Broncos 13, Raiders 3
Monday, October 16th 2006, 8:52 am
News On 6
DENVER (AP) _ Larry Coyer leaned against a wall, trying to find the appropriate words to describe his Denver defense.
``They're something now,'' the Broncos defensive coordinator said moments after Denver's 13-3 win over the winless Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.
Coyer's description was short, direct and to the point _ kind of like his defense. The Broncos are the first team since the 1934 Detroit Lions to surrender just one touchdown through five games.
``I honestly believe we have room for improvement,'' Coyer said.
Denver moved to 4-1 even though its offense has been unproductive and Oakland tumbled to 0-5 for the first time since 1964. Three winless teams were victorious Sunday but the Raiders couldn't make it four.
``We're getting better but there's no room in professional sports for moral victories,'' Andrew Walter said.
While Denver's offense has yet to score more than 17 points this season, the defense isn't ready to sue for nonsupport. The Raiders outgained Denver 244-235 in total yards.
``We can't worry too much about the offense,'' linebacker Al Wilson said. ``Offense sells tickets but defense wins championships. I think everybody knows that.''
Yet the Denver offense feels guilty. All the Broncos could generate against the Raiders were two field goals by Jason Elam and a Tatum Bell 2-yard touchdown run. That was good enough to give Denver a 13-0 lead at halftime, which was more than enough.
``The offense will come,'' Jake Plummer said. ``We'll find an answer. We have Mike Shanahan, one of the best offensive minds in football.''
The Raiders' problems were simple to detect _ penalties and turnovers. Oakland had 13 penalties and turned the ball over twice, including an interception by Champ Bailey just before halftime with the Raiders in field-goal range.
Bailey also picked off Steve McNair right before halftime last Monday.
``I don't know why these quarterbacks keep trying to test Champ because it's not working,'' Ebenezer Ekuban said.
Oakland's only score of the game _ a 47-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski _ was set up by Darrent Williams' fumble on a punt return in the third quarter. It's hard to say who was upset more by the turnover _ Williams or the defense for allowing the Raiders to score.
``I'm so into breaking long runs that I got careless with the ball,'' Williams said.
Said Ekuban: ``We were trying to keep that score at zero and we got frustrated when they got that field goal.''
The Broncos redeemed themselves late in the fourth quarter. With the score 13-3 and Oakland on the Broncos 27, Lamont Jordan fumbled the football after a hit by Ian Gold. The ball was picked up by Michael Myers, keeping the touchdown streak in order.
``I thought our defense played exceptionally again,'' Shanahan said.
Coyer isn't trying to outthink himself with this team. He's keeping the defense simple. The Broncos sacked Walter four times.
``I think the whole lesson of the game is you do as little as possible and let them play,'' Coyer said.
The Raiders are trying to convince anyone who'll listen they're improving even despite the mounting losses.
``What was encouraging today was that everyone showed up,'' safety Jarrod Cooper said. ``If everyone shows up and you lose, that is one thing. If you lose and half your team is over there, and half your team is over there (in the other direction), that is another thing.''
One Oakland player who wasn't around at all was receiver Jerry Porter, who was suspended for four games by the Raiders for conduct detrimental to the team.
``It was a combination of things,'' coach Art Shell said.
The suspension didn't sit well with Warren Sapp.
``That was overboard,'' he said.