Elam feeling fine after taking hit on fake field goal

DENVER -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is kicking himself for
listening to his kicker.

Jason Elam suggested a fake field goal at the end of the first
half Sunday night against Seattle. The call backfired when Elam
gained just 2 yards and strained his left hamstring on the play in
a 23-20 loss.

"I always have regrets," Shanahan said Monday. "How many fake
kicks have I had since I've been here?"

"I'm not kidding, 12 years. I didn't think he would ever, ever run it."
-- Broncos kicker Jason Elam on how long he's practiced the fake field goal play he ran Sunday against the Seahawks.

Zero, in 12 seasons.

"And part of the reason [that he relented] was that Jason
assured me that he would not be hurt," Shanahan said. "So, that's
why he's probable this weekend."

Elam's first career run -- and likely his last -- came after 597
point-after attempts, 467 field goal attempts and one punt in his
14 NFL seasons, all in Denver.

He said he's been practicing the play, which was designed to
have him sprint into the end zone untouched, for a dozen years.

"I'm not kidding, 12 years. I didn't think he would ever, ever
run it," Elam said. "He actually told me earlier in the week, he
said, 'Now, you can't pull a hamstring on this."'

Elam approached Shanahan on the sideline after his first field
goal, from 37 yards, and suggested the play, called "Rainbow

The Seahawks overloaded the left hash mark as expected on
fourth-and-1 as Elam lined up for a 43-yard attempt. Holder Jake
Plummer, serving as a backup quarterback for the first time in his
10-year career, flipped the ball over his right shoulder to Elam,
who ran around right end.

"Oh, a touchdown," Shanahan said of what he expected. "If you
take a look at all these gimmick plays from years past, you'll see
guys walk in with that play."

Which is what is seemed like the 36-year-old Elam was doing --

"Jason is faster than you think," Shanahan retorted. "He was
like a 4.7 coming out of college -- even though that was 38 years

There wasn't the clear path to the end zone because cornerback
Kelly Herndon and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu didn't fall for the
fake. One giveaway might have been Broncos pass-rusher Patrick
Chukwurah filling in for an injured tight end Stephen Alexander
(ankle) on the play.

"I think it might have given Kelly a little heads-up that
something might be coming," Shanahan said. "At least he got the
first down and we were able to get the field goal."

Elam, who nailed a 41-yarder before hopping off the field and
into the tunnel, thinks he tweaked his hamstring trying to avoid
the defenders as he raced to the first-down marker.

"I think it's probably just that I hadn't run in a long, long
time," Elam said. "And I could feel Kelly Herndon right on my
heels, so I had to give it everything I had. And he dived at me and
I may have tried to elude him trying to sweep my feet."

Elam got up gingerly and kicked the field goal with one second
left to give Denver a 13-7 halftime lead.

After halftime, Elam had just one kick, a point-after that tied
it at 20 following Brandon Marshall's 71-yard touchdown catch with
two minutes left.

"That last extra point I was a little worried about, but I made
it," Elam said.

The Broncos lost 23-30 on Josh Brown's 50-yard field goal with 5
seconds left, but Elam said he could have gutted it out for a
game-winner had the game gone into overtime.

"He said he could kick," Shanahan said. "When he kicked that
extra point [in the fourth quarter], it looked like he didn't have
a lot of oomph. Mentally, he was there, but I'm not sure if he was

So, Shanahan was planning on using punter and kickoff
specialists Paul Ernster if he had to.

"Ernster's got a very strong leg, obviously not as consistent
as Jason. But I've watched him kick 50-, 55-, 60-yard field goals"
in practice, Shanahan said.

Elam said he felt he'd "be completely fine next week" for the
Broncos' trip to San Diego (10-2).

If he's not, Ernster will get the call -- providing he remembers
his helmet.

The second-year punter sprinted onto the field in the first half
Sunday night with just his beanie on before rushing back to the
sideline to grab his helmet from an equipment worker.

"I'd never been that big of a bonehead," Ernster said. "I
felt like an idiot. But we got a good punt off and it didn't get
blocked. So, I'm just thankful that everything went smoothly after

And that he didn't pull a hamstring with all that extra running
around like Elam did.