The Broncos – the AFC West Champs. The hard way.
The Tim Tebow led Broncos are indeed the AFC West champs, but it only came as they backed into the postseason Sunday with a lackluster 7-3 loss to former QB Kyle Orton and the Chiefs at home.
Oakland was ousted by the Chargers at home, giving the Broncos the title with an 8-8 mark. “We’re AFC West champs,” said Broncos coach John Fox. “It doesn’t matter how you do it, once you get in the dance they can’t kick you out.”
The Steelers may kick the Broncos out next Sunday. That’s the team the Broncos will start against, and right away the oddsmakers feel the 12-4 defending AFC champs have a huge edge, as they are listed as 7.5 point favorites to beat Denver next Sunday.
The Broncos go into the postseason losing their last three. Sunday they scored just three, and Tebow threw for just 60 yards Sunday, completing 6-of-22 attempts and was intercepted near midfield in the game’s waning seconds, ending any hope of a miracle comeback.
Kyle Orton got a little revenge on his old team, as he threw for 180 yards for the Chiefs (7-9). He beat out Tebow for the starting job in the preseason but struggled to a 1-4 start. Tebow was called upon and delivered, winning four of five starts before Orton was released on November 23.
Kansas City signed Orton the next day, fating his return to Mile High as an foe. Orton’s inking was necessitated by starting quarterback Matt Cassel’s season-ending hand injury, the last of a rash of trials which derailed the defending AFC West champs.
The Broncos, who punted nine times, got on the board in the third. They took over at the Kansas City 20 courtesy of Javier Arenas’ muffed punt, but settled for Matt Prater’s 38-yard field goal after a pair of short Willis McGahee runs and an incomplete pass.
Despite the loss, the Broncos will be making their first postseason appearance since 2005. It could be a short ride though if they don’t start playing much, much better.