National Football League News
Elam boots Broncos past Bills on final play
Sep 9, 2007, 20:42 GMT
Orchard Park, NY - Jason Elam drilled a 42-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Denver Broncos to a dramatic 15-14 win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Trailing 14-12 with 2:13 remaining, Jay Cutler led the Broncos on a 12-play, 42-yard drive, including two fourth-down conversions, before Elam rushed onto the field with the special teams unit and made a long field goal, shocking the Bills' faithful in Orchard Park.
Elam, who missed two field goals earlier, had to rush onto the field because the Broncos were out of timeouts when Javon Walker caught an 11-yard pass from Cutler with 14 seconds left.
Denver curiously decided not to spike the ball and instead rushed the field- goal unit on and got the snap off with about two ticks left on the clock.
'We knew it was going to be close,' said Denver coach Mike Shanahan. 'Regardless of whether we had the first down or not, everybody was coming off the field. Scott O'Brien does an unbelievable job of orchestrating all the scenarios that exist in special teams and that was one of those situations that everybody was on top of. I think we got it off with about 1.2 seconds left. It takes a sharp unit to get the snapper, the holder, the kicker and everybody in place, and still get it done.'
Cutler finished 23-of-39 passing for 304 yards with a touchdown and one interception. Former Bill Travis Henry rushed for 139 yards on 23 carries and Walker had nine catches for 119 yards for Denver (1-0), which racked up 470 total yards, while limiting Buffalo to 184.
Buffalo starting quarterback J.P. Losman struggled, going 14-of-21 for 97 yards with an interception. Rookie Marshawn Lynch piled up 90 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and Roscoe Parrish returned a punt for a touchdown for Buffalo (0-1), which lost three defensive starters to injury.
Safety Ko Simpson (fractured left ankle), linebacker Coy Wire (medial collateral sprain) and cornerback Jason Webster (broken forearm). The most serious injury was to special teamer Kevin Everett, who suffered a cervical spine injury on the second half kickoff. The reserve tight end was knocked out cold and laid motionless before being taken off the field in an ambulance.
Parrish put the home crowd into a frenzy with a punt return of 74 yards for a touchdown with 6:17 left in the opening quarter.
Denver responded by driving deep into the Buffalo red zone. The Broncos, however, settled for a field goal after Henry was held to two yards on a 3rd- and-4 from the five-yard line. Elam's 21-yarder pulled Denver within 7-3 with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.
Elam drilled a 48-yarder with 7:51 to go in the second quarter, capping a nine-play, 37-yard drive.
The Bills had a chance to extend their lead before the half, but Ryan Lindell's 45-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
Denver drove down to the Bills' 32-yard line on its first drive of the second half, but Elam missed a 50-yarder wide left.
Lynch bullied his way to a 23-yard touchdown run with 6:32 left in the third quarter to put the Bills ahead 14-6.
On the next possession, Cutler led the Broncos on an 81-yard touchdown drive, capped when he connected with Brandon Marshall on a five-yard fade route in the back of the end zone. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Broncos down by two with 54 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Elam also misfired on a 43-yard attempt with 3:32 to play in the contest, and the Bills were unable to run out the clock, setting up Denver's final drive.
'Clearly it's a big disappointment,' said Buffalo coach Dick Jauron. 'To lose like that sure took the wind out of us. We made a number of errors and we made a number of good plays, and the good news is the guys fought. They fought through a lot of adversity trying to steal a win and they just couldn't hang on to do it. It was a very down locker room because of the injuries and because of the loss.'
Jauron provided no further update on Everett's status after the game and wouldn't say if Everett regained consciousness on the field or on the way to the hospital...Despite the 470 total yards, Denver scored only four times -- three field goals and a touchdown -- in eight trips into Buffalo territory...Denver, second in the AFC in season-opening winning percentage, improved to 30-17-1 in lid-lifters.
© 2007 The Sports Network