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Recap: 38-3 Win Clinches AFC's Top Seed

Posted Dec 30, 2012

The Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-3 Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

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 Peyton Manning said. "We swept the division for the first time … since 1998. That's a neat thing for this particular team to be able to do."

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 Knowshon Moreno touchdown run.

The Chiefs were within one possession for most of the second quarter, but cornerback Champ Bailey said he wasn't concerned that the Broncos were letting Kansas City "hang around" too long.

"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.

His 144.8 quarterback rating was helped by two one-handed touchdowns by wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, who combined for 14 catches, 198 yards and three scores.

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."

After a 1-yard Lance Ball touchdown run on the team's ensuing drive, Manning's work was done after leading the team to a 35-3 lead.

Rookie signal caller Brock Osweiler handled duties under center for the remaining 14:19 of the win, completing his first two NFL passes while leading Denver to a 42-yard Matt Prater field goal for the club's final points of the game.

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 Derek Wolfe, who notched his sixth sack of the season. "It wasn’t just like playing any game. They ran on us last time, so we had to stop them this time. We did. We did a really good job. I’m proud of it.”

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 Elvis Dumervil is concerned, the work is only getting started.

“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.”