DENVER -- On Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Broncos put the finishing touches on a 13-3 season.
The club closed out its regular-season schedule with a 38-3 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, locking the Broncos into the AFC's No. 1 seed for the postseason.
The win also meant a perfect 6-0 record against AFC West opponents, just the second time in franchise history that Denver has accomplished that feat.
"This was a big win today," quarterback
The Broncos left no doubt from the start of the game. The defense forced a Chiefs three-and-out on the opening drive and the offense answered with an eight-play drive capped by a 3-yard
The Chiefs were within one possession for most of the second quarter, but cornerback
"I'm very confident in what we do," Bailey said. "I never had any doubt that we could win the game. We just didn't want the ball bouncing their way any. The way you do that is keep playing well and protect that football."
By the start of the fourth quarter, Denver had a 35-3 lead and Manning had completed 23 of his 29 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
Decker had a claim for the catch of the game -- a one-handed snag down the sideline for a touchdown -- until Thomas snatched the title, and football, out of the air.
With a 21-3 lead, Denver faced a third-and-7 at the Kansas City 13-yard line. Manning, under pressure, threw a ball that originally looked like it might have gone three rows into the crowd.
As it turned out, it was what Manning referred to last week as a "Dwight Clark throw -- our ball or nobody's ball." Thomas leaped and snared it with his right hand and brought it down in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
"That was probably the limit right there," Manning said of how high he can throw a pass for Thomas. "I've seen in practice now -- he can jump. He can really elevate. It's hard to really throw it over his head, I'll say that."
Rookie signal caller
Meanwhile, the defense held Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles -- who rushed for 226 yards last week and topped 100 yards against the Broncos in Week 12 -- to just 53 yards on the ground.
“They kind of ran the ball on us the last time we played them, so we had a little chip on our shoulder coming into this game," said defensive end
For 17 weeks, the Broncos maintained their one-game-at-a-time mentality, giving each opponent equal focus without looking ahead.
Now, the regular season is over. The Broncos are free to talk about what they've accomplished and what's to come in the postseason.
But as far as defensive end
“We get the No. 1 seed, but we haven’t accomplished much yet," Dumervil said. "It’s just giving us the opportunity to get that first-week bye. But we still have to take care of business. We’re excited, we’re going to take advantage of this week off, but we have a lot of work to get done.”