Kansas City Chiefs edge Denver Broncos 23-22

DENVER - Reverting to the red pants they wore during their glory years, the Kansas City Chiefs recaptured some of that long-ago magic, too.

Elvis Grbac rallied his team from a 12-point third-quarter deficit with two TD throws, including a 22-yarder to Derrick Alexander with 2:21 left, as the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 23-22 on Sunday.

Grbac's 15-yard scoring toss to tight end Tony Gonzalez midway through the third quarter made it 19-14, and after an exchange of field goals, the Chiefs still trailed 22-17.

Overcoming an almost nonexistent running game, the Chiefs (2-2) went 80 yards in eight plays for the winner. Grbac passed 8 yards to Kevin Lockett on third-and-7, and 13 yards to Gonzalez on third-and-2. Tony Richardson ripped off a 15-yard gain, and Alexander split two defenders, making a leaping catch at the goal line. The Chiefs' 2-point conversion pass failed.

''How 'bout them red pants?'' Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham asked. ''That's something I had in mind from the first day I got the job. I liked the old guys that played here, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Len Dawson.''

Cunningham said owner Lamar Hunt gave the OK to resurrect the pants, thinking they might bring the team luck.

''Now they all want to wear them every day,'' Cunningham said.

Grbac completed 21 of 33 passes for 250 yards. Gonzalez set career highs with 10 catches for 127 yards. The Chiefs had just 49 yards rushing on 27 carries.

''When you win here at Mile High, it's a big win,'' Grbac said. ''It always goes down to the last team that scores.''

On the last drive, Grbac said, ''We just kept making plays when we had to.''

Gus Frerotte, starting for the Broncos with NFL passing leader Brian Griese sidelined by a shoulder injury, was 18-for-31 for 208 yards. Frerotte's fumble on a sack thwarted a Denver scoring drive in the final period, and he was intercepted by linebacker Marvcus Patton with 1:40 remaining.

In all, the Broncos - who came into the game with the best turnover ratio in the league (plus 9) - had three turnovers in the final quarter.

''We had some opportunities, both offensive and defensively, to put them away, and we didn't do it,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. ''We had a couple of costly turnovers there in the second half. You can't do that and expect to win. It's real disheartening.''

Denver cornerback Ray Crockett had two interceptions, returning one 26 yards for a second-quarter touchdown and picking off Grbac in the end zone early in the final period.

Denver's Mike Anderson carried 22 times for 85 yards, falling just shy of becoming the first back in NFL history to rush for 100 yards in his first three starts. Terrell Davis had 41 yards on six carries but didn't carry the ball in the second half after apparently reinjuring his ankle.

In a defense-dominated first half, the Broncos took a 12-7 lead.

The Chiefs took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by Richardson's 1-yard TD run. Grbac was 5-of-6 on the drive, including four passes for 60 yards to Gonzalez.

Kansas City didn't cross midfield again in the half.

Denver went 79 yards on its first series but had to settle for Joe Nedney's 22-yard field goal. Frerotte passed 23 yards to Rod Smith and 15 yards to Dwayne Carswell, both on third down, but the Chiefs held inside the 5.

Davis, with his first carry since spraining his left ankle in the season opener, had a 24-yard gain, helping set up Nedney's 20-yard field goal with 8:53 left in the second quarter.

Five plays later, Crockett stepped in front of Alexander and returned the interception for a score with 6:40 remaining. Denver's 2-point conversion attempt failed.

Moments later, Richardson fumbled and Denver recovered at the Kansas City 40, but the Broncos failed to capitalize as Nedney was short on a 50-yard try.

Denver went ahead 19-7 on the opening drive of the third quarter, marching 77 yards in seven plays. Anderson bolted 16 yards up the middle for the score.

The Chiefs countered with a 74-yard drive of their own, culminating in Grbac's TD throw to Gonzalez.


Kansas City has won three in a row over the Broncos, the second time the Chiefs have done it in the Shanahan era. No other team in the league has done it even once. ... Gonzalez had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. His previous single-game highs were nine catches and 93 yards, in separate games last season. ... Kansas City stopped Denver on all seven of its goal-to-go plays. ... Smith had eight receptions for 134 yards, moving past Mark Jackson into seventh place on the Broncos' career reception list with 282 and past Al Denson into ninth place on the receiving yards list with 4,213. ... Kansas City linebacker Lew Bush bruised his left collarbone, and defensive end Eric Hicks sprained his right knee. ... Except for Davis' uncertain status, Denver reported no significant injuries.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment