On a side note – prayers and condolences go out to the family and friends of Tim McKernan, affectionately known as the "Barrel Man," who passed away on Friday at the age of 69 – you will be missed… Kickoff is less than fifteen – everybody looks jazzed to get it going and I'm ready to grab a cold one – let's kick it in gear…
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Well that was fast – following a beautiful Eddie Royal return the Broncos roll out the big guns – marching down the field with an excellent mix of runs and passes. At times these guys look amazing – and then it happens – 2nd and six from the 14-yard line and Orton gets picked in the end zone looking for Scheffler. Complete package punch to end the drive. The key is how they respond – KC ball at the 20.
Response is nice – although they dodge a HUGE bullet when Champ gets lost in coverage and Matt Cassel misfires on a shot to a wide open Wade down the middle – two drives – two touchdowns and both teams walk away empty. KC rolls three and out and the Broncos take it at their own 37.
Eight plays later Orton finds the magic – 7-yard strike to Daniel Graham and the Broncos light the board. Offense is moving easy at this stage – Moreno and Buckhalter are tearing it up on the ground and the mode is pretty unsettling among the Chiefs faithful. Best part of the drive is how confident Orton looks… let's hope it continues.
KC takes it shot – impressive drive that eats up the entire rest of the quarter. Broncos "D" is getting worked as Cassel moves it down to the Broncos 1 with first and goal.
Seventeenth play of the drive and Brian Dawkins unloads – cuts the corner and it's a three yard loss on the play. Cassel to the air – incomplete to Long – busted up by Champ – third and goal and the Broncos blitz - incomplete to Charles and the Chiefs settle for the field goal – outstanding "D" in the clutch, but it took its toll – these guys look spent.
Well this doesn't help – Broncos roll out a short drive and get stalled at the 32 – Berger's out to punt. Here come the flags – false start – move it back. Berger Take 2 – KC fields it at the 29. Defense is not reall happy about heading back out so soon – can you blame them?
The Gods of Football smile – KC goes three and out after back to back incompletions. Anyone out there still wishing McDaniels could have snared Cassel as the Broncos starting QB?
I didn't think so… Royal fair catch on the 20.
Orton to Buckhalter – HUGE – 26-yard pick up. Keeping it rolling they bust out the ground game. Back to Buck for 17 off tackle – out of the shotgun to Marshall tags on another 14 and the Broncos are collecting some serious real estate. Buckhalter agin on the ground – 13-yards down to the Chiefs three where Moreno manages to push it in on second and two. Eight plays, 80-yards in 4:33 – Denver opens it up 14-3.
Nice to have a fresh "D" on the field – Chiefs continue to implode – three and out with a false start thrown in for good measure – KC's forced to punt – Royal dances with it at the 39.
Hard to imagine how jacked Tony Scheffler feels right now – third and six from the 43 and it bounces off his gut – not to be outdone he takes his frustrations out on the punt return nailing Wade on the sideline at the KC nine… my ex had that same look when she was helping me move out… kinda scarey.
(Cut and Paste) Chiefs with another three and out… you can almost feel the pain KC fans have at this stage. We've all been there – I can relate.
Denver's turn – back to back for Buckhalter moves the chains to the KC 46 at the 2:00 warning. Back to the Buck for no gain and an Orton sack bring up third and 13 from the 49. Out of the shotgun Orton gets stripped – Chiefs recover at midfield and look to grab a quick three before the half closes. Official confirm the fumble and we've got fifty-eight seconds to see what they can do.
Cassel moves it down to the Broncos 30 and on fourth and one KC opts for the chip shot – first half closes out with Denver holding a 14-6 lead an it's a mad dash for the media buffet… this could get ugly.
Stupid mistakes can be costly – just ask Tiger. Chifs take the kick and promptly go nowhere – making matters worse they try to pull out the magic ard on a fake punt on 4th and eight from their own 28. Broncos don't buy it – take over on down with a ridiculously short field.
Orton and Co. struggle on their own but do find the mark with a 44-yarder courtesy of Matt Prater – lead extends to 17-6. I'm actually starting to feel good about this game.
Did I mention mistakes? Second play of the KC drive and Cassel tosses out an INT to Andre Goodman at the Chiefs own 20 – Orton responds with a short 4-play driove that finds Brandon Marshall taking in a seven-yard toss – Broncos pile it on 24-6.
I would suggest making your reservation early – the bandwagon is starting fill up quickly. Broncos are 5-0 when scoring 20+ points…
Ok, so what's the biggest disadvantage to having the loudest stadium in the NFL ? Having a team that absolutely reeks and a nation of fans ready for mutiny. Cassel tosses out his second INT – this one to Reynaldo Hall, and the Broncos will take it at the KC 42.
(Cut and Paste) Broncos continue the massacre – Matt Prater on the 38-yarder caps off a six play, 22-yard drive and opens up a 27-6 lead with just over 6:00 left in the third.
Not that I'm looking ahead to Indy – but I'm looking ahead to Indy.
Chiefs drive stalls – Broncos drive stalls and Berger boots a big one – KC will take it at their own 23. Jamaal Charles around right end – FUMBLE – Andre Goodman with the pick up runs untouched into the end zone – Broncos pull out a 34-6 lead and continue the onslaught.
KC finally catches a break – Denver gets trapped deep in their own territory and Orton gets it stripped for the second time today – Chiefs recover at the Broncos 3 as the quarter comes to a close…
With nothing to lose Cassel gets benched in favor of Brodie Croyle – on the ground to Charles and he's in for the score – life continues in KC and they cut the gap 34-13 with a big chunk of time left in the fourth.
Royal's banged up off the last punt and Buckhalter is called in to take this one – Denver starts the drive at their own 20. On the ground to Moreno for four is followed up by an incompletion to Daniel Graham. Third and six and they call Marshall's number on the screen – 49-yards later he's pushed out of bounds by McGraw – another nail in the coffin.
Orton continues to push it – on the ground to Buckhalter comes up short by inches – McDaniels elects to go for it inside the twenty – Moreno around left end walks in untouched for seven. This one's over – 41-13 and the KC faithful head for the exits.
Same old song and dance for the new guy – Croyle rolls three and out and Dustin Colquitt's out for his seventh punt of the afternoon – Royal takes the kick at the 20 and busts out a beautiful 39-yard run. Orton and Co. take it at the KC 41.
Deep left to Scheffler picks up a sweet 21-yards – Buckhalter on the ground goes nowhere and a short screen to Marshall picks up only two – it's back to Prater who splits it from 37 – this one can't end quick enough for me – Broncos on top 44-13 with just under nine remaining.
It's garbage time for Denver's "D" and they're playing it soft – lot of subs on the front line but the secondary starters stay in place. Croyle's got ‘em moving – inside Broncos territory – Bobby Wade can't catch anything – back to back through his hands… Chiefs call time - please don't do this...
Broncos take over on downs at their own 10 with Chris Simms under center. On the ground to Hillis picks up five. Back to Hillis for another four. Brings up third and one – flags fly – movement on the front line take it back five and again they go with Hillis – first down at the 15.
Must be audition time – Hillis hits the trifecta and single-handedly moves the chains. Seven straight carries and here's the two-minute warning. This is fun… Simms takes a knee as the clock winds down and the Broncos grab their eighth win of the season…
What are the odds that Cleveland steps out of the gutter long enough to shake up San Diego?
Pretty sure I need a drink...
Post game quotes and notes to follow
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-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 and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
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