Broncos beat Giants, 31-20, in home debut
|Denver's Ed McCaffrey, left, and Rod Smith celebrate McCaffrey's 16-yard TD catch in the first half.
Playing their first game in a new stadium, the Broncos welcomed back former MVP Terrell Davis and showed why they are considered Super Bowl contenders with a 31-20 victory over the New York Giants last night.
While Davis proved healthy with 101 yards on 21 carries, Denver lost starting wide receiver Ed McCaffrey to a broken leg. McCaffrey, who caught a team-record 101 passes last year, is scheduled to have surgery and will miss the rest of the season.
"Everybody wanted to do well, and then one of your best guys goes down," said McCaffrey's replacement, Eddie Kennison. "I'll say it for all the guys, this victory was for Eddie Mac."
The devastating injury to McCaffrey seemed to inspire the Broncos, particularly Rod Smith, who caught a 25-yard touchdown pass that gave Denver a 21-14 lead three plays after McCaffrey was injured midway through the third quarter.
The Broncos also scored on their first two possessions of the fourth quarter, ensuring they would open $400 million Invesco Field at Mile High on a winning note.
"The intensity level picked up 100 percent," Kennison said.
Smith, one of McCaffrey's best friends, finished with nine catches for 115 yards, and Brian Griese, eight months removed from reconstructive shoulder surgery, was 21-of-29 for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
The Giants had trouble running the ball and were hampered by the absences of starting cornerback Jason Sehorn and starting receiver Ike Hilliard.
"We weren't tired. We just got beat," New York linebacker Jessie Armstead said. "We made mistakes mental mistakes, simple things."
McCaffrey had a 16-yard TD catch to give the Broncos a 14-7 lead at the half.