Denver's first victory in more than a month also allowed the Broncos to record their first divisional win at home in five tries under second-year coach Josh McDaniels. The Broncos came in 0-4 against AFC West rivals at Invesco Field at Mile High under McDaniels. And the previous beating was the worst, 59-14, to the Raiders on Oct. 24, when the Broncos were literally booed off the field.
The Broncos (3-6) reversed their fortunes by finally getting off to a quick start. Kyle Orton threw three of his career-high four touchdown passes in the first quarter and rookie Tim Tebow ran for a score and passed for another in a scoring display second only in Broncos history to a 50-34 win against San Diego on Oct. 6, 1963.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, dropped into a first-place tie with the Oakland Raiders, who had a bye on Sunday. Both clubs are 5-4. Since starting the season at 3-0, the Chiefs have lost four of six.
Some observations on the game:
• A challenge by McDaniels was upheld on replay review when it was shown that Broncos' receiver Brandon Lloyd managed to get both feet in bounds in the end zone to complete a 15-yard TD reception. It was Orton's fourth scoring pass of the game and lifted the Broncos' lead to 49-17 with 11:47 remaining.
• Dwayne Bowe tied a Chiefs record with his fifth consecutive game with at least one TD catch on a 15-yard pass from Matt Cassel. Chris Buford in 1962 and Otis Taylor in 1966 also had touchdown catches in five straight games.
• Tim Tebow threw his first NFL pass and it went for a touchdown. It was his second play in the game in relief of Kyle Orton and the second time he accounted for a TD. The Broncos rookie quarterback hit fullback Spencer Larsen with a 3-yard touchdown pass with 9:24 left in the third quarter, giving the Broncos a 42-10 lead over the Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier in the game, Tebow ran for a 1-yard touchdown out of a similar shotgun-style formation.
• The Broncos opted to try a 58-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the second quarter. Matt Prater came up a little short on the field goal try and Chiefs safety Eric Berry fielded it 9 yards deep in the end zone, returning it 87 yards to the Broncos' 22-yard line with 1 second left. Ryan Succop came on to kick a 40-yard field goal for the Chiefs on the final play of the first half, pulling Kansas City to within 35-10.
• The Chiefs came into the game ranked second in the league with a 58-point differential in turnover-related points (scoring 58 off turnovers and not allowing any). Well, they finally surrendered some points off turnovers. Denver linebacker Mario Haggan sacked Matt Cassel for the third time on the day, forcing a fumble that fellow linebacker Jason Hunter scooped up and returned 75 yards for a touchdown. The three sacks by Haggan marked the 17th time in Broncos history that a player had three or more sacks in a game. He also matched his career total, registered over 97 previous games.
• Everything seemed to be going the Broncos way Sunday. A disputed touchdown catch by Broncos' wide receiver Jabar Gaffney with 1:19 remaining in the first quarter was allowed to stand after the Chiefs' replay challenge was nullified because, officials said, the replay system was inoperable on the play. Gaffney made a diving catch and the ball appeared to come loose a little bit as he hit the ground, though he seemed to get both hands under it before bouncing up and celebrating. The officials on the field signaled touchdown, bringing an immediate challenge from Kansas City coach Todd Haley. Referee Mike Carey announced a couple minutes later that the system didn't work and the ruling on the field would stand. The Chiefs did not lose a timeout, however.
• Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams did not start and sat out Denver's first defensive series as part of team-imposed sanctions following his drunken driving arrest Friday. Wesley Woodyard started in his place and Williams came on early in the first quarter. Williams, who had a previous DUI arrest five years ago, could still face an NFL imposed fine or suspension. He faces his first court hearing in the latest case on Dec. 13.
• The Broncos scored on their opening drive for the first time this season, taking a 7-0 lead on Knowshon Moreno's 17-yard catch with 12:02 left in the first quarter. A slow-starting team throughout the season, the Broncos had been outscored in the first quarter 40-7 in their previous eight games. Moreno's TD was their first score in the opening quarter since Eddie Royal caught a first-quarter touchdown pass in a Week 2 victory over Seattle.
• The Chiefs were without their top two free safeties: Jon McGraw and his backup, Kendrick Lewis, were included in the team's list of inactive players. Both have been struggling with hamstring injuries. The Chiefs also were without dynamic rookie Dexter McCluster, who missed a second game with an ankle injury.
• Broncos running back Laurence Maroney was a healthy scratch for the first time since joining since the Broncos on Sept. 14 in a trade with New England. The Broncos this week promoted running back Lance Ball to the active roster from the practice squad.
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