Broncos overwhelm Chiefs 41-7
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos looked like kids playing in the snow, and Brandon Marshall even got flagged for it.
The second-year receiver caught two of Jay Cutler's career-high four touchdown passes as the Broncos manhandled the Kansas City Chiefs 41-7 Sunday, finally playing like the contender they fancied themselves after an offseason spending spree produced a roster that looked like a fantasy owner's dream.
After his first score, Marshall scooped up three handfuls of snow from the piles that had been pushed off the field before kickoff and flung it into the air.
"It was for all my family and friends in Florida," he explained. "They don't get to see snow much. I wanted to show them snow."
Yet, when the icy crystals floated down, they were accompanied by several yellow flags as the officiating crew assessed him a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for "using props" to celebrate his score.
"I love the kid and I love his energy," safety John Lynch said. "But you throw the snow up one time you may get away with it, but three times, I don't know. I question, though, whether, that's a prop. It's natural -- snow comes from the sky."
And according to the NFL, it's supposed to stay on the ground once it has.
"I hope they don't fine me, I can't afford it," Marshall said while donning a diamond-encrusted cross that glittered against his new black fur coat.
"I was surprised they called it a prop," Marshall added. "You've got to have fun sometimes. That's what it's all about. It's like I always said: This is like playing Pop Warner football and drinking Kool-Aid and eating Pop Tarts. That's what you have to do in the NFL."
Have fun. Enjoy the journey. Celebrate success. Rejoice whenever you can.
"You've got to go out and play this game with a passion and have fun," Lynch concurred. "It's obviously easy to do when you're up like that."
The Broncos (6-7) haven't had much to celebrate this season.
Maybe it was the opponent -- the Chiefs (4-9) have lost six straight. Or the pressure being lifted -- the Broncos are two games behind San Diego in the AFC West with three to go.
Cutler completed 20 of 27 passes for 244 yards, no interceptions and a career-best passer rating of 141.0, Selvin Young rushed for a career-high 156 yards on 17 carries and Elvis Dumervil collected three sacks and forced a fumble that led to a touchdown.
"Too little, too late, I don't know," Cutler said. "We'll see what happens. We'll see how it all plays out. We're not looking at the playoffs, we're not looking at what San Diego does."
The Broncos started their biggest blowout in seven seasons with two quick touchdowns.
Brandon Stokley, who signed a three-year contract extension Friday, hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes in and Travis Henry, who learned Tuesday he had successfully challenged a positive drug test that would have resulted in a yearlong ban from the NFL, punched it in from 1 yard out.
"The defense put our offense in a bad way," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "Right now our strength, if we have a strength, is our defense. And you can't give up 14 points early in the first quarter of a football game and expect your offense to come out and start moving the ball. We've struggled all year scoring points."
The Chiefs went three-and-out eight times and had three turnovers.
"I'd hate to see rock bottom if this isn't rock bottom," Chiefs captain Jarred Allen said.
On their only sustained drive, the Chiefs converted on fourth down three times before Tony Gonzalez caught Brodie Croyle's 15-yard touchdown pass that cut Denver's lead to 14-7.
Denver, which outgained Kansas City 453 yards to 129, including a 215-16 edge rushing, responded with the first of Marshall's two touchdown grabs, an 8-yard score he commemorated with the scoops of snow.
His second TD was a 13-yard catch in the third quarter that made it 41-7. This time, the snow and the flags stayed put.
"I ran over there like I was going to pick it up but then jumped in the stands," said Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 115 yards. "I came out today saying I was going to have fun -- run around and have fun, no matter the outcome."
His second score was set up by Dumervil's sack and strip of Croyle, whose fumble was recovered by Denver's Tim Crowder at the Kansas City 17.
"It's a shame that we couldn't start from Week 1 with this type of explosiveness," Marshall said. "But everybody has their days and everybody has their seasons. So, hopefully we can keep this thing going and sneak into that playoff hunt. If not, we'll just take our momentum into the next season."
Notes: Young became the sixth undrafted rookie in league history to top 500 yards rushing. ... The Broncos were without WR Javon Walker, who missed his eighth game with a bad right knee, and Kansas City was without RB Larry Johnson (foot) for the fifth straight week.