KANSAS CITY — Nobody is happier than Denver to see Kansas City’s vaunted Arrowhead Stadium advantage melting away.
With backup Selvin Young rushing for 109 yards and Denver scoring two touchdowns 9 seconds apart, the injury-weakened Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-11 Sunday for their first win in Kansas City since 2002. It’s the third home loss this year for the Chiefs, who came into the season with an NFL-best 104-36 home record since 1990.
“The Chiefs have been so good over the years taking advantage of their home field, with their crowd, and finding a way to win,” said Denver coach Mike Shanahan. “They have the best home record in the National Football League over the last five or six years and it’s nice to come out with a win.”
The Broncos (4-5) might also have helped a new quarterback era get started for Kansas City (4-5).
Whip-armed Brodie Croyle replaced shaken-up, turnover-prone Damon Huard in the third quarter, and the second-year pro could start next week in Indianapolis. Croyle was expected to be the starter this year, but coach Herm Edwards turned to Huard when Croyle played inconsistently in the preseason.
“I haven’t decided anything,” Edwards said. “I’ll think about it Monday and then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do at quarterback on Tuesday.”
In the decisive series in the third quarter, Dre’ Bly intercepted Huard and set up a 20-yard touchdown run by Young, who was subbing for the injured Travis Henry.
On Kansas City’s next play from scrimmage, defensive end Elvis Dumervil crashed into Huard and knocked the ball loose. Linebacker Nate Webster, in the right place at the right time, scooped it up and dashed 17 yards for another touchdown. The Broncos led 20-8 en route to just their sixth win in their last 21 games overall.
Huard was slow getting up and stayed on the bench with an ice pack on his neck while Croyle finished the game, going 17-for-30 for 162 yards, with one interception.
“I did some good things,” said Croyle. “We moved the ball for the most part.”
He declined to speculate whether he now owns the job.
“I try not to read into anything,” he said. “I just go out there and do what I do.”
Dwayne Bowe had nine catches for 105 yards for the Chiefs, who lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2004 and were without Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson. Priest Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 65 yards on 20 carries in his first start in more than two years.
“I feel great,” he said. “I look forward to running that hill tomorrow and doing the things you have to do to build that base and make yourself better.”
Holmes also lost 14 yards on a third-and-2 run from the 5. Clearly, the more effective backup running back in this game was Young, who had his first 100-yard effort and first NFL touchdown.
“I want to be a puzzle piece and try to fit with no space in between,” Young said. “I want to step up and not be a dropoff at all, no falloff in one of the most important positions on the team. I felt I’ve put myself in a position to be able to handle it.”
The home team had won the last nine games between these old rivals, and it seemed that would continue as the Broncos stumbled around in the first quarter, dropping two interceptions and getting six penalties.
Jason Elam, whose game-ending field goals produced Denver’s first three wins, made it 3-0 in the first period with a 44-yarder. Then Dave Rayner, following Derrick Johnson’s interception of Jay Cutler’s pass, kicked a 38-yard field goal for KC.
Pollard blocked Todd Sauerbrun’s punt through the end zone for a safety just a few seconds into the second quarter. Then Elam kicked his 37th career field goal of 50 yards or more when the ball hit the crossbar and tumbled over from exactly 50 yards.
Cutler, whose availability was in question earlier in the week because of a deep bruise on his left leg, was 17-of-29 for 192 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Graham with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter.
“I felt good the whole game,” Cutler said. “The offense put up points when we had to. We’ve got to keep this level of play up. That’s the biggest thing.”