Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mile-High Magic Returns Broncos Steady from 3-Point Range, Kick Bills

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mile-High Magic Returns Broncos Steady from 3-Point Range, Kick Bills

Article excerpt

Quick tally of all the things that returned to Mile High Sunday night. Mike Shanahan. The Broncos' dead-zone, red-zone offense. Wade Phillips and his funny-looking shirts. Big Broncos goal-line stands.

And, maybe most important, the Broncos' home-field magic.

Did the Mile-High Magic become the latest free agent to re-sign with the Broncos? Let's put it this way: Had the ball slipped out of John Elway's hands in this year's opener, the Broncos would have recovered and converted it into a field goal. Just like they seemed to do on almost every other possession.

The Broncos put up so many 3s in Sunday night's regular-season opener it almost seemed as if they belonged across the street at McNichols Arena instead of at Mile High Stadium.

There was one in the first quarter, three in the second, one more in the fourth. And not one of them, as former Broncos coach Phillips liked to say, was fluky.

On this night, when Denver handed Buffalo a 22-7 loss and Mike Shanahan won his first game as Denver's coach, little was.

The game also marked Bills defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' first return to Denver since he was fired as Broncos' coach.

"Coach Shanahan told us to go out and dominate them," said Broncos defensive tackle Shane Dronett, part of a unit that did not allow Buffalo to score in the final 53 minutes 43 seconds. "Just look at the scoreboard. We did. We went out and dominated them at every position."

Especially on defense. In any of the team's four previous meetings this decade, the Bills' offense was capable of pumping out 234 yards in the first half alone. Not Sunday night. The Broncos stifled the Bills and limited them to 234 yards in four quarters.

There were big plays all around, mainly from defensive tackle Michael Dean Perry, who earned his $3 million signing bonus, and from native St. Louisan Steve Atwater, a safety who came up with a game-high nine tackles including the one on the goal line that meant the most.

"We've actually got a team that can play defense," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. …

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