Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
Lost in the miracle play by Denver's Brandon Stokley to win the game was the awareness of the receiver at its conclusion.
Stokley ran near the goal line before crossing it to kill time. It was just another heads-up play by one of the smartest players in the league. Most players wouldn’t have been to keep the perspective of the game in mind during that situation. They would have just crossed the goal line as quickly as possible.
Just a nuance of a play that forever will be part of Broncos' lore.
If the Broncos’ defense can continue to play as well as it did Sunday, the Broncos could be in great shape. Denver couldn’t keep up with teams the last two years. But the Bengals, who don’t have a horrible offense, didn’t score until the final minute of the game.
Denver receiver Brandon Marshall had four catches for 27 yards. It was a quiet 2009 debut for Marshall, who had 18 catches in his first game of 2008. But at least Marshall is on the field and participating in Denver. Two weeks ago, that seemed highly unlikely.
The Broncos are a changed outfit. They used to have to outscore teams. If the first game is any indication, Denver is going to be involved in some low-scoring affairs.
Kyle Orton wasn’t spectacular in his Denver debut, but his statistical line is basically what Denver coach Josh McDaniels is looking for from him. Orton completed 17 of 28 passes for 243 yards. He had the touchdown pass to Stokley and no interceptions. Orton won’t do anything fancy, but if he manages the game, Denver will be happy with him.
Knowshon Moreno is expected to be fine after he departed the game in the third quarter with a lower leg injury. He came back into the game. Moreno had a slow start to his NFL career, with 19 yards on eight carries.
Denver kicker Matt Prater seems like he has fixed his problems. He had field goals of 48 and 50 yards.
Safety Brian Dawkins had a nice debut for Denver as he had seven tackles.