- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

DENVER | Kyle Orton is no John Elway, Josh McDaniels is no Bill Belichick and those mustard-yellow uniforms certainly don’t have anyone thinking “Orange Crush.”

But on a day that had as much to do with Denver’s colorful history as its promising present, anything seemed possible.

Orton led a drive that might ring a bell for Broncos fans - 98 yards in the fourth quarter to tie the game - then Matt Prater kicked a 41-yard field goal in overtime Sunday to lift Denver to a 20-17 victory over New England.

McDaniels got a win over his old boss, Belichick, and the Broncos improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1998, their last Super Bowl season.

“I lied,” McDaniels said when asked about his game-week assertion that this was just another game. “It was a little bit more special to me because I knew how hard it was to beat him.”

His postgame reaction said it all. After a quick wave to Belichick, McDaniels ran to the corner of the stadium near where his family sits and pumped his fist repeatedly before sharing bear hugs with his players.

“This doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you can share it with somebody,” McDaniels said. “Sometimes you’re allowed to have fun. That’s what I was doing.”

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the AFL, the Broncos came out in their 1960s yellow jerseys and vertically striped socks, then they played better than they looked.

Orton threw for 330 yards and two scores. The defense held New England (3-2) scoreless in the second half.

Denver’s game-tying, fourth-quarter drive certainly wasn’t “The Drive” - Elway’s classic, 98-yard march that helped beat the Browns 23-20 back in the 1987 AFC title game - but it will go down as one of the best in this franchise’s history.

This start?

Easily the most surprising since the Broncos took the field half a century ago. Even the 1977 Super Bowl team - the team that coined the term “Orange Crush” - was viewed as an up-and-comer back then, something the turmoil-wracked Broncos certainly were not heading into 2009.

“The guys in this locker room believe, the coaches believe, guys believe in each other and are fighting,” defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said.

Trailing 17-10 with 9:59 left, Orton was patient during the game-tying drive that started at the 2. A 14-yard completion to Jabar Gaffney. A screen to Knowshon Moreno that sprung for 27. A 7-yard completion to Eddie Royal, who finished with 10 catches for 90 yards.

Brandon Marshall, who scored the game-winner last week against Dallas, did the honors this time, too, catching a pass on the sideline, then breaking a tackle for an 11-yard score that tied it at 17-17. It was his second touchdown of the game.

The teams traded a pair of possessions around midfield to close regulation, then the Broncos won the toss and drove 58 yards to set up the winning field goal with 10:09 left in OT.

“The electricity in the stadium was so great that we had to have it,” Orton said. “When we got to overtime, we just had to win.”

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