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Miller, Elam Lead Broncos


Chris Miller, returning after three years out of the game, guided the Denver Broncos to a 20-17 victory over San Diego on Sunday in the American Bowl NFL exhibition game at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

Jason Elam's 30-yard field goal on the final play of the game capped Denver's comeback from a 17-0 deficit.

Bubby Brister, designated as the heir apprant to the retired John Elway, had his first pass intercepted by Michael Dumas. Brister was 2-of-5 for 13 yards before heading for the sideline in favor of Brian Griese.

Griese had a pass intercepted by a San Diego linebacker Gerald Dixon, whose 51-yard return for a touchdown gave the Chargers a 14-0 halftime lead.

San Diego also was getting its first look at a new quarterback. Jim Harbaugh, acquired from Baltimore in the offseason, was 6-of-8 for 51 yards and guided San Diego 62 yards to its first touchdown, which came on his 10-yard pass to Freddie Jones.

Erik Kramer, picked up for veteran insurance after his release by Chicago, was 3-of-4 for 29 yards before San Diego went to third-teamer Craig Whelihan.

Griese made amends for his first-half interception by driving the Broncos 82 yards for their first touchdown, which came on his 23-yard pass to Andre Cooper.

Denver cut it to 17-14 when Tory James picked of Whelihan's pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.

Griese's 21-yard touchdown pass to Andre Cooper cut it to 17-7 with 5:14 left in the third quarter. Forty-two seconds later, Tory James picked off a pass by Craig Whelihan, San Diego's third-stringer, and returned it 59 yards for a score that cut it to 17-14.

Then Miller, who finished 11-of-13, led the two drives, one setting up a 20-yard field goal by Elam to tie it, the second to set up a 24-yarder as time ran out.

The starters for both teams played little more than a quarter for both teas as, customarily for an opening exhibition game, both coaches gave rookies and free agents opportunity to show their talent.

Denver's Terrell Davis, last year's NFL MVP, carried only three times for 28 yards before taking the rest of the night off.

Shannon Sharpe, Denver's tight end who became the game's focal point after blasting Australia and its inhabitants during the week, didn't even play. Sharpe called Australians rude but they responded with polite good humor, laughing along with him when a homemade sign reading "Sharpe have a beer not a whine" was shown on the big screen at Stadium Australia.

Sharpe was held out after injuring his right ankle during practice.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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