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Broncos bounce back with new look on lines
ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - The Denver Broncos turned around their fortunes and maybe their season by altering their offensive and defensive fronts.
The changes in the trenches fueled their blowout of the Chiefs, who found themselves down 35-0 in the second quarter Sunday, the biggest first-half deficit in franchise history.
This from a Broncos team that had trailed Oakland 38-0 in their last home game.
During their bye week, the Broncos decided to return to the 3-4 defensive scheme they had ditched because of injuries to Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, and they finally got healthy enough on the offensive line to use the five starters they had envisioned in training camp.
Right tackle Ryan Harris returned from a sprained ankle that had sidelined him for a month and the improvement on the line was dramatic: no penalties, Knowshon Moreno’s first 100-yard rushing performance in his 22nd NFL game and Kyle Orton’s first four-TD game in his six seasons as a pro.
“We absolutely hope that this is going to be a consistent thing for our football team,” coach Josh McDaniels said Monday after reviewing film of a victory for the first time since Oct. 4. “It was good to see them get out there and play together and I think they played well as a unit.”
McDaniels had said after the bye week that he would simplify things and he did, not trying anything exotic on offense or defense.
“I think that was really the best example of a complementary football game that we’ve put together all year,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing for our team to be reinforced with what you’re really capable of doing when you put three phases together and play well.”
Denver also ditched the 4-3 look it had employed after Ayers broke his foot at Baltimore on Oct. 10. Mario Haggan moved from inside linebacker to pass-rushing outside linebacker and recorded three sacks after collecting just four in his first 97 NFL games.
On his third takedown of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, Haggan stripped the ball and Jason Hunter scooped it up and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.
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