Monday, December 16, 2002 - With thoughts of Olindo Mare's and Mike Vanderjagt's improbable, game-deciding field goals ... "I was thinking, 'God help us,' really," Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam said. With visions of John Mobley's and Ian Gold's unthinkable, game-turning interception drops ... "I was thinking, 'Oh, no, not again,"' safety Kenoy Kennedy said. With nightmares of another unimaginable last-second loss - potentially the most devastating of all - in the fifth Broncos game this season decided on the game's final play ... "Of course that's going to flash into your mind," fullback Mike Anderson admitted.
Shanahan gets mean to an end - Denver Post - Woody Paige
Monday, December 16, 2002 - If the Broncos had lost the game, Mike Shanahan would have lost the Broncos. Instead, because of the Promethean victory over Kansas City on Sunday, the coach and the players again are allies - united against a common enemy, the Oakland Raiders, and with a common goal, the AFC West title.
Broncos back in AFC West title hunt - Denver Post
Monday, December 16, 2002 - On a day Broncos rookie running back Clinton Portis scored four times, Denver scored three. Oakland lost. San Diego lost. Denver won, giving the Broncos a legitimate chance to win the AFC West. To do it, the Broncos must win Sunday in Oakland, then again at home against Arizona.
Raiders Week returns to its rightful lusty place - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Monday, December 16, 2002 - Remember when hating the Raiders still mattered in Denver? Good news. The passion in hating the Silver and Black is back. Denver kept hope alive by beating Kansas City 31-24. But enough about that. What evil lurks ahead? Darth Raider.
Forget the numbers game - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Monday, December 16, 2002 - The Denver Broncos' defense endured a week-long game of survival. And lived to play another day. Barely.
Route 66 best way to points - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
Monday, December 16, 2002 - Sometimes you just need to be a little lucky. Take Sunday, for instance, when Clinton Portis was supposed to be an interested bystander, but wound up turning in the most awe-inspiring play of the Broncos' season. He was the checkdown guy, the one Brian Griese goes to in the interest of staying in one piece.
'Whip' confuses Chiefs - Denver Post - Joseph Sanchez
Monday, December 16, 2002 - Kansas City's Dante Hall came up with two big touchdown catches, the second a 49-yard catch-and-run that will be on highlight films the next 24 hours.
Adrenaline rush - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 16, 2002 - Ho-hum. No last-second field goal. No game-clinching interceptions by the opponent. No potential defensive takeaways inexplicably dropped harmlessly to the ground.
Ailing Portis feels better after 4 TDs - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
December 16, 2002 - Clinton Portis woke up Sunday morning nauseated. By the end of the day, the Kansas City Chiefs were the ones feeling sick to their stomachs.
Denver defense just good enough - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
December 16, 2002 - There were a couple of new faces, an injury-battered opposition, and a vow to perform better on third down. Yet as the fourth quarter ticked away Sunday at Invesco Field, the Denver Broncos defense found itself facing the same old problems.
Krieger: With a little help, picture brightens - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
December 16, 2002 - Thanks for logging on to chaos.com, the official Web site of the American Football Conference. This page refreshes every 60 seconds, and it's a good thing. Just in, a report from Denver's locker room: It's do or die. Backs against the wall. There's no tomorrow. Hold on a minute. Oakland just lost to Miami. There might be a tomorrow, after all. Our people are on this.
Lincicome: Suddenly, destiny is on Broncos' side - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
December 16, 2002 - Ah, destiny. Welcome back. Taking Mike Shanahan at his word, the Denver Broncos are suddenly and irretrievably in control of the aforementioned destiny, as they were, oh, at the beginning of the season and three games into the season and eight games into the season and at just about any point up to and after the sad Steve Beuerlein overtime calamities.
Griese proud defense finished Chiefs after his offense failed in KO attempt - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
December 16, 2002 - As Kansas City took possession down only seven points late in the game Sunday, Brian Griese stood alone on the Denver Broncos sideline. Then, as the Chiefs moved inside Denver's red zone, Griese dropped to one knee as if to brace himself for what might happen. "I had confidence in our guys, that we'd either stop them, or get a pick," the Broncos quarterback said.
Pryce, 'D' respond to criticism - Rocky Mountain News - Pat Rooney
December 16, 2002 - Throughout his 10 seasons as an NFL head coach, Mike Shanahan has not made a habit of criticizing his players through the media. Shanahan's ire has not boiled over often in public but it did this week.
Sharpe: No paybacks - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin and Lee Rasizer
December 16, 2002 - Standing on the podium for his weekly news conference last month with a sling over his dislocated right elbow, Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe pondered whether the man that caused his injury - Oakland's Bill Romanowski - meant to inflict the damage.
Mistakes the Chiefs' undoing - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
December 16, 2002 - The voices in the visitors' locker room following Denver's 31-24 victory against Kansas City on Sunday barely elevated over a murmur. The players walked liked zombies from the showers to their lockers, and they cast distraught looks to reporters eager to ask questions.
Holmes puts dent in Broncos defense - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler
December 16, 2002 - It took Priest Holmes only three quarters to obliterate the Denver Broncos' streak of holding an opposing running back to under 100 yards in Denver.
Broncos back in West title hunt - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 16, 2002 - Just like that. Just like that Oakland and San Diego lost. Just like that Denver's three-game losing streak and three-game home losing streak ended. Just like that the AFC West is once again within reach. Just like that football is fun again.
Woelk: Now it all rests on Raiders game - Daily Camera - Neill Woelk
December 16, 2002 - Now that the latest heart-stopper is in the books, now that the Denver Broncos have finally proven they can win a game in the waning moments — or at least protect a lead — it looks like we finally have what we wanted all along: Broncos at Raiders, next Sunday, AFC West title on the line.
Portis overcomes flu and miscues for record day - Daily Camera - Zak Brown
December 16, 2002 - After going 66 yards for his fourth touchdown of the day and longest career reception Sunday, Clinton Portis couldn't keep his secret any longer.
Denver defense barely avoids another disaster - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 16, 2002 - As Kansas City's offense, which is more St. Louis than the Rams' this season, was marching down the field in the final minute it looked as if Denver was destined for more disappointment.
Game 14 report - Daily Camera
December 16, 2002 - Clinton Portis. Finished with 205 yards of offense and four touchdowns. Imagine what his totals could have been without the two lost fumbles.
Broncos notes - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 16, 2002 - Clinton Portis will almost certainly become the second Denver running back since 2000 to win rookie of the year honors. But the team's other high-profile pick — first round selection Ashley Lelie — is finally starting to make some big plays of his own.
Chiefs' division title hopes expire in 31-24 loss to Broncos- Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - The record will show the Chiefs' chances of winning the AFC West title died Sunday when Trent Green's final desperation pass fell harmless to the Invesco Field turf. The Chiefs know better. Their championship hopes expired earlier in the day, when they fell far behind the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs couldn't successfully complete a frantic comeback and lost 31-24.
Chiefs missing many key offensive pieces late in game- Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - The Chiefs were attempting their frantic rally in the final moments of Sunday's game with a lineup that resembled the junior varsity.
Hall makes thrilling plays in tough loss- Kansas City Star - Ivan Carter
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - On a day when the Chiefs saw their playoff hopes take a Tony Soprano-sized hit, it was almost possible to overlook the performance turned in by Dante Hall. Almost.
Portis overcomes fumbles to have big game- Kansas City Star - Ivan Carter
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - The Chiefs knew two things about Denver rookie running back Clinton Portis coming into Sunday's game. First, they knew that Portis has scary speed and is ridiculously elusive, and he proved they were right by accounting for 205 yards of offense and four touchdowns in Denver's 31-24 victory.
Robinson says UCLA interview didn't disrupt preparations- Kansas City Star - Adam Teicher
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who met with UCLA officials Saturday after the Chiefs arrived in Denver, was emphatic after Sunday's 31-24 loss that the interview in no way disrupted his game preparations.
So many mistakes and problems, where to begin?- Kansas City Star - Jason Whitlock
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - What a mess. What a complete freaking mess the Denver Broncos turned the Chiefs into Sunday afternoon at Invesco Field at Mile High. Not only did the Broncos throw an all-but-fatal dagger into Kansas City's playoffs hopes, beating the homeboys 31-24, but they also wiped out KC's starting backfield, decimated its already short-handed receiving corps, exposed Greg Robinson's defensive resurgence as fraudulent, called into question Trent Green's leadership and made Dick Vermeil and his coaching cronies appear terribly foolish.
Seeing injured Holmes caps tough day- Kansas City Star - Joe Posnanaski
Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - On the most depressing day, in the most depressing locker room, he was the most depressing sight. Priest Holmes staggered toward the door on crutches. All year, he had been a comic-book hero. He bent steel. He deflected bullets. He leaped tall buildings. Now, Superman could barely walk.