DENVER (AP) -- Sunday afternoons have provided Deltha O'Neal
respite from grief and temporary solace from personal pain.
It was four weeks ago that one of his uncles and a cousin were
killed in a car accident while driving to see O'Neal play
cornerback in the Denver Broncos' season-opening game on Sept. 10.
Do the Broncos need to find a legitimate No. 2 receiver?
In critical games they will. If Rod Smith is taken away, the Broncos need
someone else to go to because Eddie Kennison is not getting the job done.
Earlier this week, Brian Griese mentioned that the tight ends need to
step up and that he'd like to see more of Kevin Kasper. Griese thought
Kasper could get open and find the holes in the zone. While Kennison's got
deep speed, he's really not good underneath and has been dropping too many
balls. Offensively, Denver can run the ball and they've got Smith, but they
definitely need to find another threat.
ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player
personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
Perhaps to protect the 23-year-old O'Neal, his family has
refused to tell him exactly what happened near Klamath Falls, Ore.,
but Courtney Jessie and Tameika Smith are a source of inspiration
as he tries to establish himself in the NFL.
"The passing of my uncle and my cousin a couple weeks ago, that
built me up," O'Neal said after tying an NFL record Sunday with
four interceptions in Denver's 20-6 victory over the Kansas City
"I'm dedicating this and a couple of the others that I picked
off in the season to them. I'm trying to stay out there on Cloud
Nine, you could say, to stay focused."
O'Neal, in his first year as a starter, became the 18th NFL
player with four interceptions in a game as the Broncos enjoyed a
big day in front of former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who
was fired in January.
Not only did Robinson have to watch O'Neal and the Broncos
antagonize Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, but his new defense
failed to stop Mike Anderson and Rod Smith, who accounted for
nearly 90 percent of Denver's offense.
Anderson ran for 155 yards and Smith had 110 yards receiving.
Both scored touchdowns to help the Broncos (3-1) end a four-game
losing streak against the Chiefs (1-3).
"Oh, man, it's huge," Smith said. "I went to school in
Missouri and all I heard was Chiefs, Chiefs, Chiefs. The most
important thing was to get the win, especially against a team that
had our number."
While the offense rebounded from a poor performance against the
Baltimore Ravens, the defense was the story for the Broncos.
With Robinson now calling the defensive shots for Kansas City,
the Broncos sacked Green four times, held the Chiefs to 297 total
yards and capped the victory when O'Neal returned his fourth
interception 27 yards with 1:46 remaining.
"The same guy got all of them?" Green said. "I've had four
picks in a game before, but never all by the same guy."
O'Neal would have been alone in the record book if not for a
ball that went through his hands late in the first half.
"I wish I would have had that one, too," O'Neal said.
In addition to being victimized by O'Neal, Kansas City went
3-for-11 on third-down conversions and had few offensive threats
outside of All-Pro tight end Gonzalez, who had eight catches for
129 yards. The Chiefs finished 249 yards short of their offensive
output a week earlier.
"We look great on the practice field. We didn't do it today,"
Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said. "Credit Denver. I'm pissed at
all of us."
While O'Neal policed the secondary, Denver's offense relied
mainly on Anderson for most of the day. Smith's 4-yard touchdown
catch came five seconds after O'Neal's 42-yard interception return
and gave Denver a 20-6 lead with 8:11 remaining.
It was Denver's third and final pass of the second half as the
Broncos challenged Kansas City to stop the run.
It was hard to question the strategy. After struggling for
yardage last week against Baltimore, Anderson had 106 yards by
"We ain't lost it yet," he said. "We can still run the
Anderson's 62-yard touchdown run gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead in
the first quarter, but it should have been a 59-yard run. Replays
showed he stepped out of bounds before diving over the right pylon.
Two officials had to confer before awarding Denver the score.
Kansas City also capitalized on a strange play in the first
half. Gonzalez caught a 35-yard pass while sitting on the ground.
The ball was tipped by Denver defensive backs Kenoy Kennedy and
Jimmy Spencer before fluttering into Gonzalez's hands in front of
the Kansas City bench.
Doug Peterson kicked a 35-yard field goal two minutes later to
pull the Chiefs to 10-6 at the half.
Jason Elam gave Denver a 13-6 lead late in the third quarter
with a 24-yard field goal after an 8:17 drive stalled at the 6.
Chiefs WR Dante Hall had a bruised left shoulder and DE
Rich Owens had a rib injury. ... Broncos WR Kevin Kasper did not
return after twisting right ankle in the first quarter and CB
Denard Walker left with a concussion early in the second quarter.
... Kansas City surrendered a touchdown pass to Denver for the
first time since 1998, a span that covered 20 quarters. ... The
team scoring last has won the last 12 meetings.
Doctors treating Giants tight end Daniel Fells for MRSA are more optimistic than they were a few days ago that Fells won't lose his foot, sources close to the situation said.
The Denver Broncos are planning to be without pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder.
The Jaguars have been unable to determine when Bernard Pierce suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, and the running back told the team he's also unsure when it happened.
Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has been cleared from the concussion protocol and was in full pads at practice on Tuesday.
The NFL would have had another wild controversy on its hands had Le'Veon Bell not scored on the final play from scrimmage to give Pittsburgh a win Monday at San Diego.
Matthew Stafford told the Detroit Free Press that he was surprised at being benched in Detroit's blowout loss Sunday, even though Jim Caldwell warned him that he might make the move.