Broncs solve QB queries

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Helmet off and baby face freshly scrubbed from a post-victory shower, Jay Cutler looks like he should be quarterbacking your high school team.

But with a hard-hitting NFL game on the line yesterday, the young Denver Bronco did what his Buffalo Bills counterpart, J.P. Losman, could not.

Both teams came to Ralph Wilson Stadium looking to find at least a glimmer of hope for the future at football's so crucial position.

While the waiting continues impatiently for Buffalo after a last-second 15-14 loss to open the 2007 season, the Broncos took a nice jump forward.

On a desperation drive in which the 24-year-old Cutler escaped from third-and- 23 and third-and-13 traps, the Broncos won as dramatically as you could draw it up.

Jason Elam, who earlier had missed field goal attempts from 50 and 43 yards, connected on the game-winner from 42 yards as time ran out and Cutler and the offence scrambled to the sidelines.

"That's why we get paid the big bucks, to make third downs and two-minute drives," Cutler said after completing 23 of 39 attempts for 304 yards. "Broncos fans know the situation well from John Elway doing it for all those years."

Cutler showed a little Elway in that drive, taking over on his own 34 with 2:13 and one timeout remaining and finishing it being mobbed by teammates on the sideline.

The story was far gloomier for Losman, who was surly after such a wrenching loss. When asked whether he would have liked to take more shots downfield, Losman replied to his inquisitor: "You're the expert, buddy."

Actually, in this case, the experts were the Broncos shut down defensive backs of Dre Bly and Champ Bailey who made sure the Bills' receivers -- especially go-to guy Lee Evans -- never got open downfield.

"(Losman) talked about taking his shots," Bly said. "We have guys who like to make plays, Champ and myself. Our goal was to eliminate Losman and we did that."

An at-times savage contest, with big hits on both sides, was a game that statistically the Bills shouldn't have had a shot in.

Offensively, rookie running back Marshawn Lynch showed some promise, rushing for 90 yards on 19 carries including an electrifying 23-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter.

A nifty Roscoe Parrish 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter also got the Ralph rocking.

But the Broncos outgained Buffalo 470 to 184 yards in total offence, including a bull-like 139 on the ground and 44 receiving from ex-Bill Travis Henry.

The pair of missed field goals by Elam and some sloppy work by Cutler almost wasted it. Incredibly -- and to add to the suffering -- the Bills never trailed until the clock struck 0:00.

"We didn't even lead for a second," Bailey said. "Before the ball went through the goal posts, there was nothing on the clock so we didn't even lead until the end of the game.

"But it doesn't matter. What matters is we got the 'W.' "

And a quarterback who found a way to help get it.


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