Despite his many critics, Tim Tebow has helped the Denver
Broncos turn things around and remain in the hunt in the weak AFC
The Kansas City Chiefs hope their latest defeat is not the start
of a descent from division contention.
While the Broncos look to build on their latest victory, the
Chiefs hope to rebound from an embarrassing loss when the division
rivals meet Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Denver (3-5) had lost four of five when coach John Fox replaced
Kyle Orton with Tebow for the Broncos’ Oct. 23 game at Miami. With
Tebow’s unconventional style of quarterback play seemingly better
suited for the college game, Fox’s move drew jeers from some fans,
media and even players throughout the NFL.
What nobody can argue with, however, is that the Broncos have
won two of three with Tebow as the starter and remain very much in
contention in the league’s only division in which no team entered
Week 10 with a winning record.
“It’s crazy because if we were in the AFC North, none of this
would be going on and we wouldn’t be having a discussion about
being one game out,” running back Willis McGahee said. “The thing
about it is, we’re in the AFC West, and the tables can turn either
Now one game behind Kansas City (4-4) as well as San Diego and
Oakland for the division lead, Denver tightened the race last
Sunday by scoring the final 24 points in a 38-24 win at the
Running a similar read-option offense to what he thrived in at
the University of Florida, Tebow passed for 124 yards and ran for
118 to became the first AFC quarterback to record at least 100
passing and rushing yards in a game since Pittsburgh’s Kordell
Stewart in 1998. He also was sacked only twice after going down 13
times in his first two starts – an 18-15 comeback win over the
Dolphins and a 45-10 mauling by Detroit.
“He’s very competitive by nature,” Fox said. “You see evidence
of that. Now it’s just learning how to be an NFL quarterback. In my
opinion he’s gotten better each time out.”
McGahee also continues to play well after accounting for 163 of
Denver’s 299 rushing yards last week – its most since gaining 301
against Seattle on Nov. 26, 2000.
After watching his workload diminish the last three seasons as
Ray Rice’s backup in Baltimore, McGahee – despite recently
undergoing surgery on a broken hand – is on pace to gain 1,246
yards, which would be one yard shy of his career high set in
“He’s someone that comes in every day and works extremely hard.
He’s such a competitor in the games, and it’s huge having him on
our team,” Tebow said.
The Broncos likely will need strong production from both Tebow
and McGahee this Sunday. The Chiefs have been victorious in 12 of
the last 16 matchups with Denver at Arrowhead, including a 10-6 win
“We just need to keep it going, stay focused and come out and
get a win against Kansas City,” said Broncos receiver Eddie Royal,
who caught a TD pass and returned a punt for a score last week.
“We’ll see where we’re at after that.”
The Chiefs had their four-game winning streak snapped last
Sunday with a humbling 31-3 loss at home to previously winless
“You go out there and play your game, and sometimes that
happens,” quarterback Matt Cassel said.
Kansas City had averaged 25.3 points during its winning streak
and gained a respectable 341 total yards against the Dolphins, but
committed eight penalties, went 0 for 2 in the red zone and could
not prevent Cassel from getting sacked five times.
“We’ve been through this type of loss before. We’ll bounce
back,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “You’ve got to have a
short-term memory in this game. But things like this – gosh – you
have to somehow forget it.”
Cassel has thrown for 1,141 yards with eight TDs and three
interceptions while going 3-2 against the Broncos. He was 33 of 53
with four TDs in Kansas City’s 49-29 loss at Denver on Nov. 14.
Dwayne Bowe caught 13 of those passes for 186 yards and two
touchdowns in that contest, but was held without a reception in the
Chiefs’ home win over the Broncos last Dec. 5.
Tebow threw a TD and ran for a score during limited action in
Denver’s 2010 home victory over Kansas City.