Denver wins a thriller as another RB steps up

In a day filled with drama it seemed everywhere, Sunday’s most exciting finish may have occurred in Denver.  As the Titans, Cardinals, and Giants all celebrated division championships, the Broncos inched closer to winning the AFC West with a tough 24-17 home victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.  In keeping with the Broncos continuing to fight on with players from all over the depth chart, former jettisoned Broncos 1,000-yard rusher Tatum Bell returned to prominence after rookie sensation Peyton Hillis was injured with hamstring problems — eight rushes for 58 yards and caught one pass for 11 yards before getting hurt.

Bell became the Broncos sixth featured tailback this season and he was ready rumbling for 52 yards on 11 carries, including a crucial 28-yard run on Denver’s game-winning, 95-yard touchdown drive.  The win snapped the Broncos (8-5) three game home losing streak and with one win in their final three games  [@CAR, BUF, @SDO], Mike Shanahan’s team will win the NFC West plus host a playoff game (have not been in the playoffs since 2005).  Sunday’s thriller was not decided until diminutive cornerback Dre’ Bly — not known as a hitter — stuffed Kansas City quarterback Tyler Thigpen a yard shy of the end zone on fourth-and-goal.

You can tell the Broncos have a sense that the playoffs are near as their center Casey Wiegmann said of the team’s revolving door at running back, “We just have to play well up front, as long as all five of us stay healthy, we’ll be OK.”  The other star of the game was potential Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, who completed 32 of 40 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to Brandon Marshall, including a 6-yarder for game-winner in the fourth quarter.

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