Originally created 10/31/04

Embarrassed Falcons, Broncos are under fire



DENVER - The Denver Broncos were humbled. The Atlanta Falcons were humiliated.

Both teams would agree that their game today can't come soon enough.

"You have to be a player to actually know what it's like to experience something like that," Falcons quarterback Michael Vick said.

Indeed, Atlanta's 56-10 loss to Kansas City and Denver's 23-10 loss to Cincinnati has left both teams embarrassed about the game that just passed and a bit concerned about what might happen next.

They've both spent the past week defending their 5-2 records, their status atop their respective divisions and, most tellingly, their style of football.

In Atlanta, questions about Vick's effectiveness in the West Coast offense have become more prevalent.

Generally considered the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL, he has a passer rating of 72.8 - 23rd in the league - and just four touchdown passes.

More than that, though, it was the record eight touchdowns rushing the Falcons allowed last week that has shocked people. This was the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL before the Chiefs game. Now, the Falcons are ranked ninth, and coach Jim Mora ratcheted things up in practice this week.

"I think after you get gashed like we did, you have to come back with a little bit of that anger in you, and they need to feel it from me," Mora said. "I don't know if anger is the right word, but emotion or resolve."

The Broncos, meanwhile, played the spin game on two fronts after their ugly and unexpected loss.

Yes, they admit, they were inexplicably unprepared for the Monday night game against the Bengals. But they view it as more of a slip-up than anything drastic.

"We learned a lesson from it and we will move on," quarterback Jake Plummer said.

They both need wins - or at least good performances - to get their promising seasons back on track.

"What happens this week is independent of last week," Mora said.