Final

Chiefs 17

(2-11, 1-6 away)

Broncos 24

(8-5, 4-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:05 PM ET, December 7, 2008

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO 

1 2 3 4 T
KC 10 7 0 017
DEN 7 7 3 724

Top Performers

Passing: J. Cutler (DEN) - 286 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: P. Hillis (DEN) - 8 CAR, 58 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Bowe (KC) - 7 REC, 96 YDS

Broncos get it together in 4th, put end to 3-game home skid

Associated Press

DENVER -- A month ago, Tatum Bell was hawking cell phones and wireless plans at a kiosk at the Aurora Mall. Now, he's the latest leader of the Denver Broncos' broken backfield.

Williamson: Tyler Must Stay

Tony Gonzalez is not sure if he will want to return to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. But Sunday, he made one thing abundantly clear, writes Bill Williamson. Blog

• Blog network: NFL Nation

The Broncos finally found a way to win at home Sunday, rallying past Kansas City 24-17, but they lost their sixth tailback when bulldozing rookie Peyton Hillis went down with a strained right hamstring.

Bell came in and helped the Broncos (8-5) snap a three-game losing skid at home by rumbling for 52 yards on 11 carries, including a crucial 28-yard run on Denver's game-winning, 95-yard touchdown drive.

Fast Facts

• Denver racked up 425 yards of total offense, 286 on the arm of Jay Cutler, to take a three-game lead in the AFC West with three games remaining.

• Cutler tossed a pair of touchdowns, both to Brandon Marshall, who caught 11 passes for 91 yards. It was Marshall's second career multi-score game.

• With five catches, Tony Gonzalez extended his reception streak to 128 straight games, second all-time among tight ends behind Ozzie Newsome (150).

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

Cornerback Dre' Bly then stuffed Kansas City quarterback Tyler Thigpen a yard shy of the end zone on fourth-and-goal to seal the Broncos' first win at home since Oct 5 and atone for their lopsided loss to the Chiefs (2-11) in September.

The Broncos put themselves on the cusp of ending a three-year playoff drought. They lead second-place San Diego by three games in the middling AFC West.

But even when they win in this topsy-turvy season, they lose.

Hillis had rejuvenated the Broncos' battered backfield after moving over from fullback last month, and his 18-yard touchdown run, his fifth in four games, jump-started the Broncos' comeback from an early 10-0 deficit.

He went to the sideline, however, after he was sandwiched by two defenders while coming down with a leaping first-down catch in the second quarter.

"I think maybe a contusion, maybe something that slight," said Hillis, who rushed eight times for 58 yards and caught one pass for 11 yards before getting hurt.

His coach, Mike Shanahan, wasn't so optimistic.

"Any time it's a hamstring and they come off the field like he did today, normally it's a month at best," Shanahan said. "It didn't look good. I'm hoping it's not quite as bad as I anticipate, but I was not pleased watching him walk off the field."

Bell said the Broncos' run game was in good hands: his.

"I hope Peyton will bounce back, but I feel good being in there doing what I can," said Bell, who spent his first three NFL seasons in Denver. "I'm excited about the opportunity to probably get some more carries."

Just in case Bell also got hurt, rookie fullback/linebacker Spencer Larsen huddled at halftime with running back Selvin Young to go over the playbook and protections.

Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the Denver Broncos' 24-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jay Cutler said if the Broncos lose another running back, he might have to be the primary ballcarrier himself.

"Might as well at this point. It seems like we have one go down every game," Cutler said. "I don't know the extent of Peyton's injury. But luckily enough we have Tatum. He understands the system, he knows when to cut back."

Center Casey Wiegmann isn't worried about the Broncos being down to their seventh-string running back.

"We just have to play well up front," he said. "As long as all five of us stay healthy, we'll be OK."

Cutler completed 32 of 40 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to Brandon Marshall, including a 6-yarder for the winner early in the fourth quarter when he caught a bubble screen at the line of scrimmage and plowed his way through linebacker Rocky Boiman at the 2.

That score gave Denver its first lead at home in 13 quarters.

Thigpen promptly drove the Chiefs all the way to the Broncos 5, where his draw on fourth-and-goal was snuffed out by cornerback Dre' Bly at the 1.

"I knew the ball had to come out quick," Bly said. "If it didn't, he was going to tuck it and run."

Thigpen said the play was designed to go to tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had five catches for 73 yards.

"Tony was getting mauled and I just decided to take off," Thigpen said. "It was me one-on-one and I came up a yard short."

Cutler's only bad pass all day was returned by rookie nickel back Maurice Leggett for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave Kansas City an early 10-0 lead.

Game notes


Denver also lost WR Brandon Stokley (ankle) and LB Mario Haggan (knee) and Kansas City lost C Rudy Niswanger (knee). ... For the first time since 1995, the Broncos have gone three games without allowing a sack. ... The Chiefs are 0-8 all-time at Invesco Field.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Kansas City
Denver
1st Downs1427
3rd down efficiency
5-129-14
4th down efficiency
1-20-0
Total Yards260425
Yards per play5.16.1
Total Drives12
Passing177286
Comp-Att
17-3232-40
Yards per pass
5.57.2
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-100-0
Rushing83139
Rushing Attempts
1830
Yards per rush
4.64.6
Penalties1-51-5
Turnovers01
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
01
Possession23:2236:38

Passing Leaders

KCC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Thigpen17/321875.8101-10
DENC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler32/402867.2210-0

Rushing Leaders

KCCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson11363.3011
Thigpen6345.7012
DENCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hillis8587.3118
Bell11524.7028

Receiving Leaders

KCRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bowe79613.7034
Gonzalez57314.6124
DENRECYDSAVGTDLG
Marshall11918.3221
Scheffler56112.2020

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERKCDEN
FG07:30Connor Barth 26 Yd 30
TD05:53Maurice Leggett 27 Yd Interception Return (Connor Barth Kick) 100
TD00:26Peyton Hillis 18 Yd Run (Matt Prater Kick) 107
SECOND QUARTERKCDEN
TD08:02Tony Gonzalez 13 Yd Pass From Tyler Thigpen (Connor Barth Kick) 177
TD01:05Brandon Marshall 12 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 1714
THIRD QUARTERKCDEN
FG08:17Matt Prater 33 Yd 1717
FOURTH QUARTERKCDEN
TD10:10Brandon Marshall 6 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Matt Prater Kick) 1724