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The Morning After: Week 2

Posted Sep 19, 2011

Eric Decker and Willis McGahee had big games, and Tim Tebow stepped into an unexpected role in Sunday's 24-22 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.


DENVER --
Eric Decker has had quite a week.

Last Monday, he caught three passes for 53 yards and tacked on a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown.

In yesterday's 24-22 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the second-year receiver got even more involved, hauling in five passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns as the team's No. 1 wideout.

“He’s had two good days as far as games go," Head Coach John Fox said. "I thought he played well in the loss a week ago — not even a whole week. He came up big. He’s off to a great start this season. He’s a heck of a competitor.”

Sunday marked Decker's first career start, and it turned into his first career 100-yard receiving game.

With Brandon Lloyd inactive and Eddie Royal sidelined due to a groin strain, Decker and Matt Willis were the only wide receivers available for the game.

"You get opportunities and it’s about what you make of them," Decker said. "I think my preparation through the offseason and the preseason -- I was ready and Matt Willis was as well. We had to step up to win this ballgame, and we got it done."

Kyle Orton, who finished the game 15-of-25 for 195 yards and two touchdowns, said he doesn't expect Decker's early production to slow down any time soon.

“Eric is a great player," Orton said. "Eric is one of those guys that you can tell is just ready to take off and take it to that next level."

McGAHEE HITS THE CENTURY MARK

Another player forced into extra duty by an injury was Willis McGahee. With Knowshon Moreno inactive, the ninth-year veteran stepped up to the plate.

Twenty-eight carries later, McGahee had notched his 24th career 100-yard rushing game -- sixth among active players -- and a rushing touchdown, the 56th of his career.

"That was a long time coming," the back said of his 101-yard game. "The good thing about it is that while we were out there, we were having fun. I was out there getting tackled, having fun and laughing. That’s the good thing about it. It was still fun, and at the end of the day we got the job done.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy said earlier in the week he wasn't afraid to give McGahee 20-plus carries, and Head Coach John Fox echoed that sentiment after the game.

"He’s a warrior, so to speak -- a proven warrior in this league," Fox said. "I thought he did a tremendous job."

McGahee credited the offensive line for his performance, and said the team did a great job of stay on its blocks, something the players worked on in practice -- and even a little extra afterwards -- all week long.

The back said he iced up right after the game, as it had been since 2007 that he took that many carries.

"That’s just part of game – you’re going to be sore regardless, even if you get 10 or 15 carries," he said, cracking a smile. "With 28 – I’m going to be a little sore.”

TEBOW OUT WIDE

Just as Decker and Willis had to step up, Tim Tebow was ready to do his part when the Broncos receiving corps was down to two.

“During the week, we knew ‘B-Lloyd’ was a little banged up, so I just ran around a little bit," Tebow said. "Coming in to today, we found out he wasn’t going to be able to go, and if someone went down, I’d have to be our No. 3 receiver.”

When Royal left the game, that possibility became a reality, and Tebow trotted onto the field as a wide receiver.

Though he never had a ball thrown his way, Tebow was as ready as anyone if the time came.

“I have to know all the routes -- I play quarterback," he said.

Fox said the team was "definitely short" at receiver, and he liked the way Tebow stepped in.

“I will say this: he’s a very competitive guy; a very mentally tough guy," Fox said. "He’s got excellent football character, so he can probably line up a lot of different places.”

As for Tebow, he was happy to do whatever he could to help the team.

“It was fun to be able to go in there and try to help the team at receiver. It was special because we were able to pull out a big win — the first win of the season — and hopefully it will give us some confidence, and we can build on it.”

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