for this game

Broncos' impressive defense dominates Frye, Browns

Oct 22, 2006 - 11:22 PM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The way the Denver Broncos' defense has played this season, a matchup with the Cleveland Browns isn't even a legitimate challenge.

Denver's vaunted defense authored another strong performance and Tatum Bell ran for 115 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos posted a resounding 17-7 victory against the overmatched Browns.

In their first six games, the Broncos (5-1) have allowed a total of 44 points, including just two touchdowns. They have surrendered more than seven points only once as their defense continues to mask some of the issues they have on the offensive side of the ball.

"We did a lot of things great defensively last year, but rather than just be satisfied, we took a look at what we could do to get better," safety John Lynch said. "We were horrific in the red zone (last year). So we took about 70-75 percent of our reps within the red zone this offseason. It's been a point of emphasis, and some great results have come out of that hard work."

Denver was the first team to surrender just one touchdown in its first five games since the 1934 Detroit Lions allowed just one in their first seven contests. To put the Broncos' defense in perspective, the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers allowed almost as many points on Sunday (41) as Denver has allowed all season (44).

"When our backs are against the wall, we usually come out swinging and give up three points at the most," said Denver cornerback Champ Bailey, who intercepted a badly overthrown ball by Charlie Frye on the first play of the fourth quarter. "All that matters is that we won. Yes, we take a lot of pride in not giving up touchdowns, but the win is more important."

Denver still has yet to score more than 17 points in a game this season. Jake Plummer completed 20-of-41 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, but the maligned quarterback also lost a fumble, was intercepted twice and nearly picked off on several other occasions.

Bell had 24 carries, including a nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to make it 10-0. Rookie Brandon Marshall added a nine-yard TD catch in the third for the Broncos, who begin a key six-game stretch next week in which they host Indianapolis, San Diego and Seattle and visit Oakland, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

The game also signified the return for a quartet of former Browns defensive linemen - Ebenezer Ekuban, Michael Myers, Kenard Lang and Gerard Warren - all of whom now start for the Broncos.

Myers and Lang both recorded a sack, while rookie defensive end Elvis Dumervil collcted three. "It's always nice to come back and win," Shanahan said. "If you are familiar with an organization, you always want to come back and show them that they might have missed something."

Denver harassed Cleveland's offense the entire game, allowing only a six-yard TD pass from Frye to Joe Jurevicius with 11:43 remaining. The only other touchdown the Broncos have surrendered this year came against the New England Patriots in Week Three with the outcome already decided.

"I like the reaction when we give up a touchdown - guys aren't happy," Lynch said. "It doesn't matter where they got the ball, it's our job to keep them out."

Meanwhile, the Browns' afternoon was epitomized on a possession midway through the fourth quarter. Frye nearly was intercepted on first down and Jurevicius dropped a pass on the next play before Frye was sacked to complete the horrible sequence.

"I think they have a fast defense," Jurevicius said. "They don't make many mistakes and when we do, they are right on top of it. This is the NFL and defenses are paid, too. Once again, we showed some brilliance, but we also showed some young team mistakes."

Under pressure on virtually every snap, Frye finished 19-of-33 for 149 yards with one touchdown and an interception and was sacked five times.

Former Bronco Reuben Droughns contributed just 33 yards on 12 carries for Cleveland (1-5), which managed only 165 total yards and finished with 1-of-14 combined conversions on third and fourth down.

"We weren't able to generate much on offense," said Browns coach Romeo Crennel, whose team hardly looked like it was coming off a bye. "We knew it was going to be a tough game with the way they play defense. I have been talking to our guys the last couple weeks about turnover ratio and it hurt us again tonight."

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