It All Goes Elway’s Way in 45-14 Victory : AFC: Bronco quarterback and two former Rams, Green and Young, have a field day against Bengals.
John Elway passed for two touchdowns and ran for two and Gaston Green had a career-high 116 yards in 24 carries as the Denver Broncos routed the Cincinnati Bengals, 45-14, Sunday.
Elway’s first touchdown pass came on a 52-yard play to Michael Young, who had four catches for 84 yards. Young and Green are both formerly of the Rams and UCLA.
“That was as much fun as I’ve had in a game in a long time,” Elway said.
The Broncos’ multifaceted attacked riddled the Bengals for 471 total yards, and next Sunday Denver plays the Raiders at the Coliseum.
Just where the Broncos’ sudden display of firepower came from, no one knew, including Elway.
“Not after the way the preseason went,” Elway said.
The Broncos, without running back Bobby Humphrey, who remains a holdout, had shown little offensive progress in exhibition play, averaging just 10 points and 221 yards. Elway was calling his own plays for the first time in his career, but the results had been spotty.
Somehow, it all came together.
The Broncos had 25 first downs to just 10 for the Bengals, produced nearly twice the yardage the Bengals could muster (471 to 246), and controlled the ball by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (38:59 to 21:01).
Elway completed 18 of 28 passes for 262 yards, and ran three times for nine yards.
Even the Broncos’ defense got into the act, intercepting Boomer Esiason three times. Tyrone Braxton returned one of the interceptions 52 yards for a touchdown.
“This is what happens when you execute on offense and your defense makes big plays,” Elway said.
Referring to the Broncos’ unpredictability on offense, Elway said, “We tried to mix things up. It’s fun to look across at the defensive backs and the linebackers and they don’t know what’s coming.”
Bronco Coach Dan Reeves seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the season-opening showing.
“We just had a good, solid performance offensively,” he said. “I talked earlier in the week about the apprehension I had, not knowing how we were going to play. Obviously, we made some progress from the preseason.”
The Bengals, like the Broncos playing with a patched-up offensive line, seemed stunned.
“Nobody on the team ever felt this would happen,” Esiason said. “We’re disgraced with the way we played. I was directly involved in four turnovers. We didn’t give our defense a break today. They were out there all day.”
Bengal Coach Sam Wyche said the Broncos were “just too good for us today. It was a game of close plays, and every time out they made them and we didn’t. They kicked us around pretty good.”
If there was a turning point, it came in the third quarter and was provided by the Broncos’ defense.
The Bengals, trailing 28-7 at the half, struck quickly as Esiason hooked up with Tim McGee on a 52-yard touchdown pass play.
Having seized the momentum, the Bengals looked about to cut the deficit to seven points when Esiason threw a 38-yarder to tight end Rodney Holman, enabling the Bengals to reach the Broncos’ two. But on third down, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg stormed in to sack Esiason, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Bronco lineman Warren Powers with 4:07 left in the quarter.