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Sunday, December 14, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Panthers 30, Broncos 10

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Denver Broncos nearly won the AFC West division crown.

Then their game against the Carolina Panthers started.

The Broncos played flat Sunday in a game they hit the field not thinking they absolutely needed to win. When the Broncos left their locker room Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs were in full control of the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers, who had to win Sunday to keep their AFC West title hopes alive, scored two touchdowns in the final 79 seconds to beat Kansas City 22-21.

The wild comeback was completed when Denver was on the field. The Broncos suddenly found out they had to win and it was clear the team wasn't up to the task.

The offense committed two key turnovers in the first half and the Denver defense was exploited by Carolina's passing game.

The Broncos were clearly caught by surprise by San Diego's comeback win. Now, they have to regroup and try to win the division in Week 16. Denver hosts Buffalo and San Diego plays at Tampa Bay.