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Elway, Broncos Rely on Davis

Interconference: Running back carries eight times on game-winning drive for 27-23 victory over Tampa Bay.

September 16, 1996|From Associated Press

DENVER — John Elway gets credit for his 38th fourth-quarter, game-saving drive even though Terrell Davis did most of the work.

Elway led the Broncos 80 yards in 14 plays in the final period, capped by Davis' three-yard run up the middle with 3:32 left, and the Denver Broncos remained unbeaten after rallying to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-23, on Sunday night.

On the drive, which featured 12 running plays and consumed more than eight minutes, Davis ran eight times for 39 yards, including first-down pickups on two third-and-short plays.

Davis, who sat out most of the second quarter because of a migraine headache, finished with 137 yards in 22 carries. The Broncos had 194 yards rushing, compared to 180 passing.

"I didn't want anyone to know I had a migraine," Davis said, "but my vision started to get blurry. It got to the point where I couldn't see anything. It's more than a headache--you get sick and weak, and the pain is unbelievable."

Denver (3-0) scored on its first two possessions of the second half, including Elway's 17-yard pass to Anthony Miller, to take a 20-13 lead. But the resilient Buccaneers countered immediately. Reggie Brooks, who finished with 114 yards, ripped off a 56-yard run, and Trent Dilfer completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Harper on a third-and-23 play with 1:57 left in the third quarter.

The Buccaneers then turned Elway's second interception of the game--by linebacker Derrick Brooks--into a go-ahead field goal. Brooks, who finished with 20 tackles, 19 solo, returned the interception six yards to the Denver 47. A 35-yard pass interference penalty against Denver cornerback Ray Crockett moved the ball to the 15, but the Buccaneers had to settle for Michael Husted's 28-yard field goal for a 23-20 lead with 11:43 left.

The moribund Buccaneer offense came alive in the second quarter, helping Tampa Bay take a 13-10 halftime lead.

Denver scored first when safety Tyrone Braxton stepped in front of receiver Dave Moore, picked off Dilfer's pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown with 3:32 left in the opening period.

Two minutes later, after Nilo Silvan's 54-yard kickoff return and Brooks' 31-yard run, Husted kicked a 24-yard field goal. Denver answered with Jason Elam's 45-yard field goal with 9:53 left.

Moments later, on third and 19, Dilfer hit Jackie Harris on a 36-yard pass and, helped by a personal foul and face-mask penalties against Denver, the Buccaneers scored their first touchdown of the year on Brooks' eight-yard run.

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