Broncos rely on defense to smother winless Raiders

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos apparently don't know much

about math or history. They only know their defense is very, very


Scouts Inc.'s take ...

The Raiders' mantra in the Al Davis era has always been "Just win, baby." It appears that the Broncos have picked up on this slogan because that is what they continue to do. The offense was inept once again, but the defense turned in another stellar performance vs. the Raiders. The Raiders struggled all night to get anything going, and when they did, they were greeted with their usual plethora of penalties and turnovers.

Denver QB Jake Plummer was not much better as he continues to struggle to get the Broncos' playmakers consistently involved. It was good enough against a bad Raiders team, but if you are head coach Mike Shanahan you can't feel very good about your offense at this juncture of the season.

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

was 1940.

"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."

Silver And (Fade To) Black

Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have lost 11 straight dating to last season and are 0-5 for the first time since 1964, when they finished 7-9 under coach Art Shell. The Raiders' worst starts in franchise history:


Final W-L













*Art Shell as head coach

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.

Jason Elam kicked two field goals, Tatum Bell scored on a short

touchdown run and Champ Bailey once again picked off a key pass to

thwart a scoring drive.

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

4:24 remaining.

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

four-game suspension.

"That was way overboard," Sapp said. "There was nothing he

did that warranted four games."

Game notes
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.