Whoever plays quarterback for the Denver Broncos, they look like they're on the way to an unbeaten season.
The 36-year-old Brister, reborn as Elway's backup, ran 38 yards for a touchdown on the first series, then Terrell Davis went 41 yards for a score as the Broncos jumped to a quick lead and went on to a 30-7 win over Kansas City on Monday night.
The victory made the Broncos the first 10-0 team in the NFL since the 1991 Washington Redskins, and put them on track for a Dec. 21 confrontation in Miami with the Dolphins, who in 1972 were the last NFL team to go unbeaten.
"If we do what were supposed to do and we don't have any major injuries, I don't see why we can't do it," Brister said of the possibility of going unbeaten.
Brister, now 4-0 as a starter this year, finished 13-of-23 for 180 yards and Davis, who leads the NFL in rushing, carried 18 times for 111 yards. Brister added 53 more on five carries as Denver ran for 211 yards.
The Broncos' defense, meanwhile, held the Chiefs to 31 yards on the ground.
"I don't feel like a backup," said Brister, who had 71 starts for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the Jets in 10 seasons before sitting out 1996 and then joining the Broncos last year.
"I've always felt like a starter, but there's only one of them and I've had guys like Boomer Esiason and John Elway ahead of me." It was the fifth straight loss for Kansas City, (4-6), which looked before the season like the most dangerous threat to the Broncos in both the AFC West and AFC as a whole.
But the Chiefs, who had never had even a four-game losing streak in Marty Schottenheimer's 10 seasons as coach, looked like a dispirited bunch against the Broncos, who now have outscored opponents 114-13 in first quarters this season.
| Ray Crockett was all over Kansas City receiver Derrick Alexander. (AP) |
It took just 2:42 for Denver to take a 7-0 lead, on the bootleg around right end by the 36-year-old Brister, who is now 4-0 as a starter in place of Elway, who is nursing pulled rib muscles. Brister was virtually untouched after his fake to Davis pulled the entire Kansas City defense to the opposite side of the field.
The next score was even quicker -- a 79-yard drive that took only three plays and 1:05 and was capped by the burst by Davis, who finished with 111 yards on 18 carries. He was tripped up 10 yards downfield, regained his balance, and continued on into the end zone.
That was the game.
The Chiefs cut it to 14-7 on an 87-yard drive that consumed almost 8 minutes of the second quarter and was capped by a 3-yard TD pass to Kimble Anders from Rich Gannon, filling in for the benched Elvis Grbac.
But Jason Elam added 42 and 46-yard field goals before the half and a 35-yarder in the third quarter. Things officially ended with 7:36 left in the game when Gannon, who finished 26-of-39 for 224 yards, tripped and fell at the 20 on a fourth down at the Denver 10.
"We ran 19 times for 31 yards and we wanted to run 35 times for 200 yards," Gannon said. "We have too much talent in the locker room to be playing the way we are. The mistakes and the penalties are killing us. We're not playing very good football."
Derrick Loville added a final TD for the Broncos on a 1-yard run.
The game had deteriorated by then -- Kansas City had five personal fouls, three by Derrick Thomas, on the drive. The Chiefs finished with 13 penalties for 137 yards.
This had looked like a possible trouble spot for Denver, particularly since it had lost its last three regular season games at Arrowhead. But the Broncos beat the Chiefs 14-10 in a playoff game last January.
Denver plays Oakland at home next week. The Broncos also have road games at San Diego and the New York Giants and a home game with the Chiefs before playing the Dolphins, who lead the AFC East at 7-3.
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