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New Helmet, Same Welker

Posted Jan 13, 2014

Wes Welker caught his first postseason touchdown as a Bronco in Denver’s 24-17 Divisional-Round win vs. San Diego

DENVER – Wide receiver Wes Welker returned to the field Sunday for the first time in more than a month after suffering a concussion during the Broncos’ Week 14 win vs. Tennessee.

And he did so with a new helmet that received a lot of attention for its size relative to the 5-9, 185-pound wide receiver during Denver’s 24-17 Divisional-Round win vs. San Diego.

“You know, I’ve been practicing with it for the past few weeks,” Welker said. “I got used to it. But it is kind of looking like The Jetsons out there.”

New headgear aside, it was the same Welker on the field for the Broncos.

Playing in his 10th career playoff contest, the receiver caught six passes for 38 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown reception that gave Denver a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

“It was good to be out there – being out there, competing with my teammates and coming away with a win,” Welker said. “It’s big for us.”

Quarterback Peyton Manning was paying more attention to his receiver’s hands than his helmet size.

"Was he wearing a bigger helmet? I didn't notice,” Manning said after the game. “It was good to have Wes back.”

“Wes made some big catches, and he drew a big pass interference. He would have been open would he not interfered. Always good to have him back out there."

The victory means the Broncos will host the Patriots, who Welker spent the last six seasons with before signing with Denver this past offseason, in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

That doesn’t mean any extra motivation for Welker, who tied for second on the Broncos with four receptions in the regular-season matchup between the two teams, which the Patriots won in overtime.

“I mean, it’s the AFC Championship Game. There is going to be plenty of juice. Just going out there, executing the way we need to execute and come away with the win.”