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Broncos use defense to beat Oakland

DENVER (Oct. 15, 2006) -- The Denver Broncos apparently don't know much about math or history. They only know their defense is very, very good.

The Broncos once again kept an opponent out of the end zone in a 13-3 win over the Oakland Raiders, when they found barely enough offense to go with their suffocating defense.

The Broncos (4-1) are the first team since the 1934 Lions to start off a season by yielding just one TD through five games, something coach Mike Shanahan miscalculated in his congratulatory chat with his team.

"'Thirty-four?" Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams said. "Coach got it wrong! Coach Shanahan told us '42. Just think about that, something that hasn't happened since '34 and it's 2006. That's just amazing, being able to do that. There have been a lot of great teams, even the Baltimore team in 2000 didn't do this, and they won the Super Bowl basically winning it by defense."

Detroit shut out its first seven opponents in '34.

Shanahan got it wrong with the media, too, telling reporters it was 1940.

"I know it hasn't happened in a while," safety John Lynch said. "But I know one TD in five games is pretty darn good."

Shanahan may be sketchy on his math, but at least he's not on the wrong side of history like the Raiders, who are 0-5 for the first time since 1964. They're also the only team left that hasn't won a game this year.

"This is the first game where I felt that we lost our composure," coach Art Shell said after his team committed 13 penalties. "We lost our focus."

Oakland has lost 11 in a row dating to last season.

Jason Elam kicked two field goals, Tatum Bell scored on a short touchdown run and Champ Bailey once again picked off a key pass to thwart a scoring drive.

Jake Plummer isn't fretting over Denver's continued offensive ineptitude.

"The offense will come," he said. "We have Mike Shanahan, one of the best offensive minds in football."

As is their style, the Broncos bent but didn't break. Bailey picked off a pass at the Denver 1 in the first half and defensive tackle Michael Myers ended another promising drive by the Raiders when he scooped up LaMont Jordan's fumble at the Denver 19 with 4:24 remaining.

Sebastian Janikowski's 47-yard field goal pulled the Raiders to 13-3 midway through the third quarter, capping an ugly 23-yard drive that ate up almost 6 1/2 minutes and included two sacks and a fumble by quarterback Andrew Walter, which he recovered himself.

The Broncos took a 13-0 lead into the locker room. With this Denver defense, that's downright insurmountable.

Bailey had perfect position on Randy Moss and picked off Walter's pass just before he tiptoed out of bounds. Last week, Bailey's pickoff of Steve McNair 's lob pass in the end zone just before halftime helped the Broncos beat Baltimore, also 13-3.

Bailey's interception came just two plays after Walter, making his third start in place of Aaron Brooks (injured right shoulder), hit Moss for a 51-yard gain to the Denver 28.

In the first quarter, Lynch punched away a pass to Moss in the end zone, and Janikowski's 54-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

Denver took over at its 44 and Plummer lofted a jump ball to Javon Walker, who outleaped cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and came down at the Raiders 2 for a 54-yard gain. Bell took it in on the next snap for a 7-0 Denver lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter -- the first points the Broncos have scored in the opening quarter all season.

Elam kicked field goals of 51 and 22 yards in the second quarter. His second came after fullback Cecil Sapp, replacing starter Kyle Johnson, who sprained his right ankle on the Broncos' first series, dropped a wide-open pass while he was trotting in for an easy 4-yard touchdown.

Things got so bad for the Raiders that Terdell Sands body-slammed Bell in the closing minutes and was whistled for a personal foul, Oakland's 13th penalty.

"We are getting better," Walter asserted. "There are no moral victories in professional sports, to talk about that is ridiculous, because we are judged on wins and losses."

The Raiders lost a top receiver Oct. 14 when Jerry Porter was suspended without pay for insubordination.

"It was a combination of things, there were a couple of things that happened over the course of the week and there were some things that happened over time," Shell said. "I consulted everybody: the position coaches, the owner, people in personnel, but the ultimate decision was mine."


The Raiders' worst start came in 1962, when they lost their first 13 games, ending a 19-game skid. ... Broncos WR Rod Smith became the sixth NFL player to catch 100 passes against three or more teams. ... Slaughter was inserted into the lineup after starter Langston Walker suffered an unspecified injury in the first quarter. ... Raiders RB Justin Fargas injured a shoulder.

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