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Horse Tracks 1/4/10 - Broncos finish 8-8 after KC's Jamaal Charles runs for 259 yards, 2 TDs

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The Pain:
1 - The Chefs rushed for 317 yards in embarrassing the Broncos 44-24
2 - LB Derrick Johnson ran back two Kyle Orton INTs for TDs - one for 45 yards, the other for 60 yards
3 - The Broncos finished 8-8 for the second consecutive season and are now 32-32 over the past four years with zero playoff appearances
4 - After starting the year 6-0, Denver finished 2-8
5 - Denver was 0-3 at home this season versus AFC West opponents
6 - The home crowd didn't exactly help, booing the Broncos early and often - shame on those "fans"

The Solace:
1 - With the Ravens and Jets winning, Denver would not have made the playoffs, even had they won
2 - Not that you can take any games for granted (see yesterday), but the Broncos' 2010 schedule looks somewhat lighter than this year's, at first glance
3 - The Broncos have a head coach who will not put up with players who exhibit losing or "me-first" attitudes
4 - Kyle Orton's first year in the Erhardt/Perkins/Weis/McDaniels Offense was statistically quite similar to Tom Brady's first three seasons in New England (for what that's worth). Take note of the YPA, Rating, Yards, Comp %, TDs, INTs, Big Plays

NFL - Kansas City Chiefs 44 at Denver Broncos 24 - Box Score

DB - Chiefs Postgame: McDaniels - Broncos TV

DB - Chiefs Postgame: Report - Broncos TV

NFL GameDay - Chiefs vs. Broncos highlights - Videos

DPP - No playoffs for Broncos - Mike Klis

DPP - B-Marsh's final word: You can't count on me - Mark Kiszla
"Denver coach Josh McDaniels was 100 percent correct to tell Marshall to stay home when the Broncos had everything on the line."

NFL - 2010 opponents
Denver Broncos - Home: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Houston, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Jets
Away: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Arizona, San Francisco, Baltimore

DB - Chiefs Postgame: Orton - Broncos TV

DB - Season Finishes On Sour Note - Chris Gentilviso

DB - Career Day Dampened - Gray Caldwell

DPP - Broncos live, die with the pass - Jeff Legwold

DPP - Charles charges ahead Coach Todd Haley's challenge to RB pays off - Mike Chambers

DPP - Defense, big plays unravel Broncos - Lindsay Jones

DPP - Briefing: Benching of Marshall came after Broncos' veterans requested accountability
"Denver outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was held without a sack but finished with a franchise-record 17 sacks for the season. He became the first Bronco to lead the NFL in sacks."

DPP - Broncos play same song to end season - Jim Armstrong

DPP - No need for review: Broncos flat-out quit - Woody Paige
I quit reading this one halfway through.

CSG - Broncos won't advance to playoffs after loss to Chiefs - Frank Schwab

CSG - Broncos notes: Orton hopes to return to team - Frank Schwab

AP - Broncos Lose 44-24, Eliminated From Playoffs - Arnie Stapleton

Y! - Broncos may be worse off under McDaniels - Charles Robinson

NFL - Benching flap reveals still-frayed McDaniels-Marshall relationship - Jason La Canfora

AFC West News

KCS - Chiefs end season on a winning note with victory over Broncos - Kent Babb

KCS - Charles has a record-setting day for Chiefs - Adam Teicher

KCS - Chiefs can put their faith in Charles - Adam Teicher

KCS - Pioli says he saw growth from Haley this year - Adam Teicher

KCS - Chiefs linebacker Johnson makes a couple of big plays - Kent Babb

KCS - Chiefs buzz | KC gets fifth pick in the draft - Adam Teicher

SDUT - Plenty in reserves - Kevin Acee

SDUT - No denying this team is loaded - Kevin Acee

SDUT - Healthy Davis working his way back - Kevin Acee

SDUT - Bolts’ depth does in Skins - Chris Jenkins

SDUT - Norv can prep at his own pace - Tim Sullivan

SFC - Russell makes his case - to be cut in the offseason - Gwen Knapp

SFC - Loss No. 11 might preclude 11th-hour save for Cable - David White

SFC - No Pro Bowl, but Janikowski won't go unrewarded - David White

SFC - Raiders players say coach Cable should keep job - David White

NFL Results

NFL - Washington Redskins 20 at San Diego Chargers 23

NFL - Baltimore Ravens 21 at Oakland Raiders 13

NFL - Indianapolis Colts 7 at Buffalo Bills 30

NFL - New Orleans Saints 10 at Carolina Panthers 23

NFL - Jacksonville Jaguars 17 at Cleveland Browns 23

NFL - New England Patriots 27 at Houston Texans 34

NFL - New York Giants 7 at Minnesota Vikings 44

NFL - Atlanta Falcons 20 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10

NFL - San Francisco 49ers 28 at St. Louis Rams 6

NFL - Pittsburgh Steelers 30 at Miami Dolphins 24

NFL - Chicago Bears 37 at Detroit Lions 23

NFL - Philadelphia Eagles 0 at Dallas Cowboys 24

NFL - Green Bay Packers 33 at Arizona Cardinals 7

NFL - Tennessee Titans 17 at Seattle Seahawks 13

NFL - Cincinnati Bengals 0 at New York Jets 37

NFL News

WP - Redskins fire Zorn after 2 seasons

NFL - Patriots fear Welker’s injury is severe

NFL - Johnson reaches 2,000 yards, sets mark for yards from scrimmage

NFL - Texans excercise option to keep Schaub, give QB $10 million bonus

NFL - NFL looks to player safety with helmet study, possible rule changes

NFL - Goodell: Incentives possible for playoff teams who use starters

NFL Opinion

SF - The Mothership - Ted Bartlett

NYT - Initial Peek at A.F.C. Playoff Matchups - Judy Battista

NYT - Initial Peek at N.F.C. Playoff Matchups - Judy Battista

NFL - AFC Fear Factor: Chargers, not Colts, are scariest team - Vic Carucci

NFL - NFC Fear Factor: Cowboys are conference's most dangerous team - Steve Wyche

Y! - Colts equipped to shake off late losses - Jason Cole

Y! - NFC features classic collection of QBs - Jason Cole

SI - NFC looks wide open, more Snap Judgments - Don Banks

SI - Wes Welker's injury, 2009 NFL Playoff favorites, more Week 17 - Peter King

ESPN - John Clayton's Last Call

SN - Cowboys' physical message may have lasting effect - Vinnie Iyer

CBS - Cowboys most likely to represent NFC in Super Bowl - Pete Prisco

FOX - No late-season swoon for Cowboys - Alex Marvez

FH - No Knee Jerk, 'Boys Are Team to Beat - Kevin Blackistone

FH - Eagles Licking Wounds After Falling Hard - Nancy Gay

SN - Vikings re-establish momentum in time for playoffs - Dennis Dillon

FH - Let's Hear It for Rex in the City - Jay Mariotti

FH - Jets Roll Bengals, and Just Might Again - Dan Graziano

CBS - Bengals better stop Jets' Wildcat next week ... or else - Clark Judge

PFW - Ranking the defensive coordinators

FH - Redskins' Misery Will Continue Until Snyder Vanishes - David Whitley