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Portis runs down Chiefs

Associated Press
Published December 8, 2003

DENVER - Clinton Portis had 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 was just what he did.

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

"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 Nov.31 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. He has 2,960 yards his first two seasons, moving past LaDainian Tomlinson (2,919) and Ottis Anderson (2,957) for fourth in league history.

"I kind of expect it, because every time he touches the ball he's got a chance to go the distance," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has made so many big plays and it seems like he gets stronger as the game goes on."

Portis' effort helped Denver tie Miami for the final AFC playoff spot (Denver holds the tiebreaker edge) and prevented Kansas City from clinching its first division title since 1997.

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

"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."

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