DENVER (Ticker) -- Rookie
was a frequent visitor to a place
was unable to reach.
Portis rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns and also had a 66-yard reception for a score as the
kept their playoff hopes alive, holding on for a 31-24 victory over the
Kansas City Chiefs
in a battle of AFC West rivals.
The Broncos' second-round pick, Portis stole the spotlight from Holmes, who entered the contest two touchdowns shy of tying
's single-season record of 26 TDs.
Portis had touchdown runs of 51, three and one yard before his long TD reception in the third quarter gave the Broncos a 28-7 lead. Portis also overcame losing two fumbles inside the Kansas City 20.
"It turned out all right," Portis said. "This morning when I woke up, I knew I was sick and I was really weak and couldn't eat. I didn't tell any coaches, because I knew this was a big game and I wanted to play. My whole body was weak, and when I got tackled, that's why the ball was coming out."
Sparked by Portis' big day, the Broncos (8-6) stopped a three-game losing streak and remained in the thick of the AFC West playoff race, tying San Diego for second place while moving within a game of Oakland. Denver plays at Oakland next Sunday.
"We talked about it at the beginning of the week that if things fell into the right order, we would have a chance to control our own destiny," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "We now have a chance to do something, but we need to eliminate some mistakes."
The Chiefs (7-7) lost both meetings to Denver this season and will host San Diego next week.
The Broncos needed the production from Portis as the Chiefs nearly rallied despite losing Holmes to a right hip injury late in the third quarter. Holmes carried 18 times for 161 yards and had his streak of games with a rushing touchdown stopped at 11.
Broncos tight end
"He is as great a player as anybody in this league," Sharpe said. "He made some phenomenal plays today. If he is not the MVP, I don't know who is."
In addition to losing Holmes', the Chiefs also lost fullback
to a shoulder injury in the first half.
threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to
kicked a 21-yard field goal with 2:25 left, pulling the Chiefs within 31-24.
"We made some plays in the second half thanks to individual plays and great efforts," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "We were out of people but to Denver's credit, they did a heckuva a job."
Green got one more chance and moved the Chiefs as far as the Broncos 15 with under 30 seconds remaining. A personal foul on tackle
moved the ball back to the 30, and Green threw three straight incompletions to end it.
Green completed 18-of-42 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns.
It looked like the Broncos would cruise to a victory after Portis scored on an electrifying 66-yard reception down with 3:50 left in the third quarter for a 28-7 lead.
Portis made a catch down the left sideline, shook off a defender at the 15 and raced to the end zone.
completed 18-of-26 passes for 297 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
"The difference between the last three games and this one and this one is we overcame the turnovers and got the ball into the end zone when we needed to," Griese said. "We would have liked to put the game away earlier, but didn't. It was a good win anyway."
But the Chiefs answered later in the quarter with Holmes playing a big part when he ripped off a 56-yard run to the Denver 4. He was injured on the play and did not return.
Two plays later,
ran four yards for a touchdown on the final play of the quarter to pull the Chiefs within 28-14.
kicked a 30-yard field goal 4:53 into the fourth, extending the lead to 31-14.
Despite being ranked in the top five in total defense virtually the entire season, the Broncos have had a penchant for blowing fourt-quarter leads. And they did their best to almost give another one way.
Green engineered a seven-play, 80-yard drive, capping it with a 49-yard touchdown pass to
, who completely faked out a pair of defenders, with 8:15 remaining. Hall had five catches for 143 yards, including a 75-yard TD reception early in the third quarter.
On their next offensive possession, the Chiefs moved inside the Broncos 10, but settled for
's 21-yard field goal to pull within 31-24 with 2:25 remaining.
"I thought we needed two scores and it would be better to get the cinch three because we could end up not getting any score at that time, and we'd be in a situation (by making the three) where we would still have a chance to tie it at the end."
After the Broncos went three-and-out, the Chiefs had one more chance. Green found tight end
for 25 yards over the middle to the Denver 36. He found Hall for four yards on a 4th-and-3 play to the Denver 25.
A 15-yard completion to
moved the ball to the 15, but the Chiefs could nor get any closer.
The Chiefs did not look like they would even be in the game in the fourth quarter as the Broncos raced to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter.
Portis provided the fireworks on the game's opening drive, running up the middle 51 yards for a touchdown. With 33 seconds left in the quarter, Portis capped a six-play, 67-yard drive with a three-yard TD run.
On their final drive of the first half, the Broncos were a yard away from making it 21-0. But Portis fumbled at the Kansas City 1 and safety
recovered for the Chiefs.
Denver's defense was outstanding in the opening half, holding the NFL's top-rated offense off the scoreboard and to nine first downs.
After getting the big turnover at the hand of the half, the Chiefs gained some momentum, getting on the board 3:32 into the third quarter when Green found Hall down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. Hall caught the ball down the sideline before making a series of cuts to the middle of the field to reach the end zone.
Portis, who reached 100 yards rushing for the seventh time this season, restored a two-touchdown lead on the next drive, scoring on a three-yard run to make it 21-7.