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Week 17 Horse Whisperings

Running back Willis McGahee of the Denver Broncos rushes up field against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Running back Willis McGahee of the Denver Broncos rushes up field against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
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The Denver Broncos wrap up the 2011 regular season by hosting the division rival Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. The latest media guide has been released by the team and there are new tidbits to share.

  • Broncos Head Coach John Fox ranks 3rd among active NFL coaches with 86 overall wins since 2002.
  • He will coach in his 500th career game on Sunday, a total that includes 11 seasons at the college level and 23 years in the NFL.

The Broncos can clinch the AFC West title and their first playoff berth since 2005 through any of the following scenarios:
  1. A Win vs. Kansas City
  2. An Oakland loss vs. San Diego
  3. A Tie vs. Kansas City + Oakland tie vs. San Diego

The last meeting between the Broncos and the Chiefs was during Week 10 in Kansas City, where 3 Denver players had career days.

  • Running back Lance Ball registered career highs in carries (30) and rushing yards (96) as Denver’s primary back.
  • Punter Britton Colquitt punted seven times for 307 yards (43.9 avg.) and matched a career high with four punts inside the 20.
  • Linebacker Von Miller made seven Tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 Tackles For Losses and four QB hits.


  • Quarterback Tim Tebow ranks second among all NFL quarterbacks with 644 rushing yards—a total that ranks as the most by a Broncos quarterback in franchise history.

  • Wide Receiver Eddie Royal in 2010 became the 5th player in franchise history to post at least 1,000 combined yards in each of his first three NFL seasons.
  • Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas led the AFC and tied with Calvin Johnson for the league lead with 414 receiving yards in the month of December. He ranked second in the AFC with 18 first downs and tied for second with three receiving touchdowns in the month.

  • Running Back Willis McGahee leads the Broncos with 1,054 rushing yards and is tied for 2nd in the NFL with six individual 100-yard rushing games.
  • Willis is the 12th player in franchise history to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season and the first since RB Tatum Bell had 1,025 yards in 2006.
  • His 1,054 yards through Week 16 are the most by a Bronco in a single season since RB Reuben Droughns had 1,240 yards in 2004.
  • McGahee has totaled 1,000 rushing yards for the 4th time in his career.

Year Team Att. Yds. Avg. LG TDs
2005 Buffalo 325 1,247 3.8 27 5
2007 Baltimore 294 1,207 4.1 46t 7
2004 Buffalo 284 1,128 4.0 41 13
2011 Denver 221 1,054 4.8 60t 4
2006 Buffalo 259 990 3.8 57t 6


Player No. Player No.
Terrell Davis 34 Correll Buckhalter 2
Clinton Portis 18 Quentin Griffin 2
Mike Anderson 12 Selvin Young 2
Tatum Bell 9 Tim Tebow 1
Willis McGahee 6 Mike Bell 1
Reuben Droughns 6 Aaron Craver 1
Olandis Gary 4 Peyton Hillis 1
Travis Henry 3 Glyn Milburn 1
Knowshon Moreno 2 Michael Pittman 1

  • Denver continues to pace the NFL in rushing yards per game, averaging 161.1 per contest this season. The Broncos have averaged 190.7 rushing yards per game since the bye week, a figure that is nearly 20 yards more than the 2nd place team during that span (Houston, 171.0).
  • Denver was tied for 25th in the NFL with 86.8 rushing yards per game through the first 4 weeks of the season.
  • The Broncos have a total of 2,069 rushing yards (188.1 ypg) over its last 11 games—the most productive 11-game rushing stretch in team history.
  • They are on pace to post the 2nd-highest rushing total in team history for a single season.


Year Yds,/G
2003 164.3
2011 161.1
2005 158.7
1998 154.3
1974 154.1


Team Yds./G
1. Denver 135.8
2. Pittsburgh 130.2
3. Kansas City 125.6
4. Jacksonville 124.8
5. Minnesota 124.7

  • Seven rookies have started at least one game for the Broncos in 2011, including tackle Orlando Franklin, who has opened all 15 contests for the club at Right Tackle.
  • Four Broncos rookies started for Denver against Oakland in Week 1, marking the most rookies to start a season opener for the Broncos since starters were tracked beginning in 1968.
  • The quartet bested the previous high of three rookie starters in a season opener during the 1973 season.

Player Pos. GP GS
Orlando Franklin RT 15 15
Von Miller SLB 14 14
Quinton Carter FS 15 9
Rahim Moore FS 14 7
Chris Harris CB 15 3
Virgil Green TE 14 2
Julius Thomas TE 4 1


  • Linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who leads the club with 87 Defensive Tackles and is tied for the team lead with nine Special-Teams stops, has a chance to join T.J. Ward (Cleveland, 2010) as the only players since 1994 (when Special Teams data became available) to finish a season ranked 1st on their team in both Defensive and Special-Teams Tackles.

  • CB Champ Bailey was named to his 11th Pro Bowl in 2011 to increase his NFL record for the Cornerback position.
  • Bailey’s 32 Interceptions rank 5th in the NFL since he joined the Broncos in 2004.
  • His 50 career interceptions are 1st among all active NFL Cornerbacks and are 3rd among all players since entering the league in 1999.

  • Linebacker Von Miller is tied for 3rd in the AFC with 11.5 Sacks this season and 2nd among all Rookies.
  • He is also tied with Rulon Jones (1980) for the most Sacks by a rookie in franchise history.

  • Defensive End Elvis Dumervil, who led the NFL in Sacks (17) in 2009, returns to the Broncos defense after missing the entire 2010 campaign with a pectoral injury suffered during Training Camp.
  • Dumervil is tied for the third-most 2+sack games (14) in the league since his rookie season in 2006.
  • Elvis posted his eighth consecutive game with at least a half Sack on Sunday at Buffalo. That Sack streak is the league’s longest active streak and the longest of Dumervil’s career.
  • Dumervil has totaled the eighth-most sacks (52.5) in franchise history.

Player Years No.
1. Simon Fletcher 1985-95 97.5
2. Karl Mecklenburg 1983-94 79.0
3. Barney Chavous 1973-85 75.0
4. Rulon Jones 1980-88 73.5
5. Lyle Alzado 1971-78 64.5
6. Trevor Pryce 1997-2005 64.0
7. Paul Smith 1968-78 55.5
8. Elvis Dumervil 2006-Pres. 52.5

That wraps up the Whisperings for this week. Hopefully there will be a Playoff edition (or two!) Until then...

Go Broncos!

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