The Denver Broncos’ running game powers along even with a third-string back.
Denver lost Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno to injuries in the first quarter Sunday and still managed to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-10.
McGahee hurt his hamstring near the end of the Broncos’ opening drive, and although coach John Fox said he was available in an emergency, their leading rusher never returned. Moreno went down later in the first quarter with a sprained knee.
The Broncos held on, but they’ll have a quick turnaround with a game against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
The Broncos, who have implemented a run-heavy scheme behind option-style quarterback Tim Tebow, were left to use receiver Eddie Royal out of the backfield a few times along with third-string running back Lance Ball and fullback Spencer Larsen.
Ball carried 30 times for 96 yards, and the Broncos still rushed for 244 yards.
• Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, who leads all rookie NFL receivers, jarred his right knee when he landed awkwardly on a 36-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter of the Bengals’ 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh.
Green returned on the next series, but was held out as a precaution after his knee tightened up at halftime.
“I just came down straight-legged and my knee buckled,” Green said. “At halftime when I came in and sat down, it got real stiff. I couldn’t really get any movement.”
• Bills center Eric Wood and backup linebacker Chris White both left Buffalo’s loss to Dallas in the third quarter with knee injuries.
• Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said cornerback Al Harris and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui had “significant” knee injuries.
Second-year quarterback Tebow completed just 2 of 8 passes for 69 yards in the Broncos’ win over the Chiefs.
The last time an NFL team won a football game in which its quarterback attempted and completed so few passes was Dec. 12, 1982.
New England quarterback Steve Grogan threw for 13 yards on 2-of-5 accuracy, yet the Patriots still knocked off the rival Miami Dolphins, 3-0.
SHARING THE CHEERS
Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson caught a 3-yard touchdown pass, then ran all the way to the other end of the field to hand the ball to a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
Not just any cheerleader. His girlfriend.
“It was a special moment to share with her,” Nelson said after the Bills’ 44-7 loss. “I didn’t want it to be awkward. She knew it was coming, I don’t think she knew what was coming.”