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NFL Recap (Denver-Kansas City)
Posted: Sun November 16, 1997 at 5:32 p.m. ESTKANSAS CITY 24, DENVER 22
Pete Stoyanovich's 54-yard field goal as time expired spoiled another fourth-quarter comeback by John Elway as the Kansas City Chiefs rallied for a 24-22 victory over the Denver Broncos, tightening the AFC West race. Elway appeared to engineer his 36th career fourth-quarter comeback, moving Denver 59 yards in six plays to set up Jason Elam's 34-yard field goal with one minute remaining. But Kansas City's Rich Gannon answered with a six-play, 39-yard drive to turn around an otherwise dismal performance. He hit Marcus Allen for passes of 18 and one yard before finding Andre Rison for a 12-yard gain to the Broncos 42. After Gannon spiked the ball, the Chiefs (8-3) were called for delay-of-game. Another 10-yard reception by Rison moved the ball to the Denver 37, setting up Stoyanovich's longest field goal since a career-best 59-yarder as a Miami Dolphins rookie in 1989. He kicked a 58-yarder in a playoff game against Kansas City in 1990. "It was probably the kick of my career," Stoyanovich said. "I knew when I hit it I had to drive it. I knew I hit it very well. It might've been even bigger than the 58-yarder I had against Kansas City in the playoffs. ... I think I've kicked 12 in a row now. What a way to keep the streak alive." "I might've thought 50-51 yards might have been max, as cold as it was," he added. "The footing was a concern. I tried not to think about it." Stoyanovich is 16-for-22 in his career in game-tying and winning field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime. Gannon was 4-for-5 for 41 yards on the final drive after going 7-for-16 for 57 yards the rest of the game. But Allen ran for a pair of touchdowns, helping the Chiefs improve to 5-0 at home and moving them within one game of first-place Denver in the AFC West. "To do what we did at the end was special," Gannon said. "It's one of the big wins I've had. We felt like we'd done it before, we could do it again. We were thinking field goal all the way, obviously." Elway completed 18-of-31 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown but was sacked six times. "We've done it plenty of times," he said. "They made the plays to win, to make it happen. We knew it would be a 60-minute game. It came down to that." Terrell Davis rushed for 127 yards on 34 carries -- his fourth straight 100-yard effort and club-record ninth this season. But he was limited to 19 yards on 15 rushes in the second half as the Broncos (9-2) had their three-game winning streak snapped. "It's always a worry when you get there too quickly," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said, when asked if his team gave the Chiefs too much time at the end of the game. "It was very disappointing, but credit Kansas City. Life goes on, it's not the end of the season. We'll bounce back." "We were going to leave the ball in our defense's hands. We figured the defense had done a great job the entire game," Davis said. "We wanted to make them use the entire field. They made some good plays to get the ball down the field." The Kansas City offense sputtered throughout, totaling just 202 yards. But the Chiefs got a big kickoff return from Tamarick Vanover and took advantage of several Broncos' mistakes to improve to 8-13 against Denver under coach Marty Schottenheimer. "My negative history with him goes back more to the days in Cleveland than my time in Kansas City," Schottenheimer said of Elway. Vanover's 77-yard kickoff return set up Allen's first TD, a six-yard run with 4:28 to go in the first half that cut Denver's lead to 13-7. A 24-yard pass interference penalty on Broncos cornerback Ray Crockett helped the Chiefs take a 14-13 halftime lead as Gannon connected with Danan Hughes for a five-yard score with 1:08 left in the second quarter. Linebacker Donnie Edwards recovered Elway's fumble at the Denver 36 midway through the third quarter and interference penalties on Crockett and linebacker Allen Aldridge aided Kansas City, which stretched its lead to 21-13 on Allen's one-yard run. Vaughn Hebron returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards and the Broncos cut the margin to five on Elam's 38-yard field goal. Denver closed within 21-19 before the end of the quarter on a 28-yard field goal by Elam.
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