Stellar play gives Broncos hope

Even though their playoff hopes are slim, the Denver Broncos aren't giving up, which they showed in a dominating win against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Denver Broncos aren't giving up, which they showed in a dominating win against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Broncos won, 41-7, and while their playoff chances are slim, they're still holding onto them.

"Until they tell us we can't get in, we're playing to get in the playoffs," receiver Brandon Stokley said.

Denver's actual chances of making the playoffs don't look good. San Diego has a two-game lead on the Broncos. To win the division, Denver would have to beat San Diego on Dec. 24, and the Chargers would have to lose to the Raiders the following week because of tiebreakers.

Denver can even up the first tiebreaker, which is head-to-head record, with a win at San Diego. The second tiebreaker is divisional record. To win that tiebreaker, the Broncos need help from Oakland in the season finale. If the Chargers win that game they'll finish with at worst the same record in AFC West games as Denver and San Diego has already clinched the common opponents tiebreaker, which is the third tiebreaker.

When the Broncos took the field for Sunday's game, the Chargers appeared on the verge of a loss, which would have given the Broncos some more hope. But San Diego rallied to tie the game in the final seconds and win in overtime.

"When I left they had 80 yards to go just to tie it up," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "I was obviously not very pleased at the outcome."

The Broncos could still qualify as a wild card, but they would need a lot of help. They claim they aren't worried about their playoff fate, but just want to win and see what happens. Their next game is Thursday at Houston and then they finish with games at San Diego and against the Vikings.

"We're not looking at the playoffs, we're not looking at what San Diego does, we could care less," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "We're going to finish these games out one at a time and see where the chips fall."

Sunday's win showed what the Broncos are capable of. The offense was sharp, with more than 200 rushing yards and a stellar game from Cutler. Cutler had four touchdowns and no interceptions.

"It's a shame we couldn't start from Week 1 with this type of explosiveness," receiver Brandon Marshall said. "Hopefully we can keep this thing going and sneak into that playoff hunt."

The Broncos played well defensively as well, after a bad game against Oakland the week before. They had four sacks and held the Chiefs to less than 200 yards.

Denver was especially dominant against the run. Chiefs rookie Kolby Smith carried 13 times for 12 yards. As a team, Kansas City had 16 yards on 17 attempts. After so much turmoil this season, the performance was a positive step for Denver's defense.

"It was a great performance and hopefully a building block for what we can be," safety John Lynch said.

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Javon Walker was inactive against Kansas City. Walker wasn't full speed in practice, so Broncos coach Mike Shanahan decided to hold him out. Walker will be back as soon as he is healthy again.

--WR Brandon Stokley played despite a knee injury and had a touchdown catch. That was his only catch, and he was held out most of the second half. Stokley doesn't have long to recover because the Broncos play Thursday at Houston.

--DT Marcus Thomas started for the Broncos. He takes the spot that was held by Sam Adams, who had been the starter.

--DE Elvis Dumervil had his fourth multi-sack game of the season against Kansas City, with three. The Broncos haven't had a player get four multi-sack games in a season since Trevor Pryce in 2000.

--S Hamza Abdullah was knocked out of the game in the first half when he was poked in the eye. Abdullah said he will be ready to play this week.



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