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Broncos shut out struggling Jets for eighth win of season

DENVER (AP) -- Over 33 painstaking plays and 19 mind-numbing
minutes, Mike Anderson and Jake Plummer toyed with the New York
defense in a cruelly effective examination of all the things the
Jets couldn't do.

The Broncos got a touchdown and a field goal out of those early
drives to more than set the tone for their 27-0 victory Sunday, a
win that bolstered Denver's drive toward the playoffs and did
little to prove the Jets to be anything more than bottom feeders in
the NFL.

"We're struggling on offense, and it's very difficult to win in
this league if you can't score," Jets coach Herman Edwards said.

Impossible, of course, and in part because the Denver offense
stayed on the field for nearly 42 minutes, the defense was able to
enjoy its first shutout since 1997, the year the Broncos (8-2) won
their first Super Bowl.

Plummer threw for 225 yards and again went without an
interception. Anderson ran for 113 yards and three scores. The
highlight, though, was the shutout, paced by four sacks, five
turnovers and a thorough dismantling of all three New York
quarterbacks: Brooks Bollinger, Vinny Testaverde and Kliff
Kingsbury.

"It feels good," linebacker Al Wilson said. "Anytime you get
it, I think it says a lot about the character of the defense."

New York (2-8) lost its fifth straight, sustained its first
shutout since 1995 and went without a touchdown for the third time
this season and the second time in two weeks. Last week, after a
30-3 loss to Carolina, Panthers cornerback Ken Lucas accused the
Jets of quitting at the end.

That couldn't be said this time. Sadly, though, that's about the
best thing that could be said about the Jets.

"I can't ask for more than what they have," Edwards said.
"They're giving everything they have at this point."

Bollinger probably won't remember much of this debacle after
being knocked out early with a concussion that left him vomiting on
the sideline.

Testaverde replaced him and finished with 152 yards, including a
few second-half drives in which the Jets' offense looked decent.
But he lost a fumble on the second snap he took and four of his
first five drives ended in turnovers. The 42-year-old warhorse hurt
his ankle late and gave way to Kingsbury, who Edwards said, "if we
had to play tomorrow," would probably be New York's starter.

"The quarterback situation is in shambles," Edwards said.

Denver held the venerable Curtis Martin to 7 yards on four
carries, his worst output since a 5-yard game early in 2002 when he
was hurting and didn't play much.

The Broncos did what good teams do to bad ones; they put them
away early and added on late.

John Lynch and Champ Bailey had interceptions and Michael Myers,
Nick Ferguson and Roc Alexander had fumble recoveries, as the
Denver defense produced its most turnovers since 2001.

On offense, Plummer was his usual efficient self. He lost a
fumble on a fourth-down scramble in the third quarter, but by going
18-for-26 with no interceptions, he increased his team-record
streak to 219 straight passes without a pick.

"I hope you keep asking me about it for the rest of the year,"
Plummer said of the interception-free streak. "Someday, when I'm
done playing, I'll write a book about it. Right now, I'm just
playing ball."

He played a lot against the Jets.

The Broncos ran 76 plays to New York's 43. They gained 404 yards
to New York's 195. They made 28 first downs to New York's 10. Maybe
most stunning, they let New York's offense run a grand total of two
plays in the second quarter.

"That's a tremendous feeling," Ekuban said, "knowing in the
third and fourth quarters, the defensive line and the whole defense
is going to be fresh. It gives you a huge advantage."

The start is Denver's best since going 10-0 in 1998, en route to
its second Super Bowl win. The Broncos haven't hosted a playoff
game since then. But by winning, they maintained a two-game lead in
the AFC West and also took a one-game lead over Cincinnati and
Pittsburgh in the race for the conference's second seed.

"It's pretty satisfying," Bailey said. "But we always can get
better."

And the Jets? They can't get much worse.

"I'm not quitting," Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma said.
"We're not giving up as a team.I don't see anyone here giving
up."
Game notes
Jets CEO Woody Johnson declined to address questions
about Edwards' future. The coach has a contract through 2007, but
didn't quash speculation last week he might want to leave after
this year for a possible opening in Kansas City. ... With his fifth
interception of the season, Bailey tied his single-season best. ...
Broncos RB Tatum Bell left in the third quarter with a shoulder
injury. Coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't know the severity.

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