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Early Week Two Preview: Did Monday Night Football Hurt The Denver Broncos?

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During the second of ESPN's two-game Monday Night Football lineup, the Denver Broncos lost to the Oakland Raiders 23-20; quarterback Kyle Orton completed a nine-yard touchdown with just under four minutes remaining to bring Denver within three points. With two time outs and the two minute warning remaining, the Broncos elected not to kick an onside, in the hopes the defense would secure a defensive stop. They didn't. Oakland secured three first downs to end the game; thanks to a Michael Bush 12-yard run just before the two minute warning. John Bena of SB Nation's Denver Broncos blog, the Mile High Report, writes:

One play, however, one play was the difference.  A fumble by Kyle Orton on a play-action fake, a play that Orton simply dropped the ball was the culprit, a likely 14-point swing that saw all the momentum the Broncos had built in climbing back from a 16-3 halftime deficit disappear in an instant.  The Raider scored a touchdown on the drive, taking advantage of every Broncos miscue.

The Broncos committed three turnovers and ten penalties.

According to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, four Broncos players are expected to have MRIs at some point Tuesday. And they're not just your average backup or special teams players, with names like defensive end Elvis Dumervil, cornerback Champ Bailey, wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and running back Knowshon Moreno.

DUMERVIL HAS A STRAINED SHOULDER, an injury that he told reporters he first suffered this week in practice. He was able to keep practicing through it, and started the game, but came out midway through the first quarter. He was able to return, but played only on passing downs. He was replaced by Jason Hunter in the base defense.

Cornerback Champ Bailey hurt his left hamstring while chasing down Darren McFadden in the fourth quarter. Bailey was able to push McFadden out of bounds inside the 1-yard line — temporarily saving a touchdown, but ending his game. Bailey was replaced by Cassius Vaughn at left corner, and Jonathan Wilhite became the nickel corner.

Brandon Lloyd played little in the fourth quarter while watching from the sidelines, trying to stretch out his groin. Lloyd told reporters after the game that he was not hurt, but head coach John Fox included Lloyd in his list of injured players after the game.

Knowshon Moreno also injured his hamstring after 9-yard run in the fourth quarter. He was checked out on the sidelines and did some jogging, but never re-entered the game.

+ THE BRONCOS WILL HOST the Bengals this Sunday at 4:15 p.m in Denver; a place that Cincinnati hasn't won since 1975. Most remember Cincinnati's botched point after attempt that would have secured a tie and likely sent the game into overtime. Of course it wasn't just about the botched PAT. Five years ago I wrote:

I blame our superstars. I blame Chad Johnson for big drops and a fumble. I blame Rudi Johnson for a fumble on a play that had eight Bronco defenders standing up talking to each other at the snap even though he had one of his best games this season. I blame Carson Palmer for throwing two picks on inadvisable passes. I blame the Bengals front seven for losing grip against the rush in the second half. I blame the coaches for, what appears to be, insufficient half-time adjustments for the second straight week.