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Broncos-Steelers Notebook: Injuries Strike

Posted Nov 6, 2006

Sam Brandon was taken from the field on a cart late in Sunday's win, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan fears that the safety suffered an ACL injury.

Sam Brandon played extensively after Nick Ferguson suffered a concussion Sunday, but Brandon's day would end on a cart after an apparent knee injury. PHOTO: ERIC LARS BAKKE 
Broncos TVSee what wide receiver Javon Walker had to say after he gained 206 yards from scrimmage and scored three times Sunday at Pittsburgh.

11/6: Broncos-Steelers Postgame
11/5: Postgame: Mike Shanahan
11/5: Postgame: Javon Walker
11/5: Postgame: Jake Plummer
11/3: Blitz or No Blitz?
10/31: Financial Football

AudioListen to postgame audio snippets straight from the locker room in the moments after Denver's 31-20 victory over the Steelers. Click below to listen to streaming audio, or sign up for one of the podcast channels now available to get locker-room interviews and Broncos TV reports straight to your portable device.

11/5: Shanahan | Walker
11/5: Plummer | Bailey
11/5: Smith | Dar. Williams

new_blog_zone.jpgRead the latest from the blogs of Managing Editor Andrew Mason, Ring of Famer Billy Thompson and the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders.

11/5: Quarter-by-Quarter: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
11/5: Pregame Notes
11/5: More Pregame Notes
11/5: Three and Out

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PITTSBURGH -- One by one, defenders fell Sunday as the Broncos endured an avalanche of injuries unlike any they'd experienced this year.

But the one to safety Sam Brandon could prove to be the costliest. He was helped off the field in the fourth quarter with an apparent right knee injury.

"Unfortunately I think Sam Brandon has an (anterior cruciate ligament injury)," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. "Usually when they tell that to you right away it's not a good sign ... exactly what the extent is, I'm not sure at this time."

The injury -- which Brandon described as "pretty painful" -- came on a fluke play where Demetrin Veal's leg accidentally collided with Brandon's. The safety faces a further examination Monday.

"We'll see if everything works out," said Brandon, who brandished crutches as he talked to reporters after the game. "Hopefully things come out negative (Monday) and I'll be back in a couple of weeks."

Brandon played extensively after Nick Ferguson suffered a concussion that forced him from the game. Fellow safety John Lynch left late after colliding with Al Wilson and Hines Ward on a late-fourth-quarter play that jarred the football loose and into the hands of Curome Cox; Wilson also arose slowly on the play.

Defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban missed time with a groin injury, while linebacker Ian Gold left with a strained hamstring and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah was treated on the field and walked off under his own power late int he game.

Cornerback Darrent Williams, meanwhile, said he hurt his shoulder.

"My shoulder hurts pretty bad, so I'm not feeling too good," Williams said. "I'm glad we won, but I'm kind of banged up right now."

It was too early for Williams to determine whether he would return next week.

"I don't know right now," he said. "I always say I will (play), but I don't know. I don't have an answer for that right now."

The Broncos, though, fought through with replacements, as Cox, Brandon, Louis Green, John Engelberger and Karl Paymah, among others,  played extensively.

"When injuries happen, guys say, 'Come on, let's step up and go,'" said defensive end Kenard Lang. "We're not looking at it like somebody's dog died. We just kept on fighting."

-- Andrew Mason

CHANGE IN THIRD DOWN: The Steelers finished Sunday's game 4-of-13 on third down.

That was a far cry from how Pittsburgh finished in the same category in January's AFC Championship Game. the defending Super Bowl Champions converted 10-of-16 third downs in that game -- a big reason why they picked the Broncos defense apart in a 34-17 win.

Of course, on defense, the Broncos have changed. A blitz-intensive unit from 2005 is much more balanced in 2006.

"I don't think we did blitz a lot, to be honest with you," Shanahan said. "I think they put a lot of pressure on us. We blitzed sparingly but they made some plays. They've got some talent and made some plays when they had to but we came up with the big turnovers when we had to. That's the sign of a football team fighting for 60 minutes and that's what you have to do to win here."

-- J. Michael Moore

DOUBLE RECOVERY: Darrent Williams recovered two fumbles in the first quarter -- one on a kickoff return and another at his own 5-yard line after Steelers receiver Cedrick Wilson coughed it up.

The multiple recoveries were the first for the Broncos since Bill Romanowski recovered two fumbles in a 1996 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

-- J. Michael Moore