for this game

Defense steps up as Broncos defeat Buccaneers

Oct 6, 2008 - 12:52 AM By Tony Desiere PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Denver Broncos finally have a reason to feel good about their defense.

Jay Cutler tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley and Matt Prater kicked three goals Sunday, lifting the Broncos to a 16-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Broncos (4-1) held the Buccaneers to a pair of field goals by Matt Bryant until Jeff Garcia threw a 7-yard TD pass to Ike Hilliard with 2:02 remaining.

Denver came into the game ranked 29th in scoring, allowing 29.3 points per game, and 31st in passing.

"Obviously, that was a nice team win," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "We beat a good team in Tampa Bay, they're a team that will be in the playoffs. Excellent defense, offense and special teams. Our guys fought hard for 60 minutes and that is what I'm most proud of."

Denver snapped a 6-6 tie on Cutler's scoring pass to Stokley with 5:51 remaining in the third quarter. It was Stokley's first touchdown of the season.

"We've been in some high-scoring ballgames," Cutler. "The defense has caught a lot of heat, but we knew they were better than that. We have too much talent and too much character over there."

Tampa Bay quarterback Brian Griese suffered a shoulder injury and was knocked out of the game with 8:39 remaining in the third period when he was hit by cornerback Champ Bailey on a blitz. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Buccaneers (3-2).

"We were behind on down and distance," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. "We had a couple of sacks that compounded that and that is no way to win here."

Garcia replaced Griese in his first appearance since he suffered an ankle injury in a season-opening 24-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

"I feel great," Garcia said. "When I got my reps in practice this week, I felt sharp, crisp and accurate and I had a bounce in my step, which is important for my style of play."

Garcia directed a 90-yard drive for the Buccaneers' only touchdown, but the possession took nearly 5 1/2 minutes.

With three timeouts remaining, Gruden elected to kick deep. The Broncos picked up two first downs, however, and were able to run out the clock.

"We decided to do a drive kick right into the pile, hoping for a ricochet," Gruden said. "Unfortunately, it ricocheted down the field."

Griese, who played for the Broncos from 1998 to 2002, completed 13-for-19 passes for only 88 yards before leaving the game. He left the field under his own power.

"It's going to be all right," Griese said. "I took a helmet to the elbow and the swelling made it hard to grip the ball."

While it was too late, Garcia did provide a spark, connecting on 13-of-17 passes for 93 yards.

"Jeff is a veteran quarterback," Tampa Bay running back Warrick Dunn. "He came in and made some plays and did a great job when he was in there."

Cutler overcame a slow start to finish 23-for-34 for 227 yards with a touchdown. Prater converted field goals of 55, 40 and 27 yards.



"In practice, he's hit them from 70 yards consistently," Shanahan said. "When he's out there, you know it has nothing to do with the distance."






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    Buccaneers 13, Broncos 16  FinalOct 5 6:59 PM


  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 0 7 13
    DENVER 0 6 7 3 16 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 33 YD, 10:32. Drive: 7
    plays, 65 yards in 4:01. Key plays:
    Graham 14-yard run to Tampa Bay 36;
    Dunn 38-yard run to Denver 21.
    TAMPA BAY 3-0
    2ND QUARTER: DEN - FG, MATT PR

    Oct 5 6:58 PM


  • NFL
    TD TAM
    IKE HILLIARD 7 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (MATT BRYANT KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 13
    DENVER 16 2:02 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers 13, Broncos 16  4th - 2:02Oct 5 6:49 PM
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    Buccaneers 13, Broncos 16  4th - 2:02Oct 5 6:49 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    MATT PRATER 27 YD
    TAMPA BAY 6
    DENVER 16 12:24 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 16  4th - 12:24Oct 5 6:20 PM
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    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 13  4th - 15:00Oct 5 6:17 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 3 3 0 6
    DENVER 0 6 7 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 33 YD, 10:32. Drive: 7
    plays, 65 yards in 4:01. Key plays:
    Graham 14-yard run to Tampa Bay 36;
    Dunn 38-yard run to Denver 21.
    TAMPA BAY 3-0
    2ND QUARTER: DEN - FG,

    Oct 5 6:14 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    BRANDON STOKLEY 10 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (MATT PRATER KICK)
    TAMPA BAY 6
    DENVER 13 5:41 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 13  3rd - 5:41Oct 5 6:01 PM
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    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 6  3rd - 9:25Oct 5 5:55 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 31 YD
    TAMPA BAY 6
    DENVER 6 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 6  HalfOct 5 5:25 PM
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    Buccaneers 6, Broncos 6  HalfOct 5 5:25 PM


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    FG DEN
    MATT PRATER 40 YD
    TAMPA BAY 3
    DENVER 6 2:21 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers 3, Broncos 6  2nd - 2:21Oct 5 5:13 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    MATT PRATER 55 YD
    TAMPA BAY 3
    DENVER 3 14:56 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Buccaneers 3, Broncos 3  2nd - 14:56Oct 5 4:42 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 3 3
    DENVER 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TAM - FG, MATT BRYANT 33 YD, 10:32. Drive: 7
    plays, 65 yards in 4:01. Key plays:
    Graham 14-yard run to Tampa Bay 36;
    Dunn 38-yard run to Denver 21.
    TAMPA BAY 3-0

    Oct 5 4:39 PM


  • NFL
    FG TAM
    MATT BRYANT 33 YD
    TAMPA BAY 3
    DENVER 0 4:28 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Buccaneers 3, Broncos 0  1st - 4:28Oct 5 4:26 PM
  • reuzter i just want the Broncos to knock the Bucs down a notch, so the Panthers will be #1 in NFC South

    Buccaneers vs. BroncosOct 5 2:08 PM
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