Detroit 16



 Scoring  |   Statistics  |   
FINAL 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
1st Quarter
Drive: 5 plays, 73 yards in 3:01
Key Plays:
  Bryson 3-yard run on 3rd-and-1 to Detroit 39
  Bryson 28-yard run to Denver 33
Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards in 5:11
Key Plays:
  Plummer 15-yard pass to Lelie to Denver 36
  Plummer 16-yard pass to Lelie on 3rd-and-4 to Detroit 48
  Plummer 15-yard pass to Sharp on 3rd-and-6 to Detroit 29
2nd Quarter
Drive: 8 plays, 56 yards in 4:41
Key Plays:
  Plummer 22-yard pass to R Smith to Detroit 26
  Plummer 16-yard pass to Lelie to Detroit 17
  Anderson 5-yard run on 3rd-and-1 to Detroit 12
Drive: 10 plays, 45 yards in 4:36
Key Plays:
  Harrington 15-yard pass to Fitzsimmons on 3rd-and-10 to Detroit 35
  Gary 10-yard run to Denver 43
  Bryson 9-yard run to Denver 34
DENVER 14-10
3rd Quarter
Drive: 9 plays, 57 yards in 4:43
Key Plays:
  Plummer 20-yard pass to Sharpe to Detroit 40
  Plummer 12-yard pass to Smith to Detroit 21
DENVER 17-10
4th Quarter
Drive: 7 plays, 70 yards in 2:41
Key Plays:
  Gary 20-yard run to Denver 40
  Bryson 7-yard to Denver 43
DENVER 17-16
Drive: 10 plays, 57 yards in 4:29
Key Plays:
  Plummer 6-yard pass to Griffin to Denver 31
  Plummer 18-yard pass to Anderson to Detroit 23
DENVER 20-16
Lions Att Cmp Yds Td Int Lg
Harrington, Joey33151492043
Broncos Att Cmp Yds Td Int Lg
Plummer, Jake34252772029
Lions Att Yds Avg Lg Td
Bryson, Shawn13735.6280
Gary, Olandis7426.0200
Cobourne, Avon11919.0190
Harrington, Joey3103.350
Broncos Att Yds Avg Lg Td
Plummer, Jake6406.7200
Anderson, Mike7213.080
Griffin, Quentin9121.380
Lelie, Ashley166.060
Lions Rec Yds Avg Lg Td
Rogers, Charles46215.5331
Bryson, Shawn471.8100
Hakim, Az-Zahir294.550
Anderson, Scotty14343.0431
Fitzsimmons, Casey11515.0150
Schlesinger, Cory188.080
Ricks, Mikhael177.070
Gary, Olandis1-2-2.000
Broncos Rec Yds Avg Lg Td
Sharpe, Shannon77410.6201
Smith, Rod56112.2220
Lelie, Ashley47619.0291
Anderson, Mike3289.3180
Griffin, Quentin2115.560
McCaffrey, Ed284.040
Cole, Chris11212.0120
Carswell, Dwayne177.070
Tackles-Solo-Assists Sacks-Yds (unofficial)
Lions T S A Sk-Yd
Bly, Dre9720-0
Holmes, Earl7701-9
Green, Barrett5410-0
Hall, James4401-8
Harris, Corey4400-0
Walker, Brian4400-0
Smith, Otis3300-0
Porcher, Robert3300-0
Bailey, Boss3210-0
Rogers, Shaun2201-7
Davis, James2200-0
Wilkinson, Dan2110-0
Molden, Alex1100-0
Edwards, Kalimba1100-0
DeVries, Jared1100-0
Walker, Bracy1100-0
Broncos T S A Sk-Yd
Gold, Ian8800-0
Wilson, Al8710-0
Herndon, Kelly5410-0
Ferguson, Nick5320-0
Pryce, Trevor431.5-4
O'Neal, Deltha4220-0
Pope, Monsanto3300-0
Hayward, Reggie2200-0
Mobley, John2200-0
Fatafehi, Mario211.5-4
Berry, Bert2020-0
Brandon, Sam1100-0
Walls, Lenny1010-0
Lions No. Yds Avg TB In20 Lg
Jett, John522645.21158
Broncos No. Yds Avg TB In20 Lg
Knorr, Micah418245.50053
Punt Returns
Lions No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Hakim, Az-Zahir3237.7140
Bly, Dre122.020
Broncos No. Yds Avg Lg Td
O'Neal, Deltha393.090
Kickoff Returns
Lions No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Cobourne, Avon35719.0220
Broncos No. Yds Avg Lg Td
Cole, Chris12424.0240
Lions XP/XPA FG/FGA Dist(Made/Fail)
Hanson, Jason1/11/153 
Broncos XP/XPA FG/FGA Dist(Made/Fail)
Elam, Jason2/22/237 41 
Lions No. Lost Forced O D
Hakim, Az-Zahir10000
Wilkinson, Dan00100
Wyrick, Jimmy00001
Backus, Jeff00010
Broncos No. Lost Forced O D
Plummer, Jake21020
Griffin, Quentin10000
Pope, Monsanto00100
Referee- Ron Blum, Umpire- C Brown, Head linesman- M. Baltz, Line judge- Derick Bowers, Field judge- R Spitler, Side judge- B Schmitz, Back judge- James Hayes
Attendance - Time
75,719 ; 3:11
Team Statistics LionsBroncos
First downs1620
3rd-Down Efficiency7 - 154 - 11
4th-Down Efficiency1 - 20 - 0
Total Net Yards285332
Total Plays5860
Average Gains4.95.5
Net Yards Rushing14479
Average Per Rush6.03.4
Net Yards Passing141253
Completed-Attempted15 - 3325 - 34
Yards Per Pass4.16.8
Sacked-Yards Lost1 - 83 - 24
Had Intercepted00
Punts-Average5 - 45.24 - 45.5
Return Yardage259
Punts-Returns4 - 253 - 9
Kickoffs-Returns3 - 571 - 24
Interceptions-Returns0 - 00 - 0
Penalties-Yards8 - 746 - 44
Fumbles-Lost1 - 03 - 1
Time Of Possession26:4033:20

News: 9/29/03

It was supposed to be a slaughter. Or at least it appeared that way on paper.

The Lions weren't given much of a chance to win at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday afternoon. And with good reason.

First of all, the Denver Broncos had demolished their first three opponents, winning by 20 or more points each time. Add the Lions' failure to win a road game in 17 tries since 2000, and the odds were stacked against them.

And even though the Lions lost a hard-fought 20-16 game Sunday, you still got the sense that this horrid drought will end soon. Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel.

"We competed right down to the wire," Coach Steve Mariucci said. "I think we grew up a little bit today.

"We have more growing up to do, obviously, but I think we learned something today. We learned that if we can play as well as we can, efficiently and smart, that we can beat some teams."

Don't be surprised if it happens next week in Mariucci's return to San Francisco. It appears they're heading there at the right time, because the 49ers are struggling and the Lions have gained needed confidence.

"The bottom line in this league is either we won or we lost," linebacker Barrett Green said. "That's the only thing that matters.

"Did we make progress? Yes. Was it satisfactory? No. We're going to get better and we're not going to get down about it. We have another road game next week. It's another opportunity for us to come out and break this streak."

Scotty Anderson's 43-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter looked like a turning point, a big play the Lions have been seeking for some time. But Jason Hanson's missed extra-point try after a botched snap prevented the Lions from tying the score at 17.

That wasn't the only mistake, though. There were big penalties in big situations that derailed the Lions, and none bigger than Dominic Raiola's second chop block of the game. It negated a first-down catch by Charles Rogers at Denver's 43-yard line with nine minutes to go.

"We have to make more plays and not kill ourselves with the penalties like we do," defensive end Robert Porcher said.

The Lions (1-3) were close to being Sunday's biggest upset winners in the NFL.

"Our team gave good effort," Rogers said. "We didn't quit. We didn't back down."

That's a good step. After all, this season isn't about playoffs, it's about


The Lions have to keep showing that things are getting better. On Sunday, the thing that jumped out was the running game has some life. It isn't ready to run full speed yet, but it has some legs. The three-headed monster of Shawn Bryson, Olandis Gary and Avon Cobourne teamed for 124 yards. Bryson led the way with 73 yards on 12 carries.

If Bryson has emerged as the featured back, the Lions will have a chance to do more on offense, taking a lot of pressure off quarterback Joey Harrington and his receivers.

Even the defense got a little better, but it couldn't make any big stops at the end when the Broncos moved downfield for a field goal and four-point cushion.

"We were in position to win a game and just didn't close it," Mariucci said.

But the Lions got closer to coming home winners than they have in the last three seasons.


Without Clinton Portis, the Denver Broncos were not at their sharpest, but they still had enough to defeat the Detroit Lions.

Jake Plummer threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns as the Broncos edged the Lions, 20-16, to remain undefeated.

The Lions (1-3) trailed, 17-10, before Joey Harrington tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Anderson with 13:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. But after a bad snap, Jason Hanson missed the extra point.

"Now I know how Jon Gruden feels," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said, alluding to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, who saw his team lose in regulation to Carolina in Week Two after having the go-ahead extra point blocked on the final play of regulation. "You can't take those things for granted."

Jason Elam's 41-yard field goal with 3:13 left provided the final margin.

Harrington threw an incomplete pass to rookie Charles Rogers on a 4th-and-10 pass with 1:27 to play at the Detroit 32 and the Broncos ran out the clock.

"I was pleased with our guys the way they reacted in the fourth quarter. That's what good teams do," Shanahan said. "You have to find a way to win in the fourth quarter. You might not play your "A" game, but you have to find a way to get it done, and that's what I thought we did today."

"We competed right down to the wire," Mariucci said. "I think we grew up a little bit today. We have more growing up to do, obviously, but I think we learned something today, we learned that if we can play as well as we can, efficiently and smart, that we can beat some teams."

Ashley Lelie had four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown and tight end Shannon Sharpe seven for 74 yards and a score for the Broncos (4-0), who looked flat six days after beating AFC West rival Oakland and one week before meeting unbeaten division foe Kansas City.

Star running back Portis did not dress due to a bruised sternum. Plummer led the Broncos in rushing yards with 40 on six carries. Mike Anderson, Portis' replacement, had just 21 on seven rushes.

"I really don't know (if Portis will play against the Chiefs), we'll have to evaluate him next week," Shanahan said. "I thought he was going to be healthy two weeks ago and be able to last a whole game, and once he got hit during the Monday night game (it seemed like two weeks ago) in the sternum, he didn't last the whole game. So we can't say he's going to be ready because I really don't know."

Harrington completed 15-of-33 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions, who lost their 18th straight road game and third in a row overall.

"You know, we feel like we're close. Just a few plays here and there," Harrington said. "But (we) can't hang our heads now, just get back to work and get ready for next week."

Olandis Gary, who spent his first four seasons with the Broncos, gained 42 yards on seven carries. Shawn Bryson had 13 rushes for 73 yards.

"It was fun to come back," Gary said. "But just to be so close and not get the victory is tough."

Denver fell behind for the first time this season when Harrington opened the scoring with a 33-yard strike to Rogers midway through the first quarter. Plummer evened the score with a 29-yard TD toss to Lelie with 1:56 left in the period, and his one-yard touchdown pass to Sharpe 4 1/2 minutes into the second quarter gave Denver the lead for good, 14-7.

Hanson nailed a 53-yard field goal - the 23rd of his career of at least 50 yards - with six minutes left in the quarter to make it 14-10.

With just over a minute remaining in the half, Plummer lost the ball diving for a first down at the Detroit 14, but the Lions could not muster any more points before the break.

"It kept us from scoring at least three points, maybe more," Plummer said. "At the time I was trying to dive for the first down, and I thought I maybe could have slid and got it, but I didn't think so at the moment with those guys charging me, so I was just trying to get the ball across there. The ball bounced out, so I just have to take better care of the ball."

After missing on his first pass attempt, Plummer completed his final 16 of the half.

"I think you need challenges like this sometimes, we knew Detroit was going to come in ready to play," Plummer said. "Regardless of what every one thinks we did not take them lightly, we came out ready to play and get after them. And now we are 4-0 getting ready to head to Kansas City."

Scott's Game Commentary:

I hate to admit it, but I gave the Lions no chance at all of competing with the Broncos. To my disbelief, there the honolulu blue and silver were...a chance with less than three minutes to go to pull off the 2nd biggest upset this year in the NFL. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The Lions, left for dead last week, played in my opinion there best game of the year and with a few breaks could have won the game. It was quite evident that Denver really missed RB Clinton Portis. Who would of thought the Lions would out rush the Broncos 144-79 in Mile High? The running back by committee had their best performance of the year. Charles Rogers and Scottie Anderson hauled in two long touchdowns. But, Center Dominic Raiola killed the Lions chances of winning by taking two chop block penalities in the 2nd half that left Maricucci steaming on the sideline. It is bad enough to have a chop block penalty called against you, but two in a game? The defense played the best they have all year and only gave up two touchdowns, one which should not of counted because of offensive pass interference but the zebras missed the call. After Scottie Anderson brought the Lions to within one in the 4th quarter, the snapper Bradford Banta botched the snap the Lions missed the extra point. That brought back memories of that Miami Dolphins road game in 1997 when the Lions botched two extra points and lost a heart breaker. Still, it came down to Harrington needing to lead the Lions to a winning touchdown and he failed by throwing four straight incomplete passes. All in all, it was good to see a game that went down to the wire but the road losing streak continues to grow as it now reaches eighteen games.


*Offense: --- C+. The running game FINALLY got on track against a good run defense. Olandis Gary and Shawn Bryson combined for 115 on 20 carries, but it was two badly timed chop block calls on Center Dominic Raiola that killed two 2nd half drives. Joey Harrington had a good game, but still needs to cut down on the incomplete passes. Too may times, receives were open but Harrington overthrew the ball. On the last drive of the game, Ricks was wide open 20 yards down field but Harrington didn't see him. Charles Rogers had a decent game after being invisible the past two games. Scottie Anderson, rumored to be on his way out, had one huge touchdown catch for 43 yards. The Lions completed almost 50% of their first downs which is a nice improvement from past games. If the running game produces like it did against the Broncos and if Harrington can be a little more accurate the offense has a chance to score points the rest of the season.

*Defense: --- B+. Denver had scored a lot of points the first three weeks of the season, but the Defense held them in check, minus Clintin Portis. They only gave up two touchdowns the entire game and only two field goals in the 2nd half. It was nice to finally see some sacks. The "D" had three sacks and was in QB Jake Plummer's face most of the day. Even without Portis, the Broncos had a hard time running against the Lions. RB Mike Anderson had only 21 yards rushing. As banged up as the Defense is, they hung tough the entire game and gave the offense a chance to win the game in the 4th quarter.

*Special Teams: --- D. Hanson nailed a 53 yarder, but Bradford Banta's botched snap was a back breaker since it left the Lions down one in the 4th quarter. The Lions sorely miss Eddie Drummond. The return game was non existant for a 2nd straight game.

*Coaching: --- D. What is with all these defensive time outs? There is no excuse having to call time out more than three times in a game because the defense isn't setup correctly or has 12 players on the field. That ended up costing the Lions dearly right before the half. Also, the play calling on the last offensive drive was way too conservative. Mariucci needs to have Harrington throw the ball down field more.

*Overall: --- C-. The Lions lost their 18th straight road game, although it was one of their better efforts on the road against a good team. Still, a loss is a loss and the Lions are now 1-3 and staring another losing season right in the face. Although I said last week there is no possible way the Lions could beat Denver or San Francisco, I wouldn't be surprised to see them break the road losing streak against the 49ers. Since the 49ers clobbered the Bears (the worst team in the NFL), the have went 0-3 and got smoked against Gus Frerotte and the Vikings this week. If there is one game Mariucci would want to win more, it will be against his old team that thought he could not get the job done. A win against the 49ers would give the Lions a 2-3 record heading into the bye week. But, there is just something about the West Coast and the honolulu blue and silver that doesn't mix. It has been quite a while since their last victory out West.

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