Closing notes from INVESCO Field at Mile High as the Broncos look to quickly nurse and heal the wounds from their first home regular-season defeat in 23 months …
- Did the Broncos miss defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who was scratched from the lineup with a sprained ankle? If you ask defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, absolutely. “Of course you’re going to miss him,” Ekuban said. “He brings certain things to that fron that I think no other guy can get in there and do.”
- Mike Bell’s jukes and tough yardage, Cecil Sapp’s bursts into the open field and Jake Plummer’s timely scrambles helped the Broncos have their best rushing day of the season to date, with 227 yards on 36 carries. The 227 yards were the Broncos’ most in a loss since they amassed 240 yards in a 31-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 10, 1995. You might remember that as the Glyn Milburn game; he gained an NFL single-game record 404 combined yards that day, 131 coming on the ground.
- Brian Clark’s debut as Broncos kickoff returner saw him average 25.0 yards on his two kickoff returns. Five Indianapolis kickoffs went for touchbacks; Paul Ernster hammered four of his six kickoffs for touchbacks; his other two reached the end zone but were returned.
- There were just three combined punts in the game by Ernster and the Colts’ Hunter Smith. Two were in the game’s first five minutes.
- Indianapolis and Denver were fairly even on first downs, with the Colts averaging 6.8 yards per first down to Denver’s 6.3. However, the Colts averaged 9.3 yards per first-down pass — 2.7 yards better than the Broncos. “They were getting big chunks on first down,” safety John Lynch said. “You can’t be successful if those things are happening.”
- Indianapolis committed five penalties for 55 yards; Denver had three for 24. Broncos opponents have been whistled 43 times for 373 yards of infractions this year; the Broncos themselves have been flagged 25 times for 200 yards.
- Ian Gold was credited as Denver’s leading tackler with nine total stops.
- The Broncos’ run defense, which came into the game allowing 90.3 yards per game, yielded 92 to the Colts. However, Indianapolis averaged 4.4 yards per carry — 0.8 yards more than the Broncos’ season average coming into the game.
That’s it from here. Head Coach Mike Shanahan will meet the media at 1:30 p.m. MST, and we’ll have coverage. Good morning from Denver.