Broncos Playoff Hopes Blasted in K.C.

The Broncos' playoff hopes took a severe and perhaps fatal jolt on Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs walloped Denver 45-17. From Dante Hall's opening kickoff return for a touchdown on, the Broncos managed to turn every positive into a negative and went home with their biggest loss in almost 20 years.

Broncos' playoff hopes dim with collapse in K.C. - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Monday, December 20, 2004 - Heading into this pivotal game, the Broncos' basic goal was clear: It was going to come down to offensive production. Whichever offense would outlast the other would emerge victorious. It didn't take long Sunday to realize which offense had the advantage. The Chiefs' offense doesn't self-destruct, while the Broncos offense has made an annoying habit of doing just that this season. Couple Denver's season-long identity crisis on offense with a collapse by the defense, and the result was an embarrassing 45-17 loss at Arrowhead Stadium. It was the Broncos' worst defeat at the stadium since 1983, John Elway's rookie season when the Broncos lost 48-17.

K.C. barbecue - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 20, 2004 - Dante Hall might have pulled the first string Sunday, but when all was said and done inside a chilled Arrowhead Stadium, the Broncos had unraveled like a cheap Christmas sweater. And Denver now has six days to decide if its shrinking playoff chances get swept up in the mess. "We're not going to sit up in here and make excuses about this or that," Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said. "(The Chiefs) played a good football game. And we didn't." "It was a Kansas City Chief day," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "We had a lot of things go our way."

Broncos barbecued in K.C. - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 20, 2004 - Imagine if Priest Holmes would have played. Or Derrick Blaylock. Or Johnnie Morton. Imagine if the 77,702 fans at Arrowhead Stadium were screaming at Jake Plummer instead of blowing into their hands. Imagine if the Kansas City Chiefs were playing for a playoff spot instead of pride. Maybe the Denver Broncos, who were outclassed here on Sunday in every way, were fortunate to only lose by the score of 45-17. It could have been worse. The game wasn't that close.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs -
Sunday, December 19, 2004 - As kickoff approached Head Coach Mike Shanahan deactivated Cecil Sapp, Sam Brandon, Jashon Sykes, Dan Neil, Darius Holland, Trevor Pryce and the newly-signed Demetrin Veal. The team only had seven inactives as there currently are only 52 players on the active roster. With Neil inactive for the second consecutive week, Cooper Carlisle earned the start again at the right guard position. It was a sunny, but frigid day in Kansas City as the temperature was 15 degrees at kickoff and the wind chill made it feel minus-1 degree. The Chiefs won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.

Broncos-Chiefs Notebook: Unlucky 13 Seconds - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 19, 2004 -- Dante Hall didn't bring Kansas City's fans out of their seats in the first 13 seconds of Sunday's game. That's because to come out of one's seat, one has to be sitting down in the first place. In the time it took you to read the first paragraph, Hall burst into the open field with Jason Baker's opening kickoff, already well en route to a game-opening 97-yard return on which he was barely touched. The Broncos were behind before they ran a play, before the fans had settled into their chairs. For that matter, the Broncos were behind before the Chiefs even ran a play from scrimmage. And Denver would never execute one snap in which it did not trail in a 45-17 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.

So Close -- Again - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 19, 2004 - As frigid shadows stalked the Arrowhead Stadium field midway through the fourth quarter Sunday, running back Tatum Bell had one last chance to shine a ray of sunshines into an otherwise dark Broncos afternoon. Then he got within sniffing distance of the Chiefs' goal line. Bell lost a sure touchdown for the second consecutive week, advancing 58 yards with a pass from Jake Plummer before fumbling it into and out of the end zone with 10:44 remaining, turning the potential fourth touchdown of his NFL career into little more than a lengthy touchback.

'Total Breakdown' - - Andrew Mason
Sunday, December 19, 2004 - It had been 10 years since the Broncos gave up as many points as they did Sunday at Kansas City. That evaporated into the arctic 15-degree air Sunday when the Chiefs exploded for 45 points on them in a defeat that dropped the Broncos to 8-6 and in a four-way tie with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills. "Total breakdown," cornerback Kelly Herndon said. "That's tough in this part of the season for us to do that."

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