Five third-down conversions against; 281 total yards surrendered;
seven points allowed in a Week 17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
For the most part, it was a performance the Denver defense could be proud of.
But cornerback Champ Bailey wasn’t satisfied -– particularly with the Broncos’ lack of takeaways.
“We’ve got to play better,” Bailey said. “We played good in the second half last week, but we still didn’t get any turnovers. We’ve got to get turnovers to help our offense.”
In the Wild Card round Sunday against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, Bailey knows how critical protecting the ball on offense and taking it away on defense will be in deciding the outcome.
“Turnovers,” he said, “really determine who wins the game most of the time.”
Consider the 2005 season, when the Steelers edged Bailey and the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC Championship game.
The turnover department that day?
4-0 in Pittsburgh’s favor.
“You can’t expect to win a game when the turnover margin is minus four,” Bailey said. “When you play a caliber team like the Steelers, you can’t make mistakes and expect to win.”
Mistakes in the secondary tend to be magnified against the Steelers’ current group of receivers.
Mike Wallace, who Bailey called the “fastest guy in the league, period,” and Antonio Brown each posted 1,000-yard seasons, and both wideouts have the breakaway speed to score from anywhere on the field, putting sure-tackling and communication at a premium for the Denver defense.
“They’re fast. They’re some of the fastest receivers you’ll see. That’s probably the biggest challenge,” Bailey said. “That’s why you have guys like myself, Andre’ Goodman, Chris Harris — we have to hold up. We have to run with these guys. We’re not slow, either, so we can definitely do it.”
Its clear Bailey has confidence in his team’s ability to pull out a victory over the favored Steelers Sunday.
Underdog or not, the Broncos are looking to advance past the Wild Card round.
“This is the playoffs,” Bailey said. “Regardless (of what people say), we have to go out there and get it done. We got in and we have to make something happen.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Future contract signees are officially added to the roster at the beginning of the following league year.
The tickets, which are located in the upper level and cost $60 each, are being sold at all Ticketmaster outlets, via Ticketmaster Charge By Phone, through online sales at www.ticketmaster.com and at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High box office.
Fans may purchase tickets with a credit card via Ticketmaster Charge By Phone by calling 1-800-745-3000. Fans desiring to use the Internet to purchase tickets may do so at www.ticketmaster.com.
NFL games accounted for 23 of the 25 most-watched TV shows among all programming, including three Broncos games (at Green Bay, vs. New England and vs. Kansas City).
In addition, the 16 most-watched shows on cable last fall were all NFL games, including the Broncos’ season-opener on Monday Night Football.
Overall, according to The Nielson Company, the 2011 NFL regular season reached more than 200 million unique viewers.
Below are photos from Thursday’s practice.