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Is This the End of the Broncos’ Bloodletting?

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Sitting at 2-6 in the basement of the AFC West heading into the weekend, it’s fair to say the Denver Broncos had been reeling. Coming off perhaps the worst regular season loss in team history to the Oakland Raiders, then a disappointing showing across the pond in London against the San Francisco 49ers, the Broncos desperately needed a win like yesterday’s: a 49-29 rout of the upstart Kansas City Chiefs. For maybe the first time this season, the Broncos combined defense (three sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown) and a balanced offense—which finally included both a running game (153 yards) and solid passing (299 yards)—to edge out the Chiefs (box score via NFL.com).

This is the team fans were expecting to see all year, with Kyle Orton playing exceptionally well and first-round draft pick Tim Tebow running for a touchdown on the ground and getting his first through-the-air professional one on a short pass to fullback Spencer Larsen. “We owed this to [the fans],” linebacker Mario Haggan told The Associated Press after his career-high, three-sack day. One of the keys to the win, says Orton, was the offensive line, which is finally starting to recover its health.

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The Broncos, now 3-6, still sit at the bottom of the AFC West, but they trail first-place Oakland by just two games. With four of the remaining seven games against division foes, the Broncos technically still have a chance to win the division and move onto the playoffs.

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