It's going to be a tough struggle on the road today - both John Lynch and Travis Henry will sit this one out. Jay Cutler is scheduled to start but he's still nursing a sore lower leg and may relinquish duties to Patrick Ramsey if the Chiefs defense proves to be too tough.
Other inactives for Denver include: RB Mike Bell, OL Isaac Snell, DE's Larry Birdine and Paul Carrington and WR Javon Walker. Denver's third quarterback Darrell Hackney is also listed as inactive, but is in uniform and eligible to play if both Cutler and Ramsey are injured.
Game time is half an hour away - lock it up, grab some brew and let's see if Shanahan can get this ship back on course. I'm gonna need a shower after this one...
Broncos take the kick and bring it out nicely - Andre Hall hit's the thirty two. Cutler comes out passing - avoids the sack and hits Selvin Young for a short three. Again through the air - hits Marshall at the 46 - Marshall comes up limping and heads to the sidelines. Incomplete to Glenn Martinez brings up second down - Young up the gut - breaks it loose - nearly beats it - picks up 33 on the carry. Back to Young - Broncos get flagged for an illegal block to the back and it's brought back ten. Cutler to Sheffler moves it to the 26 - drive stalls and Jason Elam lights it up as the Broncos take an early 3-0 lead.
Here come the Chiefs - return is brought out to the 27. Huard and Co. get tagged for a procedure penalty - first and fifteen. Priest Holmes up the middle for five. Holmes again around the end for a sweet twelve and a first. Chiefs are keeping it on the ground - you can't blame them. Huard's fiorst pass of the day gets nearly picked by Foxworth - KC drive stalls and punt falls dead at the eleven. Flag on the play - hpolding on the Broncos moves it back to the six.
Cutler airs it out to Marshall - beautiful pass - huge pickup near midfield. Eric Pears heads to the sideline with an unknown injury. Cutler to the air again - doesn't see Derrick Johnson and the Chiefs get their first pick of the afternoon. KC ball at the Denver forty.
Ground game pick up a few till Huard hits Dwayne Bowe for a sixteen yard pickup at the 21. Huard to the end zone - incomplete. Another near int by burton brings up third and ten. Another incomplet and KC placekicker Dave Rayner gives it a shot from 39-yards out. Kick hooks left but clears the uprights and the Chiefs tie it up at 3-3 with 5:38 left in the first.
Broncos turnover comes back to haunt them - once again. Noineteen turnovers have resulted in 78 points so far this season - ouch
Hall takes the kick and brings it out to the 20 - another flag - holding on Denver and the mistake takes it back ten. Screen to Young moves it out to the 23. Young on the ground - busts it for another first near the thirty-eight. Cutler rolls out - hits Sheffler across midfield but Greg Wesley nails him and the ball falls dead. Scheffler may need a spleen transplant after that one - it was brutal.
Young on the ground - loss of one and it's third and eleven. Incomplete to Stokley and Sauerbrun sails it down to the twenty - guess what - another flag on Denver and Sauerbrun re-kicks. Second chance pick up a few and KC takes it at the 26.
Huard to Bowe on a slant moves it to the 42 - Holmes up the middle picks up three. Sam Adams jumps offside - KC picks up an easy five. Huard send it deep into double coverage - Karl Paymah picks it and Denvetr takes it at their own two.
Young on the ground for nothing. Young again - up to the five - flag on the play - illegal formation against Denver - ball is brought back to the goal line. Back to Young - moves it near the five as the first comes to a close.
Cutler opens the second looking at a third and seven from the five - toss to Marshall moves it to the ten and zebras drop another flag on Denver - penalty declined and Sauerbrun gets set to punt it out of the end zone. Kick is blocked and falls out of bounds - is there anything else that can go wrong? KC picks up the safety and takes posession on the free kick. Cheifs start again at the 31.
Chiefs keep it on the ground - Holmes moves it to the 35. Huard hits Wilson - ball is dropped and the boo birds break out at Arrowhead - Chiefs to punt. Ball bounces dead at the thirty-five.
Cutler to a wide open Marshall - ball sails two feet over his outstretched arms - Cutler to the air again - pass is knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Third and ten and Cutler calls time out.
Broncos regroup and JC scrambles - finds Marshall at midfield for the first. On the ground to Young - nothing there. Another deflection at the line - nearly intercepted. Third and eight - here comes the blitz - Cutler scrambles - finds Stokley for twelve. First and ten from the thirty-five. Cutler drops back - sack from the blind side brings up second and seventeen. More pressure but Cutler busts a tackle and finds Marshall at the 32 - picks up eleven on the play. Third and eight from the shotgun - pass to Stokley hit's the ground three yards short - Elam for the kick. Fifty-yard attempt hit's the crossbar but falls inside for the score. Broncos take a 6-5 lead - what a nail biter.
KC starts it at the twenty-five - on the gound to Holmes picks up a few. Holmes again - this one moves it out near the 34 - Huard to Tony Gonzalez for the first. Apparently Tony took exception to D.J. Williams tackle -pleasantries are exchanged and KC gets the first at the 43. Huard's sacked by Ian Gold - loss of four. Priest Holmes dances his way to midfield - third and three. Huard hits Bowe near the Denver thirty-five - another first down for KC.
Huard airs it out - again it's Bowe on single coverage - moves it inside the twenty. First and ten from the thirteen. Holmes around the end gets brings down four. Second and six - Holmes up the middle down near the five. Holmes tries to break it around the end - Broncos swarm - after juking and dancing around it's a loss of fourteen and the Chiefs are forced to settle for a field goal - lead changes hands again with KC on top 8-6.
Broncos start it at the 23 - toss to Young picks up six as they take a break for the two minute warning.
Cutler hits Marshall on the side - flags fly - Marshall comes up hurt. Facemask on the Chiefs - trainers come on the field and it's a Broncos time out. Replay shows Marshall gets popped in the package - that's gotta hurt. Right upercut to the jewels by Tyrone Breckenridge - Marshall tries to walk it off on the sideline.
Denver's got one time out left - 1:53 left in the half. Out of the shotgun hits Scheffler. Cutler is hurt - limping severely - Cutler heads to the sidelines. Patrick Ramsey gets ready to roll - Broncos are forced to burn their final time out. Ramsey out of the shotgun - deflected at the line - brings up third and one from midfield. QB sneak for the first. Ramsey spikes it with 1:16 left in the half. Cutler's back - hits Graham for a few as the clock continues to run. Third and six - Cutler gets hit from behind as the ball is released - pass is incomplete and Broncos get flagged for holding (Lepsis). Cutler nearly had his legs decapitated on the play - Sauerbrun looks gun-shy - punt is off the side of his foot and drops at the eighteen.
KC keeps it on the ground as time runs out in the half. Crowd is not happy… Chiefs lead 8-6 at the half.
Sauerbrun's kick hit's the end zone - Chiefs take it at the twenty - First two play go to the air - both fall incomplete. Third down Huard goes to the air again - ball bounces off three player's hands before Dre Bly picks it and brings it back to the Chiefs thirty-five.
Cutler's still in - handoff to Young picks up eight to the 25. Young again - good enough for the first down at the twenty. Trifecta to Young and the rookie breaks it around the right side for the score - his first NFL touchdown. Elam nails the PAT and Denver regains the lead 13-8.
KC takes it at the twenty - Huard trots out to a chorus of boos… it's a tough crowd at Arrowhead. Huard to pass - Broncos swarm - Dummerville hits Huard and the ball comes free - Nate Webster picks it up and heads untouched into the end zone. KC challenges the fumble… Two touchdowns in nine seconds - I must be dreaming.
Play stands as called - Elam hit's the extra point and Denver leads 20-8.
Chiefs go for broke - rookie Brodie Croyle llines up behind center. Facing a first and ten from the 28. Back to back on the ground brings up third and five. Toss to Bowe across the middle - good for a first at the forty. Holmes for five - Croyle throws it away - nice coverage by Denver. Third and five - out of the shotgun - hits Eddie Kennison on the sideline for a first just past midfield.
Broncos blitz - Croyle finds Holmes for an eight yard pickup. The crowd is back in it… Third and two - Croyle finds Parker tro continue the drive at the twenty-seven. Holmes on the ground piucks up a few. Second and six - airs it out down the side - incomplete. Third and six - quick toss to Bowe - only picks up a few - Rayner hits it fromn 39-yards out and KC cuts the lead 20-11.
Cutler's still in the lineup - starts the drive at the 25 - Ypoung changes direction and moves it out to for eight. Second and two - false start on the Broncos brings up second and seven. Young gets back of few yards - third and three and Young gets popped just shy of the first. Sauerbrun sails it perfectly - fifty-yards KC takes it at their own ten.
Chiefs keep it on the ground - Holmes picks up one. Toss to Wilson on the sideline - ball pops out but Kennison recovers at the 22 for a KC first down. More on the ground but Denver holds it pretty well. Third and three - Croyle finds Gonzalez for a first at the 37. Pitch to Holmes and he moves it out to midfield and another first down.
Croyle hit's a perfect strike to Jeff Webb at the thirty-five and it's another KC first down as the third quarter comes to a close with Denver on top 20-11.
First and ten from the 35 - Broncos stop the run - Second and tenm - Croyle sends it to the end zone just off the finger tips of Dwayne Bowe. Missed the six by inches. Third and ten - comes up incomplete to Webb. Fourth down and Rayner looks for three from 53-yards out. Kick comes up lame and Denver will take it at the 43-yard line.
Cutler connects with Stokely for a 23-yard pickup. Young off-tackle for a few. Two more for Young brings up third and six and Cutler takes time to talk to Shanny. Perfect time for a beer… Crowd goes crazy - Cutler out of the shotgun to Stokley falls incomplete - KC gets tagged with interference - very questionable call - Broncos ball at the 26. Young on the ground for zip. Young off the right side moves it to the 17 and it's third and three. Side Note: Young's got 103-yards for the afternoon in his first starting appearance on the road in KC. Nice job for the rookie.
Third and three and Cutler finds Daniel Graham wide open in the end zone for the score. Elam hit's the PAT and Denver stretches the lead 27-11 with 10:54 on the clock.
Nice coverage on Special Teams - KC drive will start at the seventeen. Holmes picks up five. Out of the shotgun - Kennison catches it - but it's out of bounds - brings up third and five from the 23. Shotgun again and the Broncos bring the rush - Croyle gets sacked and KC is forced to punt from the goal line.
Martinez loses three on the return and Cutler and Co. take the field at the 28-yard line. False start on Denver - drops it back five. First and fifteen and Andre Hall is lucky to get back to the line of scrimmage. Second down and Cutler on a keeper - slides down two yards short and it brings up third and 2 from the 35. Cutler over the top to Scheffler - grabs a forst dpwn at the 48. Selvin Young stumbles in the backfield - loss of one. Young again - another loss brings up third and fourteen. KC burns it's final time out with 7:17 remaining.
Out of the shotgun Cutler gets it batted down at the line of scrimmage - drive stalls and Sauerbrun is out to punt. Kick sails 42-yards and the Chiefs will take it at the sixteen-yard line.
Croyle finds Kennison for a first at the 27. Croyle again to Kennison for a first. Ball is at the 40 - Croyle airs it out - Champ bailey picks it off - Not even close to a KC receiver. Easiest pick of the year for Bailey. Denver takes it at their own forty.
Young breaks it outside - moves it past midfield. Andre Hall off tackle - Wesley explodes on him - looks helmet to helmet - nobody's injured but it sounded sick. Cutler scrambles to the sideline for the first. Flags fly - defensive holding trags on five more yards and the Broncos are looking at first down at the 32.
4:30 to go and crowd is heading to the exits - Hall on the ground to the twenty-eight. Hall again for a few and it's third and six. Hall again - run comes up short and on fourth and five Shanny calls a time to figure it all out what he‘s got left in the playbook. Evidently not much - Cutler bounces it off the turf and KC takes over at the 27 with 2:10 on the clock.
Croyle out of the shotgun finds Smith for very little as the clock stops for the two minute warning.
Chiefs are going through the motions but the clock keeps winding - Croyle hits Bowe on the sideline for a nice gain - flag on Denver is declined, KC's got it at midfield. Croyle to Webb on the opposite sideline - another penalty on Denver - interference on Paymah. Croyle to the end zone - incomplete. One more shot - a bit too far for Gonzalez - another flag on Denver and it's till second and five for KC. Croyle to the end zone - tipped away by Dre Bly - ANOTHER flag on Denver - offsides gives the Chiefs a first down at the 23.
Croyle incomplete to Gonzalez and it's second and ten with 1:03 on the clock. Croyle to Gonzalez on the sideline for the first. Incomplete to the end zone and it's another flag on the Broncos. Shanahan just may implode if this keeps up. You can see the veins in his neck ready to pop. Another toss to the end zone - another flag on Denver. This is getting comical.
Second and goal from the three - Croyle to no one in particular brings up third down. Miraculously there's no flags on the play. Out of the shotgun Croyle's toss to Gonzalez is broken up by Dre Bly. Fourth and goal - Croyle gets railroaded by Tim Crowder - Cutler takes a knee and the Denver Broncos pull off a shocker in KC - snapping a two game losing streak and improving to 4-5 for the season.
I know it's hard to imagine, but even at 4-5 there's still hope in the pathetic AFC West. Depending on how it plays out for San Diego, the Broncos could still manage a tie for first…who would have thought?
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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