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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Byner fumble helps Broncos hold on
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Jan. 17, 1988

With four minutes left in the AFC championship game, John Elway's 20-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Winder gives the Broncos a 38-31 lead. Taking over on their own 25, the Browns are driving for the tying touchdown.

On second down at Denver's eight with little more than a minute remaining, Cleveland running back Earnest Byner runs for five yards when he is stripped of the ball by cornerback Jeremiah Castille, who recovers the fumble at the three. The Broncos give up a safety and escape with a 38-33 victory in Denver to advance to the Super Bowl.

Byner runs for 67 yards on 15 carries and catches seven passes for 120 yards. He scores two touchdowns. But he winds up the goat.

"I'm not in great spirits," Byner says. "But what can I do now? I played my heart out. What do you want me to do? Cry and be a baby about it. Well, I'm not going to do that. I'm a man. I did my best out there on the field. I'm just going to come back next year, and keep working and working."

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