Bronco linebacker Tom Jackson intercepted a Bert Jones pass in the fourth quarter and ran 73 yards for a touchdown, destroying a promising Baltimore Colt rally today and helping Denver win, 27-13.
The victory gave the Broncos a 10-1 record, best in the National Football League. They lead Oakland (8-2) in the Western Division of the AFC. The Raiders play Buffalo Monday night.
The loss dropped the Colts to 9-2, leaving them in first place, a game ahead of the Miami Dolphines in the AFC East.
The Colts came back from an early 14-0 deficit to pull within 14-13. Jones, relying on passes to his running backs, had mounted a solid drive midway through the final period when Jackson picked off one of his passes. Jackson picked off one of his passes. Jackson's touchdown was the longest interception return in the Bronco's history.
Another interception of a Jones pass set up an insurance tourchdown for the Broncos. Cornerback Louis Wright intercepted and returned the ball 59 yards.
On the next play Bronco quarterback Craig Morton carried six yards for the score with 1:14 remaining.
The Broncos built a 14-0 lead in the first half before the Colts scored on a 40-yard field goal by Tony Linhart.
In the first quarter, safety Bill Thompson of the Broncos intercepted a pass by Bert Jones of the Colts and ran 30 yards to the Baltimore 47-yard line. The ball bounced off the hands of wide receiver Glenn Doughty to Thompson.
On second and four, Craig Morton passed to wide receiver Rick Upchurch in front of cornerback Nelson Munsey. Upchurch stretched the play into a 41-yard touchdown. Jim Turner converted.
In the second quarter, Morton took the Broncos 85 yards to score on a 19-yard pass to wide receiver jack Dolbin. Morton ate up much of the approach with a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Haven Moses and a 16-yard pass to Dolbin, to the Baltimore 22-yard line.
On a drive that started on the Colt 20, Baltimore had to settle for Linhar's three-pointer after Jones was charged with intentional grounding from the Denver 19-yard line.
The Colts ran off 37 plays to 24 for the Broncos, but several passes by Jones were dropped. Morton connected on four of five.
The Colts cut the Bronco lead to 14-13 in the third quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Linhart and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jones to running back Lydell Mitchell.
The field goal resulted after Morton was chased out of his passing pocket, gained six yards, but fumbled when he was hit. Linebacker Ed Simonini recovered on the Denver 49.
Fullback Ron Lee dropped a pass and Jones was hurried into an incompletionon thirds and eight, but Linhart salvaged the effort with his three-pointer.
The Colts went 68 years to score their touchdown. Jones passed 14 yards to Mitchell and 11 to tight end Raymond Chester. Then on third and five at the Denver 15, he connected with Mitchell, who spun out of the grasp of linebacker Randy Gradishar at the eight-yard line and scored.
Bronco running back Lonnie Perrin, formerly of McKinley High School in Washington, set another club record with a 63-yard dash from scrimmage to the Colt 10-yard line. The drive was halted at the five.