Brandon Stokley lost sleep over 'Immaculate' moment


The Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals aren't known for their rich history together, but there was that play in the 2009 season opener.

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We're referring to "The Immaculate Deflection" -- Brandon Stokley's miracle 87-yard touchdown reception to seal a stunning Broncos victory at Paul Brown Stadium. Stokley's good fortune on the throw by Kyle Orton was memorable. But it's the image of Stokley running parallel along the goal line to tick precious seconds off the clock that's seared into the minds of Bengals fans.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis still has painful memories of the unlikely 12-7 loss. Surprisingly, Stokley does, too.

"I just kind of saw that nobody was behind me chasing me," Stokley told The Associated Press as the Broncos prepare to meet the Bengals on Sunday. "I saw a guy kind of give up on it. I knew there wasn't a lot of time left, so I thought why not try to run some time off?

"And then the next day, I kind of started having nightmares about it: 'What if I'd have gotten caught? What if I had fumbled? What if somebody would have hit me?' I think next time I'll probably just get in the end zone."

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The win propelled the Broncos to a 6-0 start, though they later missed the playoffs. The Bengals went on to win the AFC North but were bounced out in the first round of the postseason by the New York Jets.

It turned out to be a blip on the radar for both teams. But a memorable blip at that.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.