Broncos crush the Chiefs |

Broncos crush the Chiefs

Arnie Stapleton
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard, left, chases after Denver Broncos running back Selvin Young (35) as he carries the ball for a long gain in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Denver on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER ” The Denver Broncos were great. It probably was too late.

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.

Jay Cutler threw a career-best four touchdown passes, 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 as the Broncos overwhelmed the Chiefs (4-9).

It probably won’t matter, however. The Broncos (6-7) remain two games behind San Diego in the AFC West with three to go following the Chargers’ come-from-behind win in Tennessee.

The Broncos ignited their biggest blowout in seven seasons with two quick touchdowns by players with plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Brandon Stokley, who signed a three-year contract extension Friday, hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes in. Then 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.

Cutler completed 20 of 27 passes for 244 yards, no interceptions and a passer rating of 141.0.

The Chiefs went three-and-out eight times and had three turnovers in losing for the sixth straight time.

On their only sustained drive, the Chiefs converted on fourth down three times before Tony Gonzalez caught Brodie Croyle’s pass in the left flat, turned upfield and sprinted 15 yards to 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 Brandon Marshall’s two touchdown grabs. He commemorated his 8-yard score by scooping three handfuls of snow into the air ” which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for excessive celebration.

His second TD, a 13-yard catch in the third quarter, pushed him over 1,000 yards for the season and made it 41-7. The 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.

Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 115 yards, was slow getting up after landing awkwardly following a catch with 6 minutes left.

Jason Elam kicked two mid-range field goals, the first of which gave Denver a 24-7 halftime lead.

Young became the sixth undrafted rookie in league history to top 500 yards rushing. Broncos fullback Mike Bell also accomplished the feat last year before losing his tailback job to Young.

The Broncos were without receiver Javon Walker, who missed his eighth game with a bad right knee, and Kansas City was without running back Larry Johnson (foot) for the fifth straight week. He was replaced by Kolby Smith, who had to share snaps with fellow rookie Gilbert Harris after spraining an ankle in the first half.

Gonzalez sprained an ankle early in the second half but stayed in.

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