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11-29-2005, 06:36 AM
Broncos up to date?
Visits to Kansas City in December haven't resulted in good time

By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
November 29, 2005

ENGLEWOOD - They are the little-joy, hard-luck club.

Because when it comes to the almost regular convergence of a Broncos trip to Kansas City, Mo., and a calendar page with December across the top, they are the threesome who have played through it.

Of all the Broncos on the current 53-player roster, only kicker Jason Elam, center Tom Nalen and linebacker Keith Burns have been in a Denver uniform for a Broncos victory at Arrowhead Stadium in December.

"Really?" Elam said. "That's it? Believe me, this team isn't thinking about that. But I had no idea. None."

That's probably a good thing. After all, the Broncos players head to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday knowing that the Dec. 4, 1994, victory is the only December win in Kansas City in Broncos history.

That works out to a 1-14 record, 0-4 in Mike Shanahan's tenure as coach, with the only bit of good Broncos karma being this year's game is the only other time the teams will have played on Dec. 4.

"Here and K.C. may be the two toughest places for a visiting team to play," Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "Here because of the altitude, Kansas City because it's such an unruly place. And they play a lot better at home, more so than any other team I've played against. It's hard to beat them at their place. When they go on the road, they lose some of their edge, but they come out of that tunnel, it's the real deal."

Toss in this year's heated division race, and it is a heady corktail for a Broncos team that, at 9-2, leads the AFC West against the Chiefs (7-4) and San Diego Chargers (7-4) with Denver facing trips to both.

Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil stirred the soup last week by publicly emphasizing the Chiefs' stretch of games during the last six weeks of the season. It includes games against six teams that have winning records, including the Chiefs' victory Sunday against the Patriots.

Five of those teams - New England, Denver, Dallas, New York Giants and Cincinnati - also are at least tied for first place in their respective divisions.

"The pressure is on us," Vermeil said. "With our kind of players that we have here, pressure for us is an advantage because I think it brings the best out of us. You can use it as an excuse and all that kind of stuff, but our guys have bought in that we're going to take the pressure that we're under and use it to motivate us to work harder, play harder and prepare harder. . . .

"This is our playoff run."

Last year's trip, a 45-17 Broncos loss on Dec. 19, certainly was a painful one. They lost the remaining sliver of hope for a home playoff game as Larry Johnson, now Kansas City's starting running back because of Priest Holmes being injured, rushed for 151 yards and the Chiefs defense sacked Jake Plummer six times.

It put the Broncos on the fast track for another wild-card trip to Indianapolis.

"I had never seen the Kansas City defense play the way they played that day," Pryce said. "It doesn't get much worse than that."

It was Elam who kicked the winner in overtime in 1994, Wade Phillips' last year as coach. Anthony Miller finished with 156 receiving yards and one touchdown for the Broncos.

The Chiefs' Steve Bono threw for 323 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown to Willie Davis.

The Broncos had lost John Elway because of a left knee injury in the second half, and Hugh Millen finished behind center, completing 5 of 13 passes for 37 yards.

Millen played in two of the Broncos' final three games after the victory at Arrowhead Stadium, but Denver lost all three and Phillips was fired, Shanahan hired, the rest being history.

"I guess that feels like a while ago, but they've always had good teams it seems like. It's a tough to place to play," Elam said. "And they always play better at home."

"I don't think it's the fans as much as the players," Pryce said. "They just feel more comfortable on their own grass with all that red around them. I don't know how to explain it, but they are tough to beat at Arrowhead."

Kansas City blues

The Broncos are 1-14 in Kansas City in December games:

Date Result

Dec. 19, 2004 Chiefs 45-17

Dec. 16, 2001 Chiefs 26-23, OT

Dec. 17, 2000 Chiefs 20-7

Dec. 17, 1995 Chiefs 20-17

Dec. 4, 1994 Broncos 20-17, OT

Dec. 27, 1992 Chiefs 42-20

Dec. 9, 1990 Chiefs 31-20

Dec. 7, 1986 Chiefs 37-10

Dec. 2, 1984 Chiefs 16-13

Dec. 18, 1983 Chiefs 48-17

Dec. 7, 1980 Chiefs 31-14

Dec. 3, 1972 Chiefs 24-21

Dec. 6, 1970 Chiefs 16-0

Dec. 19, 1965 Chiefs 45-35

Dec. 8, 1963 Chiefs 52-21

11-29-2005, 07:30 AM
Chiefs haven't lost in December to anyone at Arrowhead since 1996.

Denver hasn't won the second game of the head to head match up with the Chiefs at Arrowhead since 1994.

Shanahan is 2-8 at Arrowhead.

Doesn't look good stat wise for the Donks. But thats why they play the game, right?