It was another routine Denver victory. The offense came up with the big play when it needed it, the defense did all the rest and the Broncos came away with a bruising 24-13 victory over the struggling Cincinnati Bengals.
The Broncos, now 6-0 paid the price, however, as they limped away from Riverfront Stadium.
Quarterback Craig Morton, tackle Andy Maurer and fullback Jon Keyworth - all offensive starters - suffered knee injuries, and cornerback Louis Wright dislocated his shoulder. Their status for next week's return match with the Oakland Raiders in Denver, is in question.
Morton, however, insisted he will be ready. He injured his right knee as he fell hard to the artificial surface after throwing an incompletion in the first quarter. He remained in the game, however, and hit split end Jack Dolbin with an 81-yard touchdown pass with a minute left in the first half.
Jim Turner's conversion gave the Broncos a 17-10 halftime lead and they coasted in from there.
Morton's leg finally stiffened in the third period and he was relieved by Craig Penrose.
Penrose led the Broncos on a 63-yard, 11-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that shut the door on the Bengals now 2-4.
Ken Anderson, who strained ligaments in his left knee in Monday night's loss to Pittsburgh, was a surprise starter today, but was not effective. He completed nine of 17, but five of the completions were on screen passes and none of the plays gained more than 16 yards.
Anderson reinjured his knee late in the third period and left the game limping. He did not return.
His replacement, John Reaves, was greeted with cheers from the 59,590 spectators but he wasn't any more effective against the Denver defence than Anderson was.
The only points he put on the board came on a 24-yard fourth quarterfield goal by Chris Bahr.
The Bengals, who started their Ohio State backfield of Pete Johnson at fullback and Archie Griffin at fall-back, took a 7-0 lead on their first possession.
Johnson, who scored on a one-yard run, set up the score with a 65-yard burst up the middle, one play earlier.
The Broncos got that score back when Willie Shelby fumbled a fair catch at the Cincinnati 40. Four plays later Keyworth scored on a nine-yard run.
The team then exchanged field goals, with Denver's being set up by a Larry Evans Interception.
With two minutes left in the half, Cincinnati's Pat McInally punted the ball into the Denver end zone.
The Broncos appeared content not to get fancy from their own 20 and on first down. Morton ran a drawplay to Otis Armstrong that lost a yard.
But on second down, Morton dropped straight back and lofted a perfect pass to Dobin, who had streaked past Martin Cobb down the center of field.
Dolbin caught the ball at the 30 and outran Cobb into the end zone to complete the 81-yard touchdown play.
"It was just a matter of looking the weak safety off." Morton said of the play. "We ran the same play earlier, but I threw to Haven Moses cutting underneath. I knew though from the way their safety played it that we could get them with the long one. I knew it was there, so I called it."
Morton said his injury is a bruised cartilage under the kneecap and isn't the type of injury that will keep him out next week.
"All the injuries we have takes a little bit away from the victory." said coach Red Miller, "but I think we have all the bench strength we need. We've got the big game coming up next week and we'll be ready for it."