American Football: Broncos seek place in history

A PLACE in history continues to beckon for the Denver Broncos. The reigning Super Bowl champions extended their 1998 record to 11 wins in a row with a 40-14 crushing of the Oakland Raiders, and they remain on course to emulate the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in league history to enjoy an unbeaten season.

The victory over the Raiders, not quite the stroll that the final scoreline suggests, will be remembered for John Elway's five-yard pass to Willie Green in the first quarter. Not the most spectacular play of Elway's distinguished campaign, but it meant that he had thrown 50,000 yards in his 15-season career, a feat only previously achieved by Dan Marino of the Dolphins.

It has been a frustrating season for the Broncos' emotional leader. Having announced that this would be his last year as a player, he has been out of action with a variety of hamstring, back and rib injuries, as the passage of time finally begins to exact a toll on his health. The achievement, however, confirms his status as one of the game's legends.

"It's pretty neat that Marino is the only other guy to get there," he said. "Growing up, it seemed so far away, but to get to 50,000 is great. The last 30 yards seemed like it took a year. This is awfully humbling."

"He's still got it," said his team-mate, Neil Smith. "A lot of people say he's washed up, and can't take the licks, but he's our quarterback and we love him to death. He makes things happen for us."

Elway threw three more touchdowns in the rout of the Raiders, taking his career total to 290, equalling the third highest haul of all time. Almost overshadowed by the veteran passer, the running back Terrell Davis rushed for a further 162 yards, and with 1,492 for the season, remains on course to smash the all-time record of 2,105, set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. With five games left in the regular season, further causes for celebration in Colorado seem only a matter of time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may feel like celebrating as well, their 30-15 triumph over the Jacksonville Jaguars keeping their hopes of reaching the play-offs alive. There was little to choose between the two teams, but the difference proved to be the Pittsburgh defensive back Dewayne Washington, who opened the scoring with a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown, and closed it in the last minute with a 78-yard return for a score.

The irony is that Washington has been criticised this season for his failure to make big plays. The Steelers' coaches reckon he has missed nine clear interception chances, but he more than atoned against the Jaguars. "I was just trying too hard before," he said. "I was worrying about running with the ball before catching it."

The Minnesota Vikings fought off a brave challenge from the Green Bay Packers, with the quarterback, Randall Cunningham, throwing two touchdowns in a 28-14 win. In another contest crucial to the fortunes of both sides, the New York Jets defeated the Tennessee Oilers 24-3, thanks to a brave performance from their quarterback, Vinny Testaverde.

The veteran passer awoke on Sunday morning complaining of headaches and nausea, and needed intravenous fluids before taking the field. After he threw scoring passes to Keyshawn Johnson and Keith Byars, however, the Oilers were the ones left feeling sick.

The Atlanta Falcons duly dispatched the Chicago Bears 20-13, but lost their quarterback, Chris Chandler, with knee and ankle injuries. Victory at a price, too, for the Dallas Cowboys, who defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-22, but lost Deion Sanders,Everett McIver and Ernie Mills with a variety of ailments.

Standings, Digest, page 29

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence