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Notebook: Broncos Control Postseason Destiny

Posted Dec 24, 2011

The Broncos can clinch the AFC West with a win over K.C. next Sunday; Players put the team's result above personal accomplishments; Tebow keeps things in perspective.


ORCHARD PARK, NY. -- Despite Denver’s 40-14 loss at Buffalo, the Broncos remain very much alive in the postseason race. Denver can clinch the AFC West title with a win next Sunday over Kansas City – or with an Oakland Raiders loss against San Diego.

The Raiders eliminated the Kansas City Chiefs from postseason contention with an overtime victory, but San Diego and Oakland are still alive in the playoff chase. However, both teams have a shot at extending their seasons only if Denver loses to Kansas City.

“It’s the Denver Broncos vs. the Kansas City Chiefs,” quarterback Tim Tebow said of next week’s matchup. “That’s a great rivalry. It’ll be a great game and I’m excited we’ll get the opportunity at home in front of our fans. “

Denver’s veteran players know that the team has battled all year for the right to continue its season into the playoffs.

“We know what’s at stake,” cornerback Champ Bailey said after the game. “We have to make sure we prepare this week and try to get this win. Plain and simple.”

The Broncos beat the Chiefs earlier this season, winning by a score of 17-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Now the two teams will square off again, this time in Denver with a division title on the line for the Broncos.

“They’re a great team,” punter Britton Colquitt said of the Chiefs. “We owe it to our fans to get a home win at the end and take it where we haven’t been in awhile.”

Running back Willis McGahee said he won’t treat next week’s game any differently than he has every other game this season.

“I’m always fired up about a game regardless of who it is,” he said. “This is a game we need and it’s a must-take game. We need to go out there and play lights-out football.”

TEAM RESULT ABOVE INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS

While some Broncos players registered personal achievements against the Bills, those accomplishments were diminished by the end result of the game.

McGahee became the first Bronco to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season since 2006 with a 24-yard run on his second carry of the game. He became just the second player in NFL history to post 1,000-yard seasons with three different teams (Buffalo, Baltimore and Denver). It is McGahee’s first 1,000-yard output since his Pro Bowl season with the Ravens in 2007.

Despite the personal achievement, McGahee said the disappointment in the team’s loss outweighed the pride of his milestone.

“It’s cool and all,” McGahee said of reaching the 1,00-yard mark. “But at the end of the day, we want the ‘W.’”

Tight end Daniel Fells caught his third touchdown of the season, and four of the team’s 13 completed passes were to Fells and fellow tight end Dante Rosario, but like McGahee, Fells was more focused on the result of the game than he was about his touchdown catch.

“I was talking to a couple of the guys earlier,” Fells recounted. “If you get the tight ends involved and we don’t win, I’d rather not get the ball. It’s all about the magic ‘W.’ That’s what we want.”

PUTTING THE GAME INTO PERSPECTIVE

Tebow is well known for his determination and dedication on the football field, but after the game the second-year quarterback talked about how he stays positive after a defeat.

“It’s still frustrating,” Tebow said. “But something my mom taught me a long time ago is give the praise to the Lord, give your disappointments to the Lord and that’s the No. 1 way that I can deal with it.”

Tebow isn’t concerned with his confidence level, thanks to the support group around him and his awareness of the bigger picture.

“My confidence is just fine,” he said. “I have my confidence because I believe in the people around me. I believe in the coaches and I believe in the ability that God has given me and I’ll try to go out there and use it to honor and glorify Him the best I can.”

Prior to the game, Tebow met with an individual who has battled illness or personal adversity, as he has before every Broncos game this season. On Sunday, Tebow hosted Jacob Rainey, who suffered an injury during high school football practice that required one of his legs to be amputated.

Tebow’s W15H program that is run through his Tim Tebow Foundation hosted Rainey and his family in Buffalo, and the quarterback took time to meet with him before and after the game. He said that meeting with individuals such as Jacob, who have gone through serious adversity, helps to put the loss into perspective.

“(We) are so passionate about (games), win or lose, but to be able to hopefully inspire that kid or encourage him or just give him an opportunity to hang out with some of his favorite players – ultimately, what happened to him is a lot worse than a win or a loss or anything on a football field,” Tebow said. “Now he has one leg, and I was just happy I had the opportunity to bring him up here. That’s just something that puts everything into perspective of how we get so flustered and everything with one game. Ultimately it is just one game. I’m just thankful I can try to keep things in perspective of what really matters. That is something that really matters, and I’m just happy I had the opportunity to meet him. “

Tebow’s faith and perspective are reasons why he believes he’ll have no problem bouncing back with a strong outing against Kansas City next Sunday.

“As a player, as a quarterback, as someone who’s dreamed of that my whole life, it will be exciting to have one last game to try to go win and make the playoffs,” Tebow said. “We’ll put our best forward and go try to execute and hopefully win.”

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