2:06 P.M. MST: The sunshine is brilliant; the air frigid. Time for some football.
2:07 P.M. MST: Brandon Marshall sprints onto the field with a somersault … it’s not quite Marcus Thomas-like, but it’s not bad, either. Speaking of Harris, today represents his regular-season NFL debut.
2:13 P.M. MST: Broncos win the coin toss and will receive.
2:15 P.M. MST: Off we go. Andre Hall is deep to receive and returns to the football to the Denver 23.
2:17 P.M. MST: Second play … Selvin Young scoots around left end … Outstanding blocks by Chris Kuper, Cecil Sapp and Brandon Stokley … 50 yards later, the Broncos are at the Kansas City 21.
2:16 P.M. MST: Selvin Young starts at tailback and darts six yards on the game’s first play, running to the left side.
2:18 P.M. MST: That’s how you celebrate a contract extension … Brandon Stokley leaps in the right side of the end zone to grab Jay Cutler’s pass in front of Ty Law … Stokley got Law to bite as he stuttered and faked a curl before sprinting forward into the end zone … Four plays, 77 yards and the Broncos lead 7-0 before many people have settled into their seats … 13:20 left in the quarter.
2:21 P.M. MST: The good fortune nearly continued for the Broncos as Louis Green forced a Benny Sapp fumble on the kickoff … Kansas City recovered.
2:21 P.M. MST: Marcus Thomas in the Broncos’ defensive starting XI … Nothing unexpected in the opening defense.
2:24 P.M. MST: Outstanding penetration by Alvin McKinley to snuff out a Kolby Smith carry on third-and-1 … Thomas was also right there to make the play if McKinley could not have finished the tackle … After the 53-yard Dustin Colquitt punt, the Broncos will start at their 16 with 11:04 left in the quarter … nice job by Glenn Martinez to maintain his balance and not fall out of bounds on the 6-yard return.
2:25 P.M. MST: Brandon Marshall lobbies for a pass-interference penalty on Patrick Surtain, and appeared to have a good point, since the Chiefs defender had his right arm wrapped around Marshall’s midsection … no call.
2:25 P.M. MST: After Travis Henry saw some momentary work on the last series after Young’s 50-yard carry, the rookie from Texas is back in on this series.
2:26 P.M. MST: Daniel Graham talked this week about hoping to get the football more … There’s some evidence in his favor … Came back for Cutler’s pass and turned it into a 28-yard gain … Broncos near midfield … and they cross it on an 17-yard Young run on the following snap.
2:27 P.M. MST: Travis Henry with his first carry of the day, for six yards … Broncos at the KC 28 … Next play out of the shotgun, second-and-4 … Cutler finds Marshall, who hangs on to this one — with no defender hanging on him — and made a spin move and a stutter move to work past Ty Law and Jarrad Page, among others … Broncos in first-and-goal at the KC 6.
2:29 P.M. MST: Denver already has 158 yards … now 159 after Henry lunges over the goal line for a 1-yard score that is his third touchdown in the last two weeks.
2:31 P.M. MST: KC will start at its 29 after Benny Sapp’s kickoff return.
2:33 P.M. MST: In spite of the arctic conditions, the crowd today appears to be outstanding … of course, it has had much about which it can cheer so far, but the vast majority of the fans are present and accounted for.
2:34 P.M. MST: KC going backwards … second 5-yard penalty on them this series … third-and-16, and the Chiefs pick up 14 … nice, but not enough.
2:35 P.M. MST: San Diego wins in overtime … but bear in mind, folks, that they key game that the Broncos need the Chargers to lose — assuming Denver can win out — is against the Raiders in Week 17, so the Broncos can reclaim a division-record tiebreaker if the teams are deadlocked at 9-7. The Chargers’ win today really doesn’t hurt the Broncos all that much. If the Chargers had lost today and finished 9-7, and the Broncos had finished 9-7, San Diego would have won the tiebreaker anyhow since that San Diego 9-7 finish would have included a win over Oakland. The Broncos really are in no worse shape than they were when the day started.
2:38 P.M. MST: Broncos go three-and-out for the first time today … Eddie Kennison is announced as the punt returner, and the Denver fans, appropriately, boo. That’s the kind of vitriol that warms a man on a cold, lonely winter’s night.
2:41 P.M. MST: Josh Mallard, playing some defensive end, tips a pass at the line of scrimmage … Chiefs in third-and-7 … Brodie Croyle in the shotgun … and Kris Wilson can’t hang on to the pass. Punt time — again — for the Kansas Citians.
2:46 P.M. MST: Brandon Marshall, on the Broncos’ second play of their next series, gets tossed for a loss of six yards after looking to throw on a reverse … No one was open downfield … Broncos then go three-and-out after gaining nine yards on a third-and-16 one play later. Chiefs will begin the next series at their 37 as the first quarter ends.