Broncos Classic: 1992 Kansas City @ Denver


Both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs came into their 1992 showdown at Mile High Stadium tied for first in the AFC West with identical 3-1 records. Marty Schottenheimer came in with a 1-8 against John Elway up to that point (0-5 at Mile High), and that mark was going to get a lot worse before Elway retired after the 1998 season. The Broncos would eventually finish the season at 8-8, and 1992 would prove to be Dan Reeves’ final season as head coach of the team.

Denver started with the ball first in a game that would be a bit of a defensive struggle until the final minutes. In fact, there were no points scored at all in the first quarter, and the first score of the game didn’t come until early in the 2nd when Kansas City’s Dave Krieg threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Willie Davis. The Broncos would respond with a 41-yard field goal from David Treadwell  with about 5 minutes to go until halftime. Nick Lowery followed that up with a 44-yard field goal at the end of a penalty-aided drive right before the half to send the Chiefs to the locker room with a 10-3 lead.

The 3rd quarter was also a back and forth affair, with the only scores coming from a pair of field goals, one each by Lowery and Treadwell. The quarter would end with the Chiefs leading 13-6.

But this game didn’t get going until the 4th quarter started to wind down, which was a typical occurrence in the friendly confines of Mile High Stadium. The Chiefs had a couple of good drives early in the quarter, but the Denver defense hung tough and they could only manage a Lowery field goal which put them ahead 16-6 with about 6 minutes left to go in the contest.

But on the very next offensive snap for the Broncos, it looked like the Chiefs had finally slammed the door. Neil Smith forced and recovered an Elway fumble and the Chiefs took over on the Denver 16-yardline. The Chiefs sideline and the TV commentators thought it was a slam dunk at that point. The crowd started to head for the exits as it looked like this one was all but lost. But the defense held the Chiefs to a quick 3-and-out, and the short Lowery field goal put the Chiefs up 19-6 with exactly 5 minutes left. Not nearly enough breathing room with John Elway in the building!

That’s when the Broncos’ offense finally sprung to life. Elway took control and started the Broncos on a 14-play drive that went 80 yards and ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mark Jackson.  That brought the Broncos to within 19-13 with 1:55 left and they had all 3 timeouts remaining. The crowd was buzzing with anticipation for another Elway comeback. They went even crazier on the ensuing kickoff as the Chiefs were dropped on their own 5-yardline and had to start in the shadows of the South Stands. The Chiefs offense went very conservative, a Schottenheimer trademark, and they went 3-and-out without even forcing Denver to use all of their timeouts. The crowd was going crazy because they knew they had the Chiefs right where they wanted them.

After an electrifying return on the ensuing punt by Arthur Marshall, Elway took over again on the Chiefs 27-yardline with 1:17 left to go in the game. Elway threw 2 quick completions that got the ball down to the 12. On the next snap, he fired a touchdown pass to Vance Johnson  in the back right corner of the south endzone with 38 seconds remaining. The crowd erupted in another spectacular moment at Mile High Stadium! To top it all off, Treadwell’s extra point bounced off the right upright as it sailed through to give the Broncos the 20-19 lead. On Kansas City’s last gasp drive, Krieg threw a 30-yard laser that got the Chiefs to midfield, and everyone realized that this game wasn’t over just yet. But the drive stalled out on the next set of downs and the Broncos had themselves an improbable 20-19 victory over their arch rival. This game extended the Chiefs losing streak at Mile High Stadium to 10 games, and it was another bitter loss for Marty Schottenheimer against John Elway.

Elway finished the game with 311-yards passing, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Shannon Sharpe led all Broncos’ receivers with 9 catches for 118 yards. Reggie Rivers and Gaston Green combined for 57-yards rushing, and Karl Mecklenburg, Simon Fletcher, and Jeff Mills  all registered 1 sack for the Denver defense. The Chiefs’ Neil Smith  had an amazing day in the losing effort with 3 sacks of Elway. Later in his career, he would flee Kansas City to join Elway and the Broncos before their back-to-back Super Bowl run.

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