Broncos defense provides spark late, can't stop Seahawks OT march in 26-20 loss
By Johnny Hart
A safety is most likely the indelible image of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl 48 thumping at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
Peyton Manning barked away signals, Manny Ramirez snaps the ball and, whoop, it goes over the quarterback’s head for two points.
The Seahawks may well have won right then and there.
But it was a safety Sunday in Seattle that sparked a Broncos comeback that nearly netted the club a signature win against the defending champs.
After three quarters of lethargic football from the Broncos, specifically its offense, the Denver defense put up a two-pointer on Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch just a few minutes into the fourth quarter to put the game at 17-5.
It seemingly proved as a turning point in momentum for the Broncos, as cornerback Chris Harris would again come up big on Seattle’s next offensive drive, intercepting Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on a tipped pass by fellow cornerback Aqib Talib.
Denver, with a short field, would eventually punch it in with a shovel pass touchdown from Manning to tight end Julius Thomas, bringing the team within a touchdown of the lead at 17-12.
Still, the Broncos offense, driving toward another touchdown with just minutes left in the fourth, stalled in the Seattle red zone with a Manning interception, which would lead to a Seahawks field goal.
Down eight points with just a minute left on the clock, however, Manning would rally his troops, driving 80 yards in just 41 seconds to lob a touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme –– and a two-point conversion to Demaryius Thomas –– to tie the game 20-20.
But after losing the coin toss to start overtime, Denver’s defense couldn’t stop the methodic march of the Seahawks in the extra period.
Much on the back of Wilson, Seattle would drive 80 yards in overtime to score six and notch the Broncos its first loss of the season.
Denver now heads into its bye week still atop the AFC West –– tied with the San Diego Chargers at 2-1 –– but fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten. Only the Cincinnati Bengals, at 3-0, have not lost among the AFC squads.
And the Broncos hit parade of a schedule rolls along in Week 5, as they welcome the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals –– also unbeaten through three weeks –– on Oct. 5.
Broncos Welker has 'moved on' from suspension, says drug policy was 'flawed'
By Johnny Hart
There was the concussion that sidelined him after Week 3 of the preseason.
Then, the NFL suspended him for four-games before Week 1 of the regular season.
After that was the glimmer of hope he’d play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, and then he wasn’t active despite a newly ratified drug policy.
Wes Welker is finally back with the Denver Broncos, after the league rescinded his four-game suspension Wednesday two games shy of completing his punishment.
And the wide receiver said he’s “moved on” from the situation and it was good to be back at the club’s Dove Valley facilities, especially after realizing how much he missed playing the game.
“ It feels great being out there with your teammates and everything else,” Welker said Wednesday after practice. “You really realize how much you miss it when you’re able to come here and go to work and be in meetings and hang around the guys and get out there and play something you love.”
But despite moving on from the ban, Welker maintained he’s serious about pursuing better drug policies for the NFL in light of his own case.
The five-time Pro Bowler tested positive for amphetamines, previously categorized as a performance-enhancing offense.
With the league’s zero-tolerance policy for PEDs, Welker was suspended upon his first positive test.
But with the NFL Players Association voting in favor of a new drug testing policy last Friday, which would not only allow for the testing of human growth hormone but also more relaxed recreational drug policies, Welker’s path to return had been cleared.
“I said it was flawed and we got it fixed,” Welker said. “I think that just comes to show it was flawed and it’s fixed now and we can move on from it.”
In Welker’s case, he’s now categorized under the substance-abuse policy, which comes with a suspension only after the third positive test.
There had been talk that with the player’s union voting before the weekend that Welker could’ve been activated for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
However, the league didn’t sign off on the new drug policy until Wednesday morning, at which time Welker and several other players around the league were reinstated.
Welker’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Broncos, as they have a Super Bowl 48 rematch with the Seahawks in Seattle Sunday.
Quarterback Peyton Manning said after practice he and his fellow teammates were excited to get Welker back, a man who put up a career-high 10 touchdown catches last season.
“We missed him a lot,” tight end Julius Thomas said after practice. “Like I said, he’s one of our leaders, one of the guys that we look to in that huddle. He’s been playing at a high level for a long time, so with him back everybody kind of gets to slide into doing all the things that they normally do.”