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Broncos Run Past Chiefs, 17-10

Posted Nov 13, 2011

On the strength of 244 rushing yards, the Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 at Arrowhead Stadium.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was unusual. Unorthodox, even. But more importantly, it was a win.

On Sunday, the Broncos completed just two passes while rushing for 244 yards in a 17-7 win against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Denver ran the ball 55 times and threw it just eight times. Tim Tebow's first completion came with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“A lot of it – it is a little cliché – but you take what the defense gives you," Head Coach John Fox said. "We were having success with the run. It’s a lower-risk offense. This is not an indictment on Tim Tebow or whoever our quarterback has been or is. It’s just what’s working for us, and if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

For the second consecutive week the Broncos gained more than 200 yards on the ground, and for just the ninth time in team history, the club had already eclipsed the century mark by the end of the first quarter.

With the run garnering so much success, the receivers didn't mind spending most of the afternoon blocking.

"I believe running the ball wins championships," said Eric Decker, who led the team in receiving -- with one catch for 56 yards. "Passing the ball is fun in my position and it's fun to watch, probably. It doesn't matter how we get it done every week. It may be different. Like I said, a win in a division game is big no matter what."

The Broncos set the tone from the start of the game. After the defense forced the first of seven punts on the afternoon, the offense took over at its own 43-yard line.

Six runs later, Denver had a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. The next run lost a yard and saw Willis McGahee leave the game with a hamstring injury, but Tebow followed it up with a 7-yard scamper into the end zone for the first points of the day.

On Denver's very next drive, Knowshon Moreno left the game with a knee sprain, but Lance Ball stepped in and grinded out 96 yards on 30 carries.

"Give the offensive line so much credit," Ball said. "It doesn't matter who's in there touching the ball, they create those holes, they create that push and that's really what establishes the front. They did a good job."

Fox said after the game that McGahee could've re-entered the game on an emergency basis, but never needed to.

The Broncos employed the run-first strategy all afternoon, as six players took their turn carrying the ball, including wide receiver Eddie Royal and fullback Spencer Larsen.

A drive consisting of seven straight runs put the Broncos in field goal range in the second quarter, and Matt Prater knocked home a 38-yarder to give Denver a 10-0 lead.

But the Chiefs found an answer in the third quarter, as quarterback Matt Cassel used a convincing fake handoff to buy time and find a wide open La'Ron McClain in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown.

The Denver offense was forced to punt on its next two drives, the first of which was a three-and-out, and Kansas City had a chance to at least grab a share of the lead.

But the defense wouldn't budge.

On the day, Cassel was limited to just 94 yards passing and was sacked four times -- 1.5 of which were credited to Von Miller.

“We just had the same mentality that we have every week," Miller said. "If we get up and make them pass, me and Elvis (Dumervil), our mindset is that we have to get there. This is our role on the team, to supply a pass rush for us. I think we got that done today.”

After Kansas City failed to capitalize, the Broncos offense got back to work. And while the running game fueled the Broncos all afternoon, it was the pass that effectively put the game away.

In the second quarter, Tebow narrowly missed connecting with Decker on two deep, play-action passes for potential scores. In the fourth quarter, it was a different story.

Facing a third-and-10 at his own 44-yard line after a delay-of-game penalty, Tebow dropped back, faked a handoff and fired deep down the right sideline to Decker, who hauled in what he called "a perfect ball" in stride and ran into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown strike to put the score at 17-7.

“I just have to make a few better throws on the two early ones," Tebow said after the game. "I was grateful that we were able to get that last look. That was a big play for us. We’ll continue to get better, but overall we’re excited because we got a win. We just have to continue to find ways to do that.”

After a hit forced Cassel out of the game late in the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Tyler Palko led a field-goal drive for the final score of the afternoon. The Chiefs attempted an onside kick, but Mario Haggan recovered for the Broncos, and Tebow took a knee to seal the win.

Now the Broncos, who some wrote off at 1-4, have won three of their last four games, including back-to-back road, AFC West matchups. At 4-5 and a game out of the division lead, Champ Bailey said the team is "believing." Tebow agreed.

“That’s why you play the game," Tebow said. "We have a very resilient team and resilient coaches and a team with a lot of character. I think that’s all you can ask for, a team that goes out there and cares about each other, cares about what they do and is going to lay everything out on the field.”