Denver finally won a game without asking Jason Elam to kick a walk-off field goal.
At the same time, the injury-wracked Broncos may have ignited a new quarterback era in Kansas City.
Backup Selvin Young rushed for 109 yards and the Broncos (4-5) scored two touchdowns in a 9-second span of the third quarter Sunday for a 27-11 victory over the Chiefs (4-5), who replaced shaken-up, turnover-prone Damon Huard with second-year quarterback Brodie Croyle.
In the decisive series in the third quarter, Dre' Bly intercepted Huard and returned it 18 yards to the 31. Three plays later Young, subbing for the injured Travis Henry broke Bernard Pollard's tackle and went 20 yards for a touchdown and a 13-8 lead for the Broncos, who hadn't won in Kansas City since 2002.
On Kansas City's next play from scrimmage, defensive end Elvis Dumervil crashed into Huard and knocked the ball loose. Linebacker Nate Webster in the right place at the right time, scooped it up and dashed 17 yards for another touchdown. The Broncos led 20-8 en route to just their sixth win in their last 21 games overall.
Huard, an 11-year veteran who has played poorly this year, was slow getting up and he stayed on the bench with an ice pack on his neck while Croyle finished the game, going 17-for-30 for 162 yards, with one interception.
Dwayne Bowe had nine catches for 105 yards for the Chiefs, who were without Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson. Priest Holmes, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 65 yards on 20 carries in his first start in more than two years.
The home team had won the last nine games between these old rivals, and it seemed that would continue as the Broncos stumbled around in the first quarter, dropping two interceptions and getting six penalties.
Elam, whose game-ending field goals produced Denver's first three wins, made it 3-0 in the first period with a 44-yarder. Then Dave Raynor following Derrick Johnson's interception of Jay Cutler's pass, kicked a 38-yard field goal for KC.
Pollard blocked Todd Sauerbrun's punt through the end zone for a safety just a few seconds into the second quarter. Then Elam kicked his 37th career field goal of 50 yards or more when the ball hit the crossbar and tumbled over from exactly 50 yards.
Cutler, whose availability was in question earlier in the week because of a deep bruise on his left leg, was 17-of-29 for 192 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Grahm with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos were without three injured starters: running back Henry, safety John Lynch and wide receiver Javon Walker. They were already playing without defensive ends Ebenezer Ekuban and Jarvis Moss, tight end Stephen Alexander and Nate Jackson and Pro Bowl center Tom Nalen.
Young had only 222 yards for the season coming into the game, but had his first 100-yard game and his first NFL touchdown against a Kansas City defense that played fairly well most of the season while the offense, under Huard and an inconsistent line, struggled.
Holmes was making his first start in 742 days. He carried 13 times for 41 yards in the first half, but had one monstrously bad run on third-and-2 from the 5. The 34-year-old running back who was away from football for almost two years before launching a comeback, started left and then tried to reverse his field. But he wound up losing 14 yards and the Chiefs had to settle for a 36-yard field goal.