DENVER -- The Denver Broncos apparently don't know much
about math or history. They only know their defense is very, very
The Broncos once again kept an opponent out of the end zone in a
13-3 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night, when they found
barely enough offense to go with their suffocating defense.
The Broncos (4-1) are the first team since the 1934 Lions to
start off a season by yielding just one TD through five games,
something coach Mike Shanahan miscalculated in his congratulatory
chat with his team.
"Thirty-four?" Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams said.
"Coach got it wrong! Coach Shanahan told us '42. Just think about
that, something that hasn't happened since '34 and it's 2006.
That's just amazing, being able to do that. There have been a lot
of great teams, even the Baltimore team in 2000 didn't do this, and
they won the Super Bowl basically winning it by defense."
Detroit shut out its first seven opponents in '34.
Shanahan got it wrong with the media, too, telling reporters it
"I know it hasn't happened in a while," safety John Lynch
said. "But I know one TD in five games is pretty darn good."
Shanahan may be sketchy on his math, but at least he's not on
the wrong side of history like the Raiders, who are 0-5 for the
first time since 1964. They're also the only team left that hasn't
won a game this year.
"This is the first game where I felt that we lost our
composure," coach Art Shell said after his team committed 13
penalties. "We lost our focus."
Oakland has lost 11 in a row dating to last season.
Jake Plummer isn't fretting over Denver's continued offensive
"The offense will come," he said. "We have Mike Shanahan, one
of the best offensive minds in football."
As is their style, the Broncos bent but didn't break. Bailey
picked off a pass at the Denver 1 in the first half and defensive
tackle Michael Myers ended another promising drive by the Raiders
when he scooped up LaMont Jordan's fumble at the Denver 19 with
Sebastian Janikowski's 47-yard field goal pulled the Raiders to
13-3 midway through the third quarter, capping an ugly 23-yard
drive that ate up almost 6½ minutes and included two sacks and a
fumble by quarterback Andrew Walter, which he recovered himself.
The Broncos took a 13-0 lead into the locker room. With this
Denver defense, that's downright insurmountable.
Bailey had perfect position on Randy Moss and picked off
Walter's pass just before he tiptoed out of bounds. Last week,
Bailey's pickoff of Steve McNair's lob pass in the end zone just
before halftime helped the Broncos beat Baltimore, also 13-3.
Bailey's interception came just two plays after Walter, making
his third start in place of Aaron Brooks (injured right shoulder),
hit Moss for a 51-yard gain to the Denver 28.
In the first quarter, Lynch punched away a pass to Moss in the
end zone, and Janikowski's 54-yard field goal attempt sailed wide
Denver took over at its 44 and Plummer lofted a jump ball to
Javon Walker, who outleaped cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and came
down at the Raiders 2 for a 54-yard gain. Bell took it in on the
next snap for a 7-0 Denver lead with 39 seconds left in the first
quarter -- the first points the Broncos have scored in the opening
quarter all season.
Elam kicked field goals of 51 and 22 yards in the second
quarter. His second came after fullback Cecil Sapp, replacing
starter Kyle Johnson, who sprained his right ankle on the Broncos'
first series, dropped a wide-open pass while he was trotting in for
an easy 4-yard touchdown.
Things got so bad for the Raiders that Terdell Sands
body-slammed Bell in the closing minutes and was whistled for a
personal foul, Oakland's 13th penalty.
"We are getting better," Walter asserted. "There are no moral
victories in professional sports, to talk about that is ridiculous,
because we are judged on wins and losses."
The Raiders lost their best receiver Saturday when Jerry Porter
was suspended without pay for insubordination.
"It was a combination of things, there were a couple of things
that happened over the course of the week and there were some
things that happened over time," Shell said. "I consulted
everybody: the position coaches, the owner, people in personnel,
but the ultimate decision was mine."
Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp took issue with Porter's
"That was way overboard," Sapp said. "There was nothing he
did that warranted four games."
The Raiders' worst start came in 1962, when they lost their
first 13 games, ending 19-game skid. ... Broncos WR Rod Smith
became the sixth NFL player to catch 100 passes against three or
more teams. ... Slaughter was inserted into the lineup after
starter Langston Walker suffered an unspecified injury in the first
quarter. ... Raiders RB Justin Fargas injured a shoulder.
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