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SUNDAY'S LATE NFL GAME

Griffin, Broncos on the run again

DENVER -- Quentin Griffin took off the middle, broke left to daylight and juked past a defender before racing into the end zone.

The Denver Broncos might forget about Clinton Portis after all.

Griffin ran for 156 yards and scored three touchdowns in his first game as Portis's replacement, helping the Broncos open the season with a 34-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night.

"I told everybody not to worry because we have another special back," Broncos receiver Ashley Lelie said. "That's not something that surprises me or anybody in this locker room."

Denver traded Portis to Washington to get cornerback Champ Bailey, a potentially risky move because Portis ran for over 1,500 yards in each of his first two seasons.

Portis was superb in his debut with the Redskins, running for 148 yards and a touchdown in a 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay. Griffin was just as good.

The 5-foot-8-inch scatback juked his way to touchdown runs of 25 and 47 yards and caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Jake Plummer in the first quarter.

Griffin even did Portis one better, breaking his team record for most yards on opening day. Portis had 120 last year, though Griffin isn't ready to take over Portis's self-proclaimed title of "world's greatest running back."

"I don't think I'm ready for that," Griffin said. "Clinton is a very good running back."

Bailey made the trade look even better.

He tipped away a pass to Tony Gonzalez in the second quarter on the first ball thrown his direction, and intercepted another just before halftime when Trent Green scrambled and tried throw over his head. Bailey even got involved in the offense, lining up for a handful of plays and catching an 11-yard pass in the first half.

The game was supposed to be more of a defensive matchup than in years past after both teams made changes. It didn't work out that way.

Kansas City's defense ranked 29th in the league last season, costing defensive coordinator Greg Robinson his job. The Chiefs didn't look any different under Gunther Cunningham.

Denver scored on its first three possessions, Plummer threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns and the Chiefs couldn't keep up wiith Denver's offense.

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