From the moment Deltha O'Neal became the Denver Broncos number one pick in the 2000 NFL draft, the 5'10" cornerback knew he had something to prove.
Prove to himself, to his teammates and to the Broncos organization, his worthiness as their top selection.
Sunday he became proof positive, tying an NFL record with four interceptions, and leading the Broncos to a 20-6 victory over the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.
It also marked Denver's first victory over the Chiefs since the 1998 season, O'Neals junior year at California.
"This means a lot," said O'Neal. "Kansas City's had our number for the past couple of years, so now this builds us up. Going into Kansas City, in December, hopefully we can get two. For me personally, it just helps me through the season."
It also helps the Broncos revamped Ray Rhodes defense, who limited the Chiefs to just two Todd Peterson field goals the entire afternoon.
"It's always nice to win," said head coach Mike Shanahan. "As I told our defense after the game, I thought it was a great performance."
As impressive as O'Neal's performance was, the Broncos offense put up some above average numbers of its own, most notably the rushing of Mike Anderson, who finished the day with 155-yards on 22 carries. His first quarter, 62-yard touchdown run opened up the scoring for Denver, while his 7.0 yards per carry average, spread out the Greg Robinson's defense, allowing Brian Griese to open up the passing attack.
The beneficiary became Rod Smith, who's slowly turned into Griese's favorite receiver.
Smith finished the day with eight catches for 110-yards. The only other Bronco to catch a pass for yardage was fullback Patrick Hape, who snagged two passes for 11-yards.
"The guys up front are doing their part, the running backs are doing their part, and I just have to do my part when I get the opportunity," Smith told reporters.
With the absence of Ed McCaffrey, that opportunity seems to be growing with each game.
"Individually, stats let you keep your job, said Smith. "But it takes 11-guys to move the ball down the field and put it in the endzone to score some points."
Now locked in a three-way tie with San Diego and Oakland for the top spot in the AFC West, the Broncos prepare to face the Seattle Seahawks at Husky Stadium this Sunday.
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