KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After being held without a touchdown catch for the past twelve games, you had to assume that Shannon Sharpe was about to break out.
What surprised everyone was just how much, as the thirty-four year old Sharpe hauled in 12 catches for 244-yards and two touchdowns, leading the Broncos to a 37-34 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
"My job is just to come out and stay as healthy as I possibly can, and let the outcome speak for itself," said Sharpe.
"I know that if I make some plays, Mike (Shanahan) will start calling my number more and more, and that's what I wanted to do."
Sharpe, who set a single-game franchise record for yardage, spent most of the first half languishing with the rest of the Broncos offense, which had managed only two first half Jason Elam field goals, despite two trips inside the Kansas City red zone.
Three minutes into the third quarter Denver found itself trailing the Chiefs 13-6 when Brian Griese connected with Sharpe down the middle for what turned into an 82-yard gallop for the tight end, beating out three defenders on his way to the end zone.
This seemed to spark the Broncos offense, as they scored touchdowns on three of their next four possessions.
Unfortunately, helped in part by poor special teams play, Kansas City's scoring was just as frantic.
Tony Richardson capped a 5-play, 44-yard drive with a 14 yard touchdown run and Priest Holmes, the league's leading rusher, picked up two touchdown runs, from four-yards and one-yard respectively.
Holmes finished the day with 113-yards and three touchdowns.
"Defensively we didn't play well at all," said defensive end Trevor Pryce. "We played one of our worst games in two years, we know that and the coaches know that, but in the end you find a way to win and that's all that matters."
Trailing 34-20 with 10:51 remaining, Griese again found Sharpe, capping off a four-play, 70-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown toss.
Sharpe's second touchdown reception of the afternoon also added some levity to the game as the ever boisterous tight end reaching down into his sock looking for a sharpie, a direct slap in the face of 49ers. receiver Terrell Owens who pulled a pen out of his sock last week, signing an autograph in the end zone for his financial advisor.
After trading possessions, Denver took over with 3:47 remaining in the fourth quarter, trailing
34-27, with Griese engineering an 11 play, 67-yard drive, capped off with a 2-yard Mike Anderson touchdown run to send the game into overtime.
On the drive Griese, who finished with a career best 30 of 50 passes for 376-yards and two touchdowns, picked apart the Chiefs secondary completing 7 of 10 passes, primarily to Sharpe, Rod Smith and rookie Ashley Lelie.
After stalling on its opening drive of overtime, Denver looked for it's defense to not only stop Kansas City, but somehow come up with the big play to give them the best field position possible.
They weren't disappointed, as nine-year veteran Keith Burns blocked a Dan Stryzinski punt, recovered at the Chiefs 32-yard line.
Four plays later Jason Elam provided the game winner with a 25-yard field goal.
"It wasn't a real good day for us", said Burns. "But at the same time, in the end the cream rises to the top, and that's one of the things we did, as far as sticking together as a team."
Mike Shanahan, who captured only his second win at Arrowhead Stadium as Denver's head coach, applauded his team's effort and commitment during the game.
"I was really proud with the way our team fought for 60 minutes," said Shanahan.
"You can look at a lot of different areas and say we didn't play our best football game, but you can't disrespect the effort we had and the way we came up with big plays there in the fourth quarter that gave us a chance to obviously tie the game and eventually win."
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Sharpe helps lift Broncos to a 37-34 overtime win
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