ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The Broncos breathed easier Monday with the news that Eric Decker’s knee injury is merely a sprained medial collateral ligament rather than a full, season-ending tear.
The second-year wide receiver suffered the injury in the second quarter when he was leveled by Steelers linebacker James Harrison. His status is “day-to-day,” Broncos coach John Fox said.
Decker’s injury left the Broncos with only three healthy wide receivers on the roster: Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal and Matt Willis.
“Matt Willis, who’s been great all year, has come in and made some clutch plays for us,” said Royal. “He’s learned every position that we have at the receiving corps, and he’s done a great job of filling in for us. When Eric went down, Matt was the guy that really had to step up.”
ALLEN ON RAMS’ RADAR: Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s restoration work on the defense has attracted the attention of the coachless St. Louis Rams.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rams would interview Allen on Thursday, two days before the Broncos face the Patriots. Because the Broncos’ preparation schedule is altered and moved up a day to account for the Saturday night kickoff, the overwhelming bulk of Allen’s game-planning will be complete by then.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke interviewed Jeff Fisher in Denver last week. Kroenke, who also owns the Colorado Rapids, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth, has a secondary residence in Denver.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has also drawn interest from the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he is not expected to interview with them until after the postseason concludes.
NOTABLE NUMBERS: Last week, there were some trends in the Broncos’ favor — namely the undefeated all-time records for teams that carried three-game losing streaks into home playoff openers and the 4-1 record for 8-8 or 7-9 teams this century in their playoff openers.
The same can not be said this week, because teams with an 8-8 or worse record are 0-5 all-time in the divisional round, including losses by the 7-9 Seahawks at Chicago last January and the 8-8 Chargers at Pittsburgh three years ago.
The Broncos are nevertheless confident — which is what an 8-4 record since Week 7 can do.
“I don’t think the win last night is going to increase our confidence,” defensive end Robert Ayers said. “I just think it’s going to keep building on what we already had.”