Plummer sets record with 40-yard scramble


DENVER (AP) -- Jake Plummer -- no longer has to be a pretend John Elway. He already has had a game that rivaled the master's.

Plummer threw two first-quarter touchdown passes and ran for
another Monday night as Denver improved its unbeaten record by
routing Oakland 31-10. He also broke one of Elway's team
records with a 40-yard scramble that set up a field goal. Elway's
longest run of his 16-year career was 34 yards.

"That was a lot of fun," said Plummer, who spent his first six seasons with an Arizona team that was almost always weak. "I've had a lot of fun in the past, but the games didn't always come out the way I hoped they would."

This game did.

It was all but over by the end of a first period in which
the Broncos (3-0) took a 21-0 lead, outgaining the Raiders 170
yards to 7 and scoring on all three of their possessions.

The touchdowns came on an 18-yard pass from Plummer to Shannon Sharpe, a 44-yard pass to Ashley Lelie and a 6-yard scramble set up
by another 44-yard pass to Lelie. The first TD was a short flip, but the two long setup strikes were proof that the right shoulder Plummer separated in San Diego last week is healthy.

"There's always room for improvement -- nobody can be perfect,"
coach Mike Shanahan said. "But I thought Jake did a great job. He
made some great moves out of the pocket. He made the big plays when
we needed them."

Said Oakland coach Bill Callahan: "Our offense put the defense in a bad spot by going three and out three times."

Plummer, signed in the offseason after six seasons in Arizona,
has been considered by some Denver fans to be the next Elway,
although his career with the Cardinals hardly portends that -- he
had 90 TDs and 114 interceptions in the desert, and his career
passer rating of 69.1 was decidedly mediocre.

But on this night he was a reasonable facsimile, especially on
the 40-yard scamper in which he evaded a rush, cut through a hole
on the right side and ran out of bounds at the Oakland 15. He
finished 14-of-21 for 197 yards and ran five times for 48 yards, then summed up the difference in teams by saying: "It's great to be 3-0."

The defense
chipped in with five sacks, 2½ by Bertrand Berry and two by Reggie Hayward, and later held the Raiders on the 10 after they threatened to cut the lead to 14 points after a blocked punt with 11 minutes left.

"We have a lot to fix," said former Denver linebacker Bill Romanowski, one of five Oakland starters who are 37 or older. "For every finger you have pointing at somebody, you have four pointing back at yourself. Everybody has to pick their game up."

Sebastian Janikowski, arrested in a bar fight Saturday night, kicked a 41-yard fourth-quarter field goal that made it 31-10.

The Raiders offense got help from Clinton Portis, who ran for 40 yards on six carries in the
first quarter, but starting having trouble after his ribs popped
out of place. Portis missed the second half of last week's game against San
Diego after bruising his sternum, and appeared to be fine early
against the Raiders, but starting having trouble after his ribs popped
out of place.

"I got them popped back in and continued to play through the
pain, but pretty soon it started to tighten up again," Portis
said. "I could have come back in if it was crucial enough that we
didn't have anybody else."

Mike Anderson, who moved from fullback to tailback, finished
with 14 carries for 70 yards, including a 44-yard run that set up
his 1-yard TD run in the third quarter that made it 31-0. That came
seven minutes before Oakland (1-2) finally got on the board on a
4-yard run by Zack Crockett at the end of an 80-yard drive.

Anderson played well in place of Portis, but he limped off in the fourth quarter after
twisting his knee. That left the Broncos with rookie Quentin
Griffin, who missed training camp with a broken leg, and fullback
Reuben Droughns as their only running backs.

Portis returned in the fourth quarter after the Broncos
announced that he was being held out of the game on a "coach's
decision," but came back out after losing
a yard on two carries.

"Who announced it as a coach's decision? I just want to know
who comes up with these things. The press box?" Shanahan said

"The reason he didn't go into the game was he was hurting a
little bit. Maybe we can start another story this week."

Shanahan got a lot more attention than he wanted last week when
the NFL said it would look into his halftime injury report against
San Diego.

In that game, Shanahan told CBS that Plummer had a concussion,
but acknowledged after the game that the injury actually was a
separated shoulder.

Shanahan said he had "fibbed" because he didn't want the Chargers to know Plummer couldn't throw if he had to re-enter the game. Subsequently, all 32 teams were notified by commissioner Paul Tagliabue that future "fibs" would be disciplined.

This game was payback for the Broncos, who lost twice to the Raiders last season, including a Monday night game in Denver won by Oakland 34-10 when the Broncos were 6-2 and the Raiders 4-4 and on a four-game losing streak. It turned around the season for both teams -- the Broncos missed the playoffs, and Oakland lost only one game on the way to the AFC championship.

Game notes
Denver's Rod Smith was ejected in the second quarter for throwing a punch aimed at an Oakland player that hit umpire Undrey Wash. ... Oakland safety Rod Woodson returned two weeks after injuring his knee against Tennessee. He was expected to be out longer. ... Denver safety Kenoy Kennedy left in the third quarter with a twisted left ankle. ... Oakland's Jerry Rice extended his NFL record string of consecutive games with a reception to 260, and teammate Tim Brown extended his to 160.


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