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November 14, 2013

Chiefs’ top five Mile High memories against the Broncos

The Star’s Randy Covitz looks back at five of the most memorable Chiefs-Broncos games in Denver, capped by Joe Montana’s “Monday Night Miracle” in 1994.

Oct. 17, 1994: Chiefs 31, Broncos 28

Joe Montana engineered the Monday Night Miracle at Denver, when he one-upped Marty Schottenheimer nemesis John Elway.

Elway had just given the Broncos a 28-24 lead with a 4-yard touchdown run with 1:29 to play, apparently dooming Schottenheimer to his eighth straight loss at Denver and the Chiefs to a third-straight loss that season.

But Montana, first overcoming a holding penalty, drove the Chiefs 75 yards in nine plays, capped by an outstretched grab for 5 yards at the pylon by Willie Davis with 8 seconds left for a 31-28 win, prompting “Monday Night Football” analyst Dan Dierdorf to exclaim: “Lord, I can die and go to heaven because now I’ve seen everything!”

Jan. 3, 2010: Chiefs 44, Broncos 24

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Derrick Johnson set the tone for the 2010 AFC West championship season with their performances in the 2009 regular-season finale.

Charles set a franchise single-game rushing record with 259 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yarder; and Johnson tied an NFL record by becoming third linebacker in history to record two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.

The Chiefs victory was their first in the new Invesco Field at Mile High, and it also knocked the Broncos out of the playoff chase.

Johnson, who had been relegated to backup duty for the most of the season under first-year coach Todd Haley, returned both of his interceptions in the second half.

Johnson returned his first interception of a Kyle Orton pass in the third quarter, returning it 45 yards for a 27-17 lead. He returned a fourth-quarter interception 60 yards, giving the Chiefs a 37-24 lead.

Sept. 24, 2000: Chiefs 23, Broncos 22

Say this for former Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham. He knew how to win at Denver.

Elvis Grbac hit wide receiver Derrick Alexander with a 22-yard pass with 2:27 to play, capping a fourth-quarter comeback and giving the Chiefs two wins in Denver in Cunningham’s two seasons as head coach.

The Chiefs trailed 22-14 going into the fourth quarter, but Pete Stoyanovich narrowed the margin with a 42-yard field goal early in the period, setting the stage for Grbac’s game-winning pass.

Grbac also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez, and Tony Richardson scored on a 1-yard run.

Sept. 17, 1990: Broncos 24, Chiefs 23

John Elway led the Broncos on one of his trademark come-from-behind marches as Denver pulled out a Monday night victory with David Treadwell’s 22-yard field goal as time expired.

The Broncos led 21-9 on a 2-yard quarterback draw by Elway midway through the third quarter before the Chiefs staged a furious comeback. Chiefs cornerback Albert Lewis blocked a punt early in the fourth quarter that was recovered at the Broncos 17 by Kevin Porter. That set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Steve DeBerg to Stephone Paige, cutting the Denver lead to 21-16.

After Denver’s David Treadwell missed a 36-yard field goal, DeBerg, from his 17, hit Paige at the 37, and he streaked downfield for an 83-yard touchdown and a 23-21 lead.

But Elway still had 1 minute, 44 seconds to work with, and that proved to be too much time. After three incompletions, Elway fired a 49-yard strike to Vance Johnson; and that was followed by a 16-yarder to Mark Jackson, setting up Treadwell’s game-winner.

It was the first of three straight excruciating losses by the Chiefs in Denver. The Chiefs would lose 19-16 in 1991 and 20-19 in 1992, both come-from-behind wins by the Broncos.

Sept. 7, 1963: Chiefs 59, Broncos 7

In the franchise’s first regular-season game after moving from Dallas, the Chiefs steamrolled Denver on a Saturday night at the University of Denver Stadium.

Quarterback Len Dawson completed 12 of 15 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns, and head coach Hank Stram pulled out all the stops. Running back Curtis McClinton, who scored the first touchdown by a Kansas City Chief on a 17-yard reception, also threw a 33-yard pass to Chris Burford, and running back Abner Haynes also completed an option pass for 24 yards.

The Chiefs also scored on special teams and on defense. Linebacker Sherrill Headrick returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown; and Dave Grayson returned a kickoff 99 yards.

The Chiefs’ 59 points set a franchise record that still stands.

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