Kansas City 26, Denver 23 (OT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Todd Peterson atoned for an earlier miss in overtime by kicking a 32-yard field goal with 5:56 left in the extra session Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs dealt the Denver Broncos' playoff hopes a damaging blow with a 26-23 victory.

Down to third-string quarterback Jarious Jackson, the Broncos rallied to reach overtime on Jason Elam's 49-yard field goal with 1:13 left in regulation.


But the Broncos could not carry that momentum into overtime, failing to move the ball on their two possessions.

Peterson nearly won the game on the Chiefs' first possession of overtime, kicking a 31-yard field goal with 8:24 left. But the play was nullified on a holding penalty on Gary Stills and Peterson hit the right upright from 41 yards.

After Denver went three-and-out, the Chiefs got into position when Trent Green found rookie Marvin Minnis for 56 yards to the Denver 14.


Peterson, who made four of six field goals, provided the winning points on the next play. Peterson also missed a 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter with the game tied, 20-20.

"Today was not the first time I missed a game-winner or made a game-winner," Peterson said. "This is a positive environment. I know I sound like I'm preaching, but there are great people here. I never thought anyone would be mad."

"I try never to get in the face of a kicker because it doesn't help," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "He is a very deep spiritual person and the only thing you could do is give him positive reinforcement because that's a pressure situation and not many people sitting in this room would want to go through it, especially after missing one."

It was a critical loss for the Broncos (7-7), who fell 1 1/2 games behind the New York Jets for the final wild card spot. Denver has a bye next week before closing the season against Oakland and Indianapolis.

Denver coach Mike Shanahan conceded that his team is out of the playoff race.

"Our approach for the rest of the season now is no different than before," he said. "We just know we're out of the playoff race. I have to see what type of character I have on this football team."


Jackson, a 2000 seventh-round pick out of Notre Dame, was forced into action late in the third quarter when backup Gus Frerotte left with a neck injury. Starter Brian Griese already was sidelined with a concussion. Jackson completed seven of 12 passes for 73 yards.

"I really think that I was out there with the mentality that I need to go out there and put this team in the best position I could to win the game," said Jackson, who had attempted one pass before Sunday. "I went in there and the only thing I was thinking about was how to score."

Priest Holmes rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City (4-9), which beat the Broncos for the sixth time in the last seven meetings at Arrowhead Stadium. Holmes leads the NFL with 1,267 yards rushing.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs came up with a big play when Green found Eddie Kennison for 42 yards to the Denver 20.

Kennison was released by Denver earlier this season after leaving the club on the eve of a game in November, saying his heart was no longer in football. He had three receptions Sunday for 62 yards.


"Eddie did a good job. He made a couple of plays," Shanahan said. "It's a new environment. People forget that we brought him in because we liked him. We liked the kind of ability he had. It's just unfortunate that he quit our football team."

Earlier this week, many Denver players questioned Kennison's toughness. Linebacker John Mobley had doubts that Kennison would even play.

The Chiefs could not convert the big play as Peterson pushed a 28-yard field goal wide right with 9:37 remaining.

But the Chiefs came up with a big defensive play on Denver's ensuing possession. Fullback Tony Carter fumbled after catching a short pass and linebacker Glenn Cadrez recovered and returned the ball 20 yards to the Denver 22.

After three plays went nowhere, Peterson kicked a 41-yard field goal with 5:17 remaining, giving Kansas City a 23-20 lead.

Jackson, however, was able to lead the Broncos 40 yards in nine plays for the tying score. He kept the march alive with a 19-yard completion to Chris Cole on third and nine that moved the ball to the Denver 49.

The drive stalled at the Kansas City 31 and Elam tied the contest by making a 49-yard field goal with 1:13 to play.


Frerotte, who took a shot to the head in the first quarter and briefly left the contest, was knocked out for good late in the third period after running four yards for a touchdown that pulled Denver within 20-17.

But as Frerotte was crossing the goal line, he was driven into the ground by defensive end Rich Owens. Frerotte completed16 of 22 passes for 181 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Green also was effective, going 17 of 21 for 292 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

After Peterson opened the scoring with a 51-yard field goal, the Chiefs extended the lead to 10-0 with 3:32 left in the first quarter on Holmes' 12-yard run around left end.

Holmes, who entered the contest leading the NFL with 1,635 yards from scrimmage, carried 21 times but had just one catch for eight yards.

Frerotte got the Broncos on the board 5:31 into the second quarter, capping a seven-play, 63-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith.

Terrell Davis rushed for 70 yards on 21 attempts for Denver.

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