The Denver Broncos still had playoff hopes heading into today’s game, while the Kansas City Chiefs had nothing to play for.
But it was the Chiefs who came out looking inspired and the Broncos who mailed it in, as Kansas City won 44-24 at Invesco Field at Mile High.
The talk in Denver all week was about the absence of receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler, but receiver Jabar Gaffney stepped up in their place with 14 catches for 213 yards. For Denver, the problem in the passing game was less about the absence of Marshall and Scheffler than about Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson picking off two passes and running them both back for touchdowns.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles also scored two touchdowns, and he gained a team record 259 yards on 25 carries. It was the latest reminder that the Chiefs don’t miss Larry Johnson at all.
But as well as Charles and Derrick Johnson played, this game will be remembered mostly as the last chapter in a disappointing 2009 season for Denver. After starting 6-0, the Broncos are now 8-8. And out of the playoffs.