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Carter Clamping Down

Posted Nov 12, 2012

His second defensive touchdown of the year highlights a streak of stellar play from cornerback Tony Carter.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Wide receiver Trindon Holliday is the only player in the NFL to return both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown.

Similarly, cornerback Tony Carter is the only player in the NFL to return both an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

On Sunday, Carter picked off Panthers quarterback Cam Newton - his second interception of the year - and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Broncos a 17-point second-half advantage, one they would not relinquish.

"We were in a zone coverage," Carter recalled. "The rush did a great job of getting to the passer. I don't think Cam saw me when he threw the ball. I just broke on the ball and was able to catch it and outrun those guys."

Carter continued to credit the defensive front for continuously disrupting Newton throughout the game. On the play he made the interception, linebacker Von Miller chased Newton out of the pocket and forced a rushed throw.

"The pass rush, they're getting there so they make it a lot easier on us as a secondary," Carter said. "When the pass rush is on, it makes it a lot easier in the secondary. The quarterback has a play clock in his head and the DBs have a play clock in their mind. And we know once it hits a certain time, either that ball's got to come out or we're getting a sack. Glad to have those guys on my team."

Carter gives praise to his teammates, but with his play in recent games, he has earned his own recognition. Since last year, he has gone from the Broncos practice squad to a player who has earned game balls in two pivotal 2012 victories.

"He's been tremendous," Fox said. "He's a guy that was with us a year ago - mostly on the practice squad - but a guy that we liked enough just watching him make plays on as a scout team players. We had some injuries and actually went out and got some guys in free agency and he actually beat a veteran corner when we picked out the final 53 because he played so well in the preseason games. He has good coverage skills and he's stepped up big for us in some big spots."

While Fox and the rest of the team have learned what Carter is capable of, opposing quarterbacks haven't. Carter said he expects to be continuously targeted while he is in the game, despite his recent success.

Through Week 10, Carter has allowed just 27.6 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed, the best percentage in the NFL. Out of 29 targets, he has broken up eight of them - the same amount of passes that have gotten past him for completions.

Carter is also the only one of the four Broncos cornerbacks to see significant defensive snaps that has not surrendered a touchdown pass.

"Every opportunity I get, I try to make a play on the ball," Carter said. "The more they come, the more opportunities I get."

With an 11-time Pro Bowler on one side and a second-year pro on the other, the move is obvious to quarterbacks, and to Carter as well.

"If I was a quarterback, I would do the same thing," Carter said. "You look at years of experience and then you look at the other side and there are younger guys. I would go at the young guys, too."

As a result, Carter looks forward to many more opportunities.

"You have to throw the ball in this league, so they're going to keep coming at me," he said.