Schon: Game Notes Broncos - Chiefs

The Denver Broncos playoff hopes and season comes to an end with a 44-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

No Eddie Royal, no Brandon Marshall, no LaMont Jordan, no Tony Scheffler… what a way to end the season. At least the weather isn't bad….

Kickoff is set – the snow is just starting to fall and I'm ready to shake it up - Welcome to 2010…

Be sure to refresh for all the latest madness

1st Quarter
I'll be honest – even walking in here you could sense that level of "this game's gonna blow". That feeling gained further ground on the Broncos opening drive – Orton to Brandon Lloyd for a nine-yard pick up followed by back to back rushes that couldn't muster one-yard. So much for the short game - here comes Berger…

KC, which has absolutely nothing to play for, didn't have to worry about the short game – Matt Cassel's first pass picked up a sweet 50-yards. His second pass added 29-yards and suddenly they were inside the seven. Two plays later Denver's defense got an early exit when the Chiefs lit it up and took an early 7-0 lead…

Not quite what the 70,000+ here at Invesco were hoping to start the year off with…

The Broncos second and third drives didn't fare much better but they did manage to cross midfield – all the way down to the Chiefs 49-yard line – evidently the booing begins early in 2010…

Cassel's back out and it's a footrace to the end zone – KC RB Jamaal Charles just danced his way for a 52-yard pick up… the crowd is begging for mercy – KC obliges… out of the shotgun Tim Castille ends up with it attempting a pass back to Cassel – it's Andre Goodman with the pick – Broncos ball deep in their own territory.

With the quarter winding down McD opens the playbook – Moreno breaks a nice one and before you know it – it looks like something's starting to happen. Orton to Gaffney moves it to the KC 43 – quick toss to Moreno tacks on 20 and we may have the makings of a football game here – first comes to a close with Denver trailing 7-0

2nd Quarter
Ok – it's not all doom and gloom. Orton's attempt for Gaffney draws the flag and it's Broncos ball at the one… Moreno on the ground – no gain. Toss to Daniel Graham falls incomplete and against everyone's better advise they go back to Moreno on the ground – there is a god – Moreno breaks the plane by at least six inches – Denver ties it up with 14:00 left in the half… majority of the crowd seems to be awake at this stage.

KC, being who they are, begin to look like KC and the drive stalls out just short of midfield – Denver will take it at their own 15.

Orton opens it up – connects with Gaffney for a quick 29-yards. Where were these kind of passes two weeks ago against the Raiders? Don't answer that – it really doesn't matter – Broncos drive stalls moments later with Orton scrambling for his life and then heaving it 10-yards out of bounds – Berger for the punt and KC gets another shot from their own 20.

Gotta hand it to the Chiefs – they're rolling with what's working – Jamaal Charles on the ground breaks it for 33-yards and Broncos safety Renaldo Hill feels like giving them another 15 when gets tagged for a facemask – OUCH – KC's inside the twenty – then inside the ten and before you know it they're two-yards away from another seven…

Credit the Broncos "D" – or maybe it was just the KC "O" – either way Denver limits it to three and the Chiefs hold a 10-7 advantage with just over five minutes remaining before the next beer break.

Orton looks hungry – straight down the middle to Gafney who brings it down with one hand – good for 26-yards. Moreno for his usual one – incomplete to Lloyd and looking at third and nine from the 46 Orton connects with Gaffney (is there anyone else?) for 18. Momentum is beginning to build ok, that may be an overstatement – but there is a possibility they can walk away at the half with at least a tie… Great call – Prater splits it from 25 and the Broncos (who are still praying for the Wild Card) are locked with an AFC rival that's managed three wins the entire season.

Maybe not the best way to look at it… I'll try and be more positive in the second half.

3rd Quarter
Positive – positive – positive… I'm positive the Broncos need to learn to tackle and this late into the season really isn't the time to find that out. KC's opening drive is littered with crappy tackling and stupid penalties. Ten plays, 79-yards and the Chiefs have scored touchdowns on the first possession of each half.

Ok – right back at ya… Broncos throw out a little muscle against the worst team in the AFC and it's a 4 play, 73-yard drive highlighted by a beautiful back to back passes of 24 and 44-yards – Gaffney and Lloyd respectively. Moreno on the ground from the one and we've got a tie ballgame boys and girls… who would have thought it would take this much effort just to stay tied with KC?

If Denver's going to give it – the Chiefs are going to take it… Cassel unloads back to back for a total 56-yards. Four plays later it's an easy chip shot for Ryan Succop and the Chiefs regain the lead 20-17. This is just wrong…

I think I'm bleeding internally – Orton takes the snap on his own 24 and promptly hits Derrick Johnson, who unfortunately plays for Kansas City… Johnson has no problem avoiding tackles and waltzes in the end zone for KC's second score in milliseconds.

Did I mention how wrong this is?

Just to give you a little perspective on how sick this game really is – KC running back Jaamal Charles has a total of 159-yards on the ground midway through the third quarter – Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, the only two Broncos that have carried the ball today, have a combined 67-yards.

The stats may be a bit skewed but Denver fires back – Ty Law picks off Cassel and returns it to the Chiefs three-yard line – two plays later it Brandon Stokley with the catch and the Broncos trim the lead 27-24 as quarter number three comes to a close.

Still think I'm bleeding internally…

4th Quarter
(Cut and Paste) If Denver's going to give it – the Chiefs are going to take it… Broncos have no idea how to stop the run. Charles racks up another 30-yard carry and in the span of just over two minutes KC marches down for Succop's third field goal of the afternoon and take a 30-24 lead… not insurmountable – unless of course you can't stop the run…

Broncos look to strike back from their own fifteen. After missing out on a strike to Brandon Lloyd Orton surprises everyone, including himself, with a thirteen-yard scramble. Never knew he had it in him. Two plays later he follows up with a 31-yard reconnection to Lloyd and you're starting to think it just might happen. Six points down – plenty of time left – here comes the miracle…

Then it happens – the play that Bronco fans will remember the entire offseason – Out of the shotgun Orton telegraphs it to Gaffney. Everyone in the stadium saw it – including Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson who grabs his second interception and second touchdown of the afternoon…

Collectively the pulse just stopped at Invesco.

The final nail came on KC's next possession. Jaamal Charles (you remember him?) piles up the yardage – 56-yards untouched into the end zone - at this stage he's sitting at 259 for the day – KC goes twenty up on the Broncos 44-24. This is an embarrassment…

It's like one giant fire drill… mass exit for a whole bunch of ticked of people – at least there shouldn't be much traffic when I get out of the locker room…

We've reached the two minute warning and I swear McD's gonna stretch this one out...

Suffice to say I won't be making any travel arrangements for next weekend - That's a positive...

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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