Broncos take care of Ravens at home, barely
December 11, 2005
DENVER – Denver’s march toward the playoffs looked more like a crawl. Against the bumbling Baltimore Ravens, though, there wasn’t much need to be perfect.Kyle Johnson made a tiptoe catch for a touchdown, Champ Bailey set a franchise record with an interception in his fifth straight game and Al Wilson made a big hit on the goal line Sunday to lift the Broncos to a 12-10 victory over Baltimore.It was a game that won’t wind up anywhere near the “Best Of” files for the Broncos (10-3), but it was a win – increasing their lead to two games in the AFC West and tying them with Cincinnati for the second-best record in the AFC.
Jake Plummer threw for 236 yards and the touchdown to Johnson. Tatum Bell was held to 63 yards and Mike Anderson had only 21.A better team would have taken advantage of Denver’s flat effort on this day, but Baltimore (4-9) certainly doesn’t qualify as that.Kyle Boller threw for 251 yards and turned it over three times – two interceptions and one lost fumble – yet despite all that, the Ravens trailed by only two after Mark Clayton caught a 39-yard touchdown with 1:52 left.After the kickoff, Denver got a first down on Ashley Lelie’s end-around to seal the game. Baltimore coach Brian Billick had to be regretting going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 earlier in the fourth quarter. On that play, Wilson knocked Chester Taylor back for a 4-yard loss to keep the score at 12-3.
But that was hardly Baltimore’s only missed opportunity.The Ravens made three trips inside the Denver 10. The first came after the first play, when B.J. Sams returned the opening kickoff 87 yards. Three plays, one penalty and minus-1 yard later, the Ravens got their field goal.The second trip, with the Ravens trailing 12-3 in the third, was followed immediately by a holding call, then a floater from Boller, who was trying to feather one in to Todd Heep but instead got picked by Bailey. It was the eighth interception of the season for the Denver cornerback and it broke Tyrone Braxton’s record, set in 1996, for interceptions in consecutive games.
With the score tied at 3, Baltimore also missed a good scoring chance late in the first half when Boller fell after taking the snap at the Denver 25, but stood up, backpedaled and threw an ill-advised lob that was intercepted by Nick Ferguson.Denver’s only touchdown was a 7-yard pass in the third quarter from Plummer to Johnson, who fought off Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister and made a nice catch in the front corner of the end zone, barely keeping both feet in for his sixth score of the season.Jason Elam clanked the extra point off the right upright, only the third miss of his 13-year career and a fitting monument to this less-than-brilliant performance by the Broncos, who nonetheless moved one win away from their first perfect season at Invesco Field since it opened in 2001.
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