The Broncos’ greatest gadget play

Jim Turner celebrates his touchdown reception
Kicker Jim Turner is congratulated by guard Glenn Hyde and another teammate after a touchdown on a fake field goal against the Raiders in Oakland.
Jim Turner’s touchdown reception on a fake field goal broke a close game wide open, and with seven interceptions, the Broncos crushed the defending world champion Raiders 30-7 to reach 5-0 for the first time in franchise history.

Turner’s touchdown reception was the result of perhaps the best trick play in Broncos history. Leading 14-7 with 59 seconds left in the second quarter, Turner lined up for a 42-yard field-goal attempt. But when holder Norris Weese caught the snap, the 36-year-old placekicker mimicked a kick, and then sprinted into the left flat.

“I looked first for Riley Odoms,” Weese said. “But you can’t waste time on the play and I saw Turner wide open and couldn’t believe it.”

No Raider was within 10 yards. Turner caught the pass at the 16-yard-line and in his trademark black high-top, square-toed kicking shoe, lumbered to the south end zone at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, where he was mobbed by teammates.

“I ran into the end zone out of fear. Speed wasn’t involved,” deadpanned Turner after the game.

Denver cruised from there. Its defense was dominant, rattling Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler into the worst performance of his career. Joe Rizzo intercepted three passes. Louis Wright intercepted one and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 left in the third quarter to put the game farther out of reach.