DENVER, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Rookie Clinton Portis rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns and also had a 66-yard reception for a score Sunday as the Denver Broncos kept their playoff hopes alive by holding on for a 31-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Broncos' second-round pick, Portis stole the spotlight from Kansas City's Priest Holmes, who entered the contest two touchdowns shy of tying Marshall Faulk's single-season record of 26.
Portis had touchdown runs of 51, three and one yard before his long scoring reception in the third quarter that gave the Broncos a 28-7 lead.
"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) 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 consecutive games with a rushing touchdown stopped at 11.
"He is as great a player as anybody in this league," Denver tight end Shannon 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 lost fullback Tony Richardson to a shoulder injury in the first half.
Trent Green threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Dante Hall and Morten Andersen 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 John Tait 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 as if 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.
Denver quarterback Brian Griese 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."