0

Elam showing no age, just making big kicks

By Guy Curtright

Staff Correspondent

Jason Elam did it again.

The Denver Broncos have won three games. The veteran kicker from Brookwood High School has booted a last-play field goal in each of the three victories.

In baseball, it would be called a walk-off.

The latest was Sunday night and the team left disappointed was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Elam booted a 49-yard field goal as time expired at Denver's Invesco Field to give the Broncos a 31-28 victory.

Denver has been outscored by 65 points in their three losses. But if the Broncos can keep it close, Elam will come through.

"That was a big-time kick," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan told reporters afterwards.

Denver had blown a 14-point lead and the momentum would certainly have been with the Steelers if the game went to overtime.

Elam didn't let it.

"When I looked up, I saw that I hit it pretty straight," Elam told reporters afterwards. "That's about as good as I can hit it."

Kicking game-winners isn't anything new for Elam, in his 15th NFL season. He has done it more than 20 times in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime.

"Like a great golfer, the same swing every time," Shanahan said.

Still, nothing beats a game-ending field goal for a kicker and Elam has done it three times already this season.

"He's a darn good closer," Broncos safety John Lynch told reporters. "You wouldn't want anyone else in that

position.

"You have a sense of calm when he's booting it. He's very good at what he does. No question, right down the

middle."

Elam, 37, made a hurried 42-yarder to beat Buffalo Bills 15-14 in the season opener. He kicked a 23-yarder in overtime the next week for a 23-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

The 49-yarder against the Steelers was Elam's longest of the season.

Elam didn't have to attempt the game-winner twice, as has often been the case in the NFL this season. First-year Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called his timeout early, not just before the ball was ready to be snapped.

It probably didn't matter.

Elam is 10-for-13 in field goals this season and in his All-Pro career has made 80.1 percent (378 of 472).

SideBar: The Elam File

' Who: Jason Elam

' Team: Denver Broncos

' NFL seasons: 15

' Age: 37

' High school: Brookwood

' College: Hawaii

' 2007 stats:

' 10-for-13 on field goals, with three

game-winning kicks

n Career stats:

' 378-for-472 on field goals