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Broncos’ Mike Bell Impresses Vs. Titans

August 20, 2006

DENVER (AP) _ Mike Bell atoned for his rookie mistake by scoring two touchdowns in the Denver Broncos’ 35-10 rout of Tennessee on a wet and chilly Saturday night.

Bell scored on a pair of 1-yard runs to make up for fumbling away the ball on the starters’ only drive last week at Detroit. That came just days after the undrafted running back from the University of Arizona had leapfrogged Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne as the Broncos’ top tailback.

Bell ran 10 times for 73 yards. Still, he had some more explaining to do; wide receiver Rod Smith chastised him for going out of bounds at the end of a 34-yard run instead of burying his helmet into safety Lamont Thompson.

``We have a rule around here that nobody runs out of bounds except the quarterback,″ Smith said at halftime. ``I told him, ‘Don’t ever let me see you run out of bounds on your own. You try to run somebody over and let them knock you out of bounds.’ He didn’t know, so we will let him slide one time.″

Sandwiched in between Bell’s 1-yard dive and 1-yard dart into the end zone was a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Jake Plummer to tight end Nate Jackson after the Broncos got the ball at midfield on safety Nick Ferguson’s interception of Billy Volek’s pass.

Plummer kept the Titans off-balance with a bevy of rollouts, and completed 7 of 9 passes for 97 yards before giving way to backup Jay Cutler, the Broncos’ top draft pick, who led Denver on touchdown drives on his first two possessions.

Denver didn’t punt until the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter and led 35-3 before Vince Young, the No. 3 pick in the draft, led the Titans on a late scoring drive.

The Broncos’ defense was almost as efficient and impressive as its offense. Despite missing linemen Courtney Brown (knee) and Gerard Warren (toe), the Broncos registered three sacks of Volek, two by Demetrin Veal, who started in place of Warren.

Two Broncos defensive captains, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker Al Wilson, were held out by coach Mike Shanahan for breaking curfew Friday night: ``If you miss curfew, you don’t play,″ Shanahan said. ``We’ve got rules, and they’re good for everybody.″

Cutler made it 28-3 at halftime when he threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Tony Scheffler. Damien Nash’s 1-yard run made it 35-3.

Young recovered his own fumble at the goal line after Hamza Abdullah punched the ball loose following an 11-yard scramble up the middle in the fourth quarter.

Young completed 11 of 19 passes for 125 yards against second- and third-stringers. He also had an interception that was wiped out by a penalty. Fellow rookie LenDale White, a Denver native, led the Titans with 28 yards on seven rushes in his NFL debut after sitting out last week for spitting on a teammate during practice.

Notes: Tennessee DE Antwan Odom sprained his right knee making a tackle in the first quarter and was carted off the field. ... Broncos WR Javon Walker didn’t have any passes thrown his way in his first start since blowing out his right knee in Green Bay’s season opener. ... Denver WR David Terrell and Titans CB Pacman Jones had offsetting personal fouls for scuffling in the end zone just before halftime.

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