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BRONCOS 45, CHIEFS 27

High five for Portis

Denver RB runs over dazed Chiefs

DENVER -- Clinton Portis had already scored four touchdowns, so Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer figured it was time to pound the ball into the line and salt away the win.

But receiver Rod Smith had other ideas. He wanted Portis to score and finish things off right.

That's just what he did.

Portis scored from 53 yards for his team-record fifth touchdown and finished with 218 yards, helping Denver stay in the AFC playoff hunt with a wild 45-27 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday.

"Jake was like 'Just protect the ball, let's move the ball and we can run out the clock,' " said Portis who finished 10 yards short of his career high, set in the final game of 2002.

"Rod was like 'Just score.' And I did. I need to stop taking Jake's advice and listen to Rod more often."

Portis impressed teammates with a 34-carry, 170-yard game in the rain last week against Oakland, but was even better this time.

He had touchdown runs of 11 and 1 yards in the first half, then added scores of 59, 28, and the final 53-yarder in the second.

Portis had 188 yards after halftime and finished with his fifth consecutive 100-yard game -- third straight with at least 160 yards.

Portis' effort helped Denver (8-5) tie Miami for the final AFC playoff spot and prevented Kansas City (11-2) from winning its first division title since 1997. "I don't know what the problem was," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said.

"We couldn't make a first down, we couldn't stop them. When that happens, you're not going to win many football games."

Trent Green threw for 397 yards and Priest Holmes scored two touchdowns, but the Chiefs struggled after a big first half to lose for the second time in four weeks after a 9-0 start.

"It was humbling," Green said. "We had energy coming at halftime and felt good about the position we had put ourselves. I'm sure no one would have anticipated the way the second half unfolded."

Denver scored on three of four possessions in the first half, and kept rolling in the second to finish with 508 yards.

The Broncos opened the third quarter with a 78-yard scoring drive, capped by Reuben Droughns' 3-yard touchdown catch that put the Broncos up 24-21.

Portis took over from there.

He broke free up the middle on Denver's next drive, freezing safety Jerome Woods with a move around the 30 before going in for a 59-yard touchdown.

Portis seemed bottled up at the line on Denver's next drive, but waited for the hole to open and burst through for a 28-yard touchdown.

He completed the rout on Denver's next play from scrimmage, going off left tackle to put the Broncos up, 45-21.

"It was an unbelievable day," Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield said. "It was his day. Not ours."

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