Former starter versus current starter. Castoff versus up-and-coming talent. Division rivals taking on each other for the sake of the AFC West title and a playoff spot. The hype before the Denver Broncos hosted the Kansas City Chiefs this week was astounding as if two incredible quarterbacks were playing each other a la the first game of the season in Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees. If only it was that entertaining.
Instead, those who came out to Mile High Stadium today were treated to a 7-3 win that never came close to matching the pre-game hype. Kyle Orton had his team on the move early that ended with an impressive 21-yard scamper by Dexter McCluster to account for the game's only touchdown, but that was the closest thing to an entertaining drive -- and that was for Chiefs fans. Denver only mustered three points on a Matt Prater field goal from 38 yards out.
Here are the final lines for the two hyped starters:
Tim Tebow - 6 of 22, 60 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 1 fumble lost, 20.6 passer rating
Kyle Orton - 15 of 29, 180 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 71 passer rating
For Tebow, it was another horrendous effort marked by two more turnovers that his team could ill afford. For Orton, it was a pedestrian effort that represented a slight downward spiral from his previous game, which featured the same from his first start. In short, Orton was making less of a visible impact each game. To Orton's credit, he lost star receiver Dwayne Bowe, but every team has injuries and Denver had already lost guard Chris Kuper and Spencer Larsen.
The reality is that this game was all fluff. Chiefs fans did get a win to close out the season and the Chiefs defense did a great job, but this match-up was made about the quarterbacks and on that end it failed to deliver. As for Denver, they cannot possibly feel good about their end-of-season performance. John Fox's team is on a dangerous slope that should end rather quickly -- just the way the Chiefs season ended against the Baltimore Ravens.
If anything, the AFC West face-offs today show that there's not a single team in the division that can match wits with the upper tier of teams in the AFC. This offseason should yield some soul-searching for all four teams.