HOUSTON -- With a week off to seethe, the Houston Oilers were ready to burn somebody. The Denver Broncos were the victims.
Cris Dishman unleashed Houston's pent-up emotions with a 19-yard fumble return for a touchdown and set up another score with a 43-yard interception return, sparking a 35-point first half, as Oilers routed Denver, 42-14, yesterday.
The Oilers (4-1) had been steamed since losing to New England, 24-20, two weeks ago, and last week's open date didn't soothe them. They took out their anger on the startled Broncos (4-2), hoping to go 5-1 for the first time since 1981, Dan Reeves' first year as head coach.
"New England had a lot to do with it," Bubba McDowell said. "We went up there and got a little lackadaisical. We knew we had to come out from the start and be the defense we know we can be. We made up our minds to come out and do that early."
The Oilers held Gaston Green, the AFC's leading rusher, to 36 yards on 15 carries. The defense set the tone from the first play of the game, when Sean Jones sacked John Elway for a 9-yard loss.
Then, the special teams got into the act. When Mike Horan tried to punt, Bo Orlando blocked the kick. McDowell recovered in the end zone, starting a flood of first-half points.
The defense was so helpful, the offense had to drive only 14 yards for two touchdowns en route to a 28-0 lead.