A day after being whistled for a roughing-the-kicker penalty that resuscitated what became a St. Louis field-goal drive, defensive end Patrick Chukwurah was looking to do nothing more than put the game behind him.
“I’ve got to shake it off,” he said Monday. “We’ve got 15 more games left before the playoffs. So we’ve got a long road ahead of us. I’ve just got to learn from my mistakes and keep trucking.”
In Chukwurah’s case, the mistake was leaving his feet as he sprinted in Matt Turk’s direction as he prepared to fire his punt. Doing so left him just out of control enough to where contact resulted, and as he went to the sidelines, he got an earful from special-teams coach Ronnie Bradford — a reaction that Chukwurah understood completely.
“He pretty much tore into me, but I’m not going to say he didn’t have good reason to,” Chukwurah said. “Stuff like that, you’ve got to let it go in one ear, and out the other and keep moving, listen to what he’s got to say and you can’t let it hold you down.”
But he did assert that the play should not have drawn the 15-yard penalty.
“I thought I was on the ground. I didn’t touch him. I was on the ground. (Turk) fell on top of me,” Chukwurah said. “We saw it on film. It wasn’t me running into him at all. It is what it is, man. If the refs call it, then what can you do?”
- Head Coach Mike Shanahan said he was “pretty pleased” with Javon Walker’s Broncos debut, “except for that one drop on the slant (route)” in the third quarter. The play earlier, Walker lost the handle on a potential reception. Said Walker: “Obviously you’re going to make some plays and not make some plays, but if we would have won, those plays would have been out of my mind.”
- Statistically speaking: Among teams that played prior to Monday night, Denver ranked second in rushing yardage per attempt, fourth in rushing yardage but 28th in net passing yardage. Defensively, the Broncos’ standout statistic was third-down percentage; in the 28 teams that played Thursday or Sunday, the Broncos were first in allowing the Rams to convert just 20 percent of their third downs (3 of 15). Denver also had the league’s best red-zone defense Sunday, allowing no touchdowns in five St. Louis forays inside the Broncos 20. Six other teams Sunday allowed no red-zone touchdowns, but none had as many opposition drives inside their 20.
Meanwhile, a time zone away:
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs means wondering about their quarterback situation. Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said that Trent Green is “extremely questionable for this week and probably out,” leaving Kansas City with veteran Damon Huard — who hasn’t started since 2000 — and rookie Brodie Croyle as the other options on their 53-man roster. Huard completed 12 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions Sunday. “We certainly think that Damon Huard is capable of winning football games for us and performed actually pretty darn well if you look at his stats from Sunday,” Peterson said.