Vintage Elway, perfect Broncos Quarterback again rallies Denver, 35-31

December 07, 1998|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

DENVER -- John Elway lay flat on his back, underneath Chester McGlockton, the 320-pound Kansas City Chiefs tackle, who, a second before, had driven him into the turf. The two were motionless, listening.

Elway had just thrown a ball toward Shannon Sharpe at the goal line, with the Denver Broncos' perfect season at stake.

"Chester and I were just looking each other in the eye," Elway said of the moment with 3: 34 left to play and the Chiefs ahead 31-28. "We were just waitin' to hear the roar."

The roar came. For Elway lately, it always does.

As Mile High Stadium bellowed and stomped and thundered with approval, Sharpe caught the legendary quarterback's 24-yard pass in the end zone, capping the Broncos' wild, 35-31 comeback victory and preserving the team's unbeaten record, now 13-0.

Comeback No. 47 of Elway's brilliant career was an enjoyable one.

"This was like old times, as fun a game as I've played in a long

time," said Elway, 22-for-32 for 400 yards and two touchdowns.

If the Broncos win their final three regular-season games, win a XTC second straight Super Bowl and complete the NFL's second unbeaten season in history, the game will also be a historic one.

Denver played poorly at times, missed chances and fell behind, yet still had enough gumption and talent to keep its streak alive.

"Don't ask me about doubt," said wide receiver Rod Smith, who caught a career-high eight passes for 160 yards. "Ain't no doubt in this team. If you doubt, you lose."

Twice the Broncos fell behind by two touchdowns in the first half, and they were down 31-21 with less than seven minutes left.

Before yesterday, running back Terrell Davis (three touchdown runs), hadn't fumbled in more than 750 carries. In the second quarter, he coughed it up at the 1. Leslie O'Neal recovered in the end zone, ending the second of three Denver drives deep into Chiefs territory that came up empty.

And before yesterday, Denver kicker Jason Elam hadn't missed in 18 field-goal attempts this year. In the third quarter, he had one blocked by O'Neal, setting up a Kansas City touchdown drive.

After a Chiefs field goal made it 31-21, Elway took over. He hit Willie Green on a slant, and Green broke two tackles and raced 50 yards to the Chiefs' 1. Davis took it in from there to make it 31-28.

Elway delivered the knockout blow on the next drive.

Facing third-and-one at the Chiefs' 24, he faked to Davis, saw Sharpe running to the flag, and let the ball go.

Then came the wait. And the roar. "Touchdown?" McGlockton asked. He already knew the answer. Denver won. Again.

Pub Date: 12/07/98

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