In light of the chaos caused by the Buffalo Bills' unexpected no-huddle offense last week, Cleveland Brown Coach Bud Carson spent the week preparing for more of the same today from the Denver Broncos in the AFC championship game.
"The Bills found a couple weak spots, and they exploited them. We didn't do a very good job adjusting to them," Carson said. "They not only used a hurry-up game on us, they used an even more effective hurry-up game in that they weren't even audibling at the line of scrimmage. They were getting lined up and running plays quickly."
Buffalo's Jim Kelly passed for 405 yards and four touchdowns against Cleveland and nearly won the game before Clay Matthews intercepted a pass at the goal line with three seconds left to preserve the Browns' win. One play earlier, a potential touchdown pass glanced off the hands of Ronnie Harmon in the left corner of the end zone.
Buffalo's first touchdown came on a no-huddle play that created confusion among Cleveland's defenders. Matthews was feverishly trying to call a timeout as the ball was snapped, and Kelly proceeded to hit a wide-open Andre Reed over the middle for a 72-yard touchdown play.
Though Denver attempted to use a hurry-up offense without much success in a 16-13 loss to the Browns in Cleveland on Oct. 1, Carson said he'd be surprised if the Broncos didn't try of it today.
"We're anticipating 90,000 no-huddles. Our whole practice has been no-huddles," he said.
The Browns are seeking their first Super Bowl appearance. The Broncos are after their third appearance in four years and fourth overall. They are 0-3.
Denver had a 1,000-yard rusher and a 3,000-yard passer in the same season for the first time. Its attack is more balanced than Cleveland's.
John Elway will supplement the passing game with Bobby Humphrey, who rushed for 1,151 yards as a rookie and scored eight touchdowns. He is effective inside and out.
Elway did not have an outstanding season, but he did pass for 3,051 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also threw 18 interceptions and was the team's third-leading rusher with 244 yards.
Cleveland's defensive backs excel at going for the ball--the Browns led the AFC with 27 interceptions.
The only snow fans at the game are likely to see will be capping the mountains in the distance.
The forecast for today is mild and breezy, with increasing afternoon clouds and high temperatures in the low 50s.
"It's perfect football weather," said weather service meteorologist Joe Baskin.
"It's cool enough for the players to enjoy it, and enough breeze to blow all the smoke out of the stands. Just a really nice day."
Baskin said snow could follow on the heels of the game, however, perhaps on Monday.
"Maybe for the ticker-tape parade," he said.