It got worse for Krieg in the second half, when Denver safety Dennis Smith single-handedly (his left one was in a cast) ruined him. Smith picked off a pass that went right through Steve Largent's arms to set up an easy Denver TD, then, on the next series, stripped wide receiver Ray Butler of the ball and recovered it himself to kill another Krieg drive at the 17. Turns out Smith was mad. "I keep hearing people calling us a finesse defense this year," he said. "Well, I've never been a finesse player in my life. You can forget that. And forget all that bend-but-don't-break stuff, too. We don't like that, either."
Six plays later, Elway handed off to Steve Sewell, who pitched it back to Elway, who then pitched it 59 yards forward to Vance Johnson, who had the Seahawks secondary beat by, oh, Rhode Island. Before anybody knew it, Seattle was slewn, 34-17. By the gun, Denver had run off 33 points without so much as a Seahawk peep.
"We're new back there in the secondary," said Seattle cornerback Mel Jenkins, who was one of two new defensive backs, along with Patrick Hunter. "We're still getting to know each other. Elway didn't cut us any slack in our learning process." Meanwhile, Denver's secondary—including Haynes—played a flawless second half. They were helped by the fact that Seattle running back Curt Warner, who had 84 yards in the first half, had exactly—1 yard in the second half, the difference being...well, Warner puts it best: "I don't know the exact medical terminology for the injury," he says, "but it felt like somebody ripped off my shoulder." Actually, Warner suffered a bruised shoulder when Tony Lilly shammed him early in the second quarter. Said Bronco outside linebacker Ryan, "They weren't as good after that."
Very true—and Denver was getting better. The only thing left for Seattle was to wonder who in the AFC can stop Denver if it keeps hopping on turnovers like this (the Broncos turned five into 27 points), running like this and throwing like this. Denver put 504 yards of total hurt on the team that ranked No. 1 in points defense in the AFC last year, the biggest day the Broncos have had since they went the Elway. Speaking of which, Elway looks like this could be an even better year than 1986, as long as he doesn't have to keep making touchdown-saving tackles while fighting off two blockers, as he did on a runaway Fredd Young after a fumble recovery in the second quarter. Glad to do it, said the ever-helpful Elway: "I figure if I can give seven points or save seven points, I will."
Hmmmm. You think Elway knows his way around a negotiating table?