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Denver Broncos 16 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13 - Post Game Notes and Quotes




* - With the win, Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan earned his 150th overall career victory (150-96-0, .610) and became the 17th coach in NFL history to reach that win total. His overall record with the Broncos improves to 142-84-0 (.628).


* - The Broncos extended their home winning streak to six games with their victory against Tampa Bay. It is their longest such streak since posting 13 consecutive home wins in the regular season from Dec. 12, 2004, through Oct. 15, 2006.



* - Broncos QB Jay Cutler completed 23-of-34 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 96.1 passer rating.


* - His 10-yard touchdown pass to WR Brandon Stokley in the third quarter moved him ahead of QB Steve Tensi for sole possession of seventh in Broncos history in career touchdown passes (39). 


* - Cutler also became the eighth player in Broncos history to reach 6,000 career passing yards, finishing the game with an even 6,000 for his career.


* - The victory improved Cutler’s career record as a starting quarterback to 13-13.


* - Broncos TE Tony Scheffler had a team-high 65 receiving yards on four catches (16.3 avg.) to move into fifth place in Broncos history in career receiving yards by a tight end (1,094). He moved ahead of TE Jeb Putzier (1,087) today.



* - With the win, the Broncos improved to 5-2 all-time against Tampa Bay, including 3-1 at home. The Buccaneers entered the game as the only team in the NFL that had yet to visit INVESCO Field at Mile High, which opened in 2001.



* - Denver allowed season lows in points (13) and yards per play (5.0) while tying for its season low in total yards (307 – also allowed that total at Oakland, 9/8/08). In the first half, the Broncos gave up only 54 passing yards.


* - After holding Tampa Bay to a field goal in the first quarter, the Broncos remain one of six NFL teams that have not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter this season. The Broncos have outscored their opponents 28-15 in the opening quarter, allowing a total of five field goals through five games.



* - With his 55-yard field goal in the second quarter, Broncos K Matt Prater tied for the fifth-longest field goal in franchise history. Prater is now 4-of-4 on field goals of 50-plus yards this season, becoming the first Bronco make four 50-plus yarders in a season since K Jason Elam made 4-of-6 50-yard attempts in 2002.


* - Prater leads all NFL kickers in 50-plus yard field goals (4) this season. He also connected on his remaining two field-goal attempts (40 and 27 yds.), making him 12-of-13 for the season on field goals and 15-of-15 on extra points for a club-best 51 points.


* - The second-year player recorded touchbacks on four of his five kickoffs. For the season, Prater has posted 11 touchbacks on 30 kickoffs.



* - With their three sacks (LB D.J. Williams, DE Ebenezer Ekuban, DE Elvis Dumervil), the Broncos recorded their second multiple-sack game of the year (3 at Oak., 9/8/08). Tampa Bay had not allowed a sack in its last two games entering today’s contest. The sacks marked the second of the season for both D.J. Williams and Ekuban.   


* - Dumervil recorded his first sack of the season in the second quarter. His 22 sacks since the start of the 2006 season ties him for eighth in the NFL during that span.  



* - With his 20-yard punt return in the second quarter, Broncos WR Eddie Royal now has a punt return of at least 20 yards in each of his past three games. Royal, who ranked second in the NFL with a 16.6-yard punt return average entering today’s game, has averaged 14.3 yards on eight returns (114 yds.) this season.



* - With his third-quarter, 10-yard touchdown pass from Cutler, Broncos WR Brandon Stokley scored his first touchdown since Dec. 9, 2007, when he had a 21-yard touchdown pass vs. Kansas City. Stokley finished the game with a team-high six catches for 52 yards (8.7 avg.).


* - Stokley’s six receptions were his most in a game since posting six catches for 73 yards with one touchdown vs. Houston (11/13/05).



* - Broncos RB Michael Pittman, who played for Tampa Bay for six years from 2002-07 and won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Bucs in 2002, faced his former team for the first time. He finished the game with six rushes for 39 yards (6.5 avg.) with a 16-yard long and two receptions for 22 yards, including a 15-yard grab.



* - The Broncos have now scored in 250 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. Denver’s streak, which began with a 16-13 overtime loss at Seattle on Nov. 30, 1992, is the fourth-longest such streak in NFL history. The Broncos have extended the streak by the by halftime 238 times, including in today’s contest.



* - D.J. Williams led the Broncos with 11 defensive tackles (9 solo).


* - LB Niko Koutouvides led the Broncos with two stops on special teams.



* - For the third time this season, the Broncos forced their opponent to go three-and-out on its first offensive drive. 


* - Broncos rookie P Brett Kern, who came into the league with a league-low nine punts on the season, had a career-high five punts for 248 yards (49.6 gross / 45.8 net) with a 63-yard long.


* - Broncos S Vernon Fox made his Broncos debut on special teams against Tampa Bay after being signed on 9/23/08. He was inactive for last week’s game at Kansas City.


* - Broncos WR Glenn Martinez saw his first action of the season after being signed on 9/30. He finished with a 12-yard reception and two punt returns for nine yards (4.5 avg.).


* - Denver DT Marcus Thomas posted his second career interception and the Broncos’ second of the season in the fourth quarter. His only other career interception came vs. Oakland on Sept. 16, 2007.



* - With the win, the Broncos earned their 399th victory as a franchise (regular season and postseason combined) and will look for No. 400 next week against Jacksonville. The Broncos’ all-time combined record stands at 399-352-10 (.524). Denver is No. 16 all-time in victories with 399, but second among original AFL teams (Oakland, 426).




Opening statement

“Obviously that was a nice team win. We beat a good team in Tampa Bay, they’re a team that’ll be in the playoffs. Excellent defense, offense and special teams. Our guys fought hard for 60 minutes and that’s what I’m most proud of. We started out playing hard in the beginning, and we continued that throughout the game. We didn’t turn the ball over against a team like that. When we had to we came up with a few runs to end the game, and that’s the way you want to do it. We want to finish that way.”


On RB Michael Pittman

“When we signed him I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I watched him throughout his years at Tampa Bay and Arizona, but I knew we had a special guy, because I had talked to enough people to know that you want this guy in your locker room. He’s got everything you look for in a person and in an athlete and he’s demonstrated that both on and off the field. He made some big plays today and had good third downs that we needed, obviously I’m very happy to have him.”


On the defense

“The defense played extremely well. Obviously going up against a team that moved the football very well, we came up with some key plays and made some plays when we had to.”


On the passing game

“That was our game plan coming in, I’m very pleased with [QB] Jay [Cutler]. You can not go down field against this team and expect to win. That’s why they’ve had the turnovers and the touchdowns, as well as an excellent pass rush and disciplined secondary. You have to take what the defense gives you. We missed a couple third downs by a yard, but our defense stepped up and made some good plays. When we had to make the plays we made them and we stopped ourselves a couple times with penalties. We managed field goals instead of touchdowns, that’s the way you win a game like that, you have to be disciplined and not turn the ball over.”


On team effort

“The object is to win, that’s the bottom line. You find guys fighting hard in the locker room, like we did, then you feel good. There are a lot of key plays as you go through the game. People remember the plays at the end of the game, or close to it.  You have to keep on fighting and our defense fought. We made a couple plays, backed up on our 11 yard line, with three time outs left for Tampa Bay. We threw the football and made the play and that shows the kind of confidence that we have, and we knew that they were going to have an eight or nine man front, so we threw the football there. [TE] Tony [Scheffler] made a nice catch. We made them use their timeouts and that’s how you win games. I’m very pleased with the total effort of the team.”


On the pass rush

“I knew it was going to come. I knew we were going to get better as time went on, because we have too many quality guys who are working extremely hard together. For a team that hasn’t had a sack in a while, it’s nice to come up with a few big plays. We will keep on getting better defensively. That’s what it’s all about – getting better every week. That’s what we did today.”


On K Matt Prater

“It starts in practice. Since he’s been here, he’s been very consistent. In practice on Wednesday’s we always end with a long field goal and he’s made it from 70 yards consistently. So, when he’s out there, you know it has nothing to do with the distance. You’re just hoping that he has the accuracy. He’s been very consistent in practice and that’s why he’s getting the opportunity in the games. The thing most people don’t notice is his kickoffs; it’s nice to have a weapon and an extra guy on special teams, with his ability to kick the ball off well. He’s done a good job for a young player. He’s handled a lot of pressure and we all know what a great player Jason Elam was to this organization and how many clutch field goals he’s hit through the years. It’s very hard to fill those shoes, but he has stepped up and done a great job, hopefully he can keep on doing that. I don’t want to take anything away from Jason, because there’s nothing better than Jason Elam, both on and off the field. When someone does go, you need a guy like this to step up and get the job done.”


On wide receivers

“That’s why you have to have depth. Any time you loose great players, it’s tough. Obviously with [WR] Brandon Stokley, we know what he can do and we don’t want to overplay him, because he’s such a pivotal part of our third down package. When [WR] Eddie [Royal] does go down, we have four wide receivers dressed and somebody’s got to step up and obviously, we did.”





On how Tampa Bay’s defense changed the Broncos offensive plans

“A lot and that’s not really my thing. We are used to throwing the ball down the field a lot and getting big chunks and we really couldn’t do it against this defense. There’re disciplined, really sound. They get to their jobs. You just have to be patient, take them apart and believe in the system and hopefully get a little momentum and hopefully get some big plays here and there.”


On RB Michael Pittman’s running game

“He was fired up about this one, there’s obvious reason’s. Pittman’s been there all year for us. Third down, goal line, shorter yardage, he’s very valuable for us.”


On the big picture

“We have been in some high scoring ball games, back and forth and the defense has caught a lot of heat. We had trouble stopping some people, but we knew they were a lot better than that. We have too much talent, too much character over there. It’s just good to see them lock it down this week.”


On his pass to TE Tony Scheffler

“It was pretty high and Tony is a big target. I put it high and outside, it was him or nobody. Tony gets in and out of breaks pretty quick. [LB] Derrick [Brooks] is a pro bowl player, he’s one of the best to play that position. You have to be careful when you deal with him.”



On Tampa Bay taking away the deep ball

“The win offset that. Once we got the lead, we knew we were going to hold it, so it didn’t matter. As long as we got the win, and we did that today.”


On winning both ways, offensively and defensively

“The guys just played together today and they were sound in their technique and within the scheme and it showed up out there today. Defense did a great job and they won a game for us.”


On whether the Denver Broncos are the best team in the AFC

“We’re a good one. It’s still early in the season. Five games in, there’s no telling, but we want to play our best football come November.”


On RB Michael Pittman

“The way he ran the ball today, he didn’t get a lot of opportunities, but when he did – he took advantage of his opportunity and he made them pay. He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t.”


On the defense double teaming him all day

“A little bit of what they were doing and myself, I dropped the ball out there and slipped on a route on a wide open pass; so it was a little bit of both me and what they were doing. But, we moved the ball well and we got the win.”


On two game lead over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West

“This is just football, that’s all it is right now, and football season starts in November. It’s still early. Like I said, we want to play our best football come November. When we get to that part of the season, then we’ll start talking.”



On celebrating his touchdown

“It was a little premature but I thought I was in there. It had been a while so I was excited.”



“Good teams find a way to win these games. We didn’t play well last week but the whole team had a good game today.”


On Tampa Bay’s defense

“They are a very good defense. They have a good coach in (Defensive Coordinator) Monte Kiffin. We got into a little bit of a roll in the second half and that was big for us.”




“The win feels great. There has been a lot of talk about the defense not stepping up to the plate but we came through today.


On bouncing back from last week’s loss to Kansas City

“There was a bitter taste in our mouths from last week (33-19 loss at K.C., 9/28/08). We knew we didn’t play our best ball but we came back this week and played a lot better.”



On the defense

“We played a pretty good game today especially in stopping the run. We gave up a couple of explosive plays but we were able to make adjustments.”


On criticism of the defense

“We have played against some pretty good offenses and we played another explosive offense today. We wanted to set our identity by stopping the run and making plays and we did that today.”


On the defensive line

 “We turned up the pressure a little bit up front. When our pistons are all firing it looks like we are playing with 12 men instead of 11.”




“This win feels good. Our goal was to come out and play 60 minutes and all four quarters. We did that today and we got the victory.


“We can’t blow teams out or put up a lot of points every game. Our defense came to play and stopped them when they had to.”


On playing Jacksonville next week

 “We have a tough game next week. We will enjoy this win, look at the film and get better.”



On the defense

“We still have work to do and we can still get better. We are only satisfied because we won the game.


“They had plays downfield but we had coverage for them. Everybody did their job today and it worked out for us.


“This proves that we are a good defense and we can do it week in and week out.”



On the defense

“Guys came out today and made plays. The crowd was into it the entire game and it really helped out. I think they had a few false start penalties. The defense made big plays and the offense did their part.”


More on the defenses

“We knew after the loss in Kansas City that we had a lot of work to do to get ready for today’s game. That is the character of this defense, we worked hard during the week and we played well today. We were excited to get the win and now we have to prepare for Jacksonville.”


On making plays

“This week we were able to make plays and that was the difference from the past few weeks. This is a good start but there are 16 games this season and we are only five games in and now, like I said, we have to prepare for next weeks game against Jacksonville.”



On playing against his former team

“I am a very emotional player and I just wanted to come out here and win this game. It was a big win and I wanted to play hard. I just wanted to do everything I could to help my team get the win. I have all the respect in the world for their team and their coaching staff but I am a Bronco now and I did my part and I am excited to get the win.”


On the Tampa Bay defense

“I know their defense really well and I know their strengths and weaknesses. They have a great defense and I give their coaching staff including Monte Kiffin a lot of credit for what they do.”



On coming back after being off four weeks

“The coaching staff did a great job of getting me ready and into the game plan. After spending this week getting prepared and staying in shape while I was gone, I feel like I haven’t skipped a beat.”


On catching punts

 “I have been catching punts for so long that it will take more than four weeks to loose that skill but It is only one week I have to take things one day at a time and prepare each week to come out and play well.”