defensive tackle intercepted a pass and rumbled 66 yards for a score, making a highlight-worthy play on a Sunday full of them for the Lions in their 44-7 win over Denver.
"He's the best defensive player in the NFL," teammate Roy Williams said. "Can't block him, can't do anything to him."
The 340-pound Rogers also broke up a pass, had four quarterback hits and 2½ sacks, one of which he followed with a somersault. He had plenty of chances to display his signature celebration, gesturing as if he is ripping off his shirt a la Superman.
"It's one of the best trademark moves in the NFL," Williams said.
For a change, the Lions have plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Detroit is 6-2 for the first time since 1999 -- the last season it made the playoffs -- riding its first three-game winning streak in seven years and 4-0 at home for the first time in 14 years.
In the Super Bowl era, 76 percent of the 146 teams that started 6-2 made the playoffs.
"This is real," defensive tackle Cory Redding said. "This is a different team. It's not the same-old Lions anymore."
It's hard to argue.
The Lions already have twice as many wins as last season and matched the most victories in any year under team president Matt Millen.
Against a traditional AFC power, albeit a banged-up one, Detroit more than doubled its largest margin of victory in six-plus seasons under Millen and scored more points than it had in a decade.
"They are a different team now," said Denver cornerback Dre' Bly, who played in Detroit the previous four seasons. "With Shaun Rogers and Cory Redding up front they are very disruptive and it makes the job easier for the other guys on the back end to play defense.
"Shaun Rogers is the most dominant guy inside."
Denver (3-5) was handed its most-lopsided loss in nearly two decades and dropped below .500 halfway through the season for the first time since its last losing season in 1999.
"I've been embarrassed a couple times this year obviously, more times than any time in my career," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "It is challenging."
The banged-up Broncos took more hits when quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Travis Henry were sidelined with injuries. Cutler left the game with a lower leg injury in the second quarter and was replaced by Patrick Ramsey.
"I'll get an MRI," Cutler said. "Hopefully, it's just a bruise."
Henry did not play in the fourth quarter after hurting his left knee, but said he could have finished the game.
Denver scored with 2½ minutes left to avoid being shut out for the first time since 1992.
"As a team it can't get any worse," Henry said. "They had all the energy. We were just flat the whole time."
Bly was asked if the Broncos gave up.
"I don't know," he said. "I hope not."
The Rogers-led defense allowed a season-low 47 yards rushing, had five sacks and forced four turnovers to give Detroit an NFL-high 24 takeaways.
Lions coach Rod Marinelli said Rogers is having a tremendous year.
"It's just his presence," Marinelli said. "I called him the server, because he keeps serving sacks for everybody because he's so disruptive."
The Broncos had 12 penalties and the Lions had just three. ... Detroit, which had won two games by 18 points under Millen, enjoyed its biggest win since beating Jacksonville 44-0 in 1995. ... Denver was handed its worst loss since losing 42-0 to New Orleans in 1988. ... Broncos FS John Lynch was inactive with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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