The Brodie Croyle era officially began for the Chiefs in Sunday’s 27-11 loss to the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium.
Coach Herm Edwards had said he was considering replacing veteran Damon Huard with Croyle, the Chiefs’ third-round pick in 2006, and after Huard’s third turnover of the game, in which he was shaken up on the play, the switch was made.
Croyle took the field, amid loud applause, with 13 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter.
The loss was the second straight for the Chiefs, now 4-5 going into a game next week at Super Bowl champion Indianapolis. The Broncos, who had lost five of their last six, also are 4-5.
It’s possible the teams could be in a three-way tie for first in the AFC West if San Diego loses its late afternoon game to Indianapolis.
While Huard sat on the bench with an ice bag applied to the left side of his neck, Croyle completed six of eight passes for 44 yards as the Chiefs moved to within 20-11 on Dave Rayner’s third field goal of the game.
Huard finished his day _ and most likely his brief career as the Chiefs’ starter _ with six completions in 15 attempts for 83 yards and an 18.9 passer rating.
Croyle also threw an interception when Champ Bailey picked him off with 6:16 to play.
Turnovers by Huard on consecutive offensive plays early in the third quarter led to two Denver touchdowns in a span of nine seconds, giving the Bronocs a 20-8 lead. Huard’s pass intended for Eddie Kennison was tipped by safety Hamza Abdullah and picked off by cornerback Dre Bly on the third play of the third quarter. Bly returned Huard’s second interception of the game to the Chiefs’ 31, and three plays later, Selvin Young got free on the outside and scored on a 20-yard run for a 13-8 lead. On the first play of the ensuing possession, Huard fumbled when hit in the pocket by Elvis Dumervil, and the ball was scooped up by linebacker Nate Webster, who returned it 17 yards for the touchdown and 20-8 lead. The Chiefs led by the baseball-like score 8-6 at halftime. Rayner and Denver’s Jason Elam each made two-first half field goals, and the Chiefs picked up a second-quarter safety when Bernard Pollard blocked a punt by the Broncos’ Todd Sauerbrun, and the ball went out of the back of the end zone.
First quarter scoring
Den _ FG Jason Elam 44; 8 plays, 42 yards, 3:48 drive time, 11:12 remaining.
KC _ FG Dave Rayner 38; 6 plays, 19 yards, 1:20 drive time, 5;38 remaining.
First quarter summary
The Broncos hit the Chiefs on the first possession with a 34-yard run up the middle by rookie Selvin Young, who was starting at running back for the injured Travis Henry. The Chiefs held and the Broncos settled for the field goal
Priest Holmes turned the clock back on the Chiefs’ first possession, if only for one play. He got to the corner on a sweep for an 11-yard gain. He couldn’t beat linebacker Ian Gold there the next time he tried. Gold tackled Holmes for no gain and the Chiefs punted
The Broncos got another big play on their next possession when Brandon Marshall beat Patrick Surtain down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain. The Chiefs soon got the ball back when Derrick Johnson stepped into a passing lane and intercepted Jay Cutler’s pass to give the Chiefs the ball at the Denver 40. That led to Rayner’s field goal
Denver’s Karl Paymah intercepted for Denver late in the period at the Broncos’ 2.
Second quarter scoring
KC _ Safety, Bernard Pollard blocked punt out of end zone; 14:35 remaining.
Den _ FG Elam 50; 10 plays, 34 yards, 3:40 drive time, 9:18 remaining.
KC _ FG Rayner 36; 11 plays, 57 yards, 6:38 drive time, 2:40 remaining.
Second quarter summary
Pollard fought through the block of Steve Cargile to get a hand on Todd Sauerbrun’s kick and send it out the back of the end zone. Safety.
The Broncos converted twice on third and long early in the period. Cutler threw 17 yards to Marshall and 13 yards to Brandon Stokley. Elam’s field goal hit the crossbar and bounced through.
Damon Huard passed 13 and 23 yards to Dwayne Bowe and put the Chiefs at the Denver 13 with less than five minutes left. But Holmes lost 13 yards when he tried to cut back on a sweep that went bad and the Chiefs had to settle for another field goal.
Third quarter scoring
Den _ Young 20 run (Elam kick); 3 plays, 31 yards, 1:07 drive time, 13:32 remaining.
Den _ Nate Webster 17 fumble return (Elam kick); 13:23 remaining.
KC _ FG Rayner 38; 13 plays, 52 yards, 6:28 drive time, 6:55 remaining.
Third quarter summary
Huard threw his second interception of the game early in the period when Dre Bly got one and returned it to the Chiefs’ 31. Young scored on Denver’s third play.
Huard came out for the first play of the next possession to boos from the Arrowhead crowd. He was sacked, fumbled and Webster ran it in for a touchdown.
Brodie Croyle replaced Huard to cheers from the Arrowhead crowd. Two short throws to Bowe gave the Chiefs a first down. Third down passes to Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker gave the Chiefs subsequent first downs. But in the end, the result was no better than the best Huard delivered: another field goal.
Fourth quarter scoring
Den _ Daniel Graham 18 pass from Cutler (Elam kick); 6 plays, 57 yards, 3:31 drive time, 10:44 remaining.
Fourth quarter summary
Bowe dropped a pass in the end zone and Jeff Webb dropped a shorter one on back to back plays early in the period, leaving Rayner to try a 53-yard field goal. It went wide left.
Benny Sapp’s third-down pass interference penalty set up Graham’s touchdown.
Champ Bailey intercepted a Croyle pass with just more than six minutes remaining to end the Chiefs’ last realistic hope.