No Elway But Broncos Bust Eagles

This promotional photo provided by Focus Features shows actors Heath Ledger, left, and Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from director Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain."
Focus Features

The Denver Broncos were without quarterback John Elway for the entire game and without running back Terrell Davis and placekicker Jason Elam in the second half. They weren't missed.

Bubby Brister, starting at quarterback

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  • when Elway continued to be bothered by stiffness in his lower back during warmups, threw four touchdown passes, and Davis ran for 168 yards and two scores as the Broncos routed the Philadelphia Eagles 41-16 Sunday.

    The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (5-0) built a 35-2 halftime lead and 41-2 advantage after three quarters before Charlie Garner ran for a pair of 3-yard scores in the final period for the winless Eagles (0-5).

    Davis, the NFL's leading rusher, had 120 yards and both of his touchdowns in the first quarter and finished the half with 168 yards, surpassing Cleveland's Jim Brown for the sixth-highest rushing total in the first four years of an NFL career (5,062 yards).

    Terrell Davis
    Terrell Davis scored two touchdowns and was not needed in the second half. (AP)

    Davis sat out the second half, saying, "I'm not a person who likes to pad stats."

    Elam didn't play in the second half after he strained his right hamstring late in the first half, but punter Tom Rouen performed his duties capably.

    Brister, who made his second straight start, completed 16 of 29 passes for 203 yards.

    "I'm having a ball," said Brister, 36. "It's great to play with a team that has this type of talent. It's a quarterback's dream."

    "It's John's team. I'm just holding the fort. When he's ready to go, I'm backing him up. Hopefully, he's back next week because we need him to win this thing. Maybe we need both of us to win it all."

    The Broncos, extending their regular-season home winning streak to 19 games, scored touchdowns on their first four possessions en route to their 28-0 first-quarter lead and had 242 total yards in the quarter compared to the Eagles' 16.

    "That was the most unbelievable first quarter I've ever been a part of," Brister said.

    Eagles coach Ray Rhodes called the game "as disappointing as any I've coached. Denver just jumped on us right away. They beat us in every phase of the game. Terrell is an explosive running back, and he exploded on us today."

    Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has said his team has the talent to finish 8-8, added: "Today was a complete embarrassment and we weren't competitive. This game was 28-0 before you could blink an eye. To me, this was an embarrassment to ourselves, our fans and the city. I take this very seriously and it hurts."

    Brister completed a 48-yard pass to Ed McCaffrey on the game's first play from scrimmage, setting up Davis' 20-yard scoring run off the right side with less than three minutes elapsed.

    The Eagles were pinned deep in their own territory by a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff and by the first of six sacks of Bobby Hoying. After a punt, Denver needed to drive only 52 yards for its second score. Davis had a 22-yard run, and Brister hit Rod Smith on an 8-yard TD pass with 7:51 left in the quarter.

    Moments later, Davis ripped off a 57-yard run to the Philadelphia 21, and tight end Shannon Sharpe caught Brister's 9-yard scoring pass with 4:13 to go.

    Allen Rossum fumbled the subsequent kickoff when hit by Derek Loville, and Denver's Tory James recovered at the Eagles' 22. Six plays later, Davis made it 28-0 with a 1-yard plunge with 1:11 remaining in the period. To that point, the Eagles had minus-10 yards of total offense.

    Linebacker William Thomas thwarted another Denver scoring threat with a second-quarter interception. The Eagles finally got on the scoreboard with 1:20 left in the half when Thomas blocked Tom Rouen's punt through the end zone for a safety.

    Just 24 seconds later, however, Denver had another touchdown and a 35-2 lead. Cornerback Darrius Johnson returned an interception 45 yards to the Eagles 12, and Brister hit McCaffrey on a 12-yard scoring pass.

    Brister's 31-yard pass to Smith made it 41-2 midway through the third period.

    On the next series, the Eagles crossed midfield for the first time, and Garner scored on the first play of the fourth quarter. Linebacker Mike Caldwell picked off Brian Griese's pass and returned it 33 yards to set up Garner's second score.


  • It is only the third time a Super Bowl champion has gotten off to a 5-0 start the following season; Chicago won its first six games in 1986 and San Francisco its first 10 in 1990.
  • Denver's 28 points in the first quarter set a franchise record for points in a quarter.
  • Brister's four-TD game was the fourth of his career and his first since Dec. 23, 1990, against the Rams.
  • Elway is 1-4 against the Eagles, his worst career record against any team.
  • Despite the loss, the Eagles are 10-2 in the month of October under Rhodes. They also still lead the series with Denver 6-3.
  • Rhodes and Shanahan both served on the 49ers' staff in 1994. Rhodes was the defensive coordinator, while Shanahan was the offensive coordinator.

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