On Sunday afternoon, two former University of Colorado Buffaloes faced off in an AFC West divisional rivalry matchup. Justin Bannan and the Denver Broncos muscled out a closer than expected victory over Jalil Brown and the Kansas City Chiefs, winning 17-9 on the road.
Brown was making his first career start for the Chiefs - who selected Brown in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft - and did so in impressive fashion.
The second year NFL cornerback recorded a career-high five tackles, surpassing his previous high of three that occurred two weeks prior at Pittsburgh and once during his rookie year.
The fact that Brown's first start was coming against a Peyton Manning led offense made the performance that much more impressive.
Bannan on the other hand has started all season long for the Broncos - making his 70th career start in the game against the Chiefs - anchoring the line for a defense that ranks in the top 10 in the league against the run. Yet with experience comes wisdom, and Bannan knew the bout with the Chiefs would be no walk in the park.
"I see them running on teams that have stout running defenses," Bannan told the Denver Post before the game. "I see them moving the ball up and down the field. I just think sometimes they're having a lot of unlucky turnovers, and that's probably been the case of their season."
As Bannan predicted, the Chiefs showed up with an inspired rushing attack that was led by Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 107 yards on 23 carries. However, Bannan and the Broncos 'D' did what they needed to do when it mattered most in order to escape with the 'W'.
On Kansas City's first two possessions, they were able to drive into the red zone, but both times they were held to field goals as the defense bended but did not break. The ending of each of those drives proved to be a more accurate telling of the game as the Broncos did not give up a touchdown and the Chiefs only picked up 11 first downs on the day.
Bannan finished his day with four tackles, bringing his season total to 35, and more importantly for the Broncos, helped improve their record to 8-3 and a give them a stranglehold lead in the AFC West.
Two Buffs Get Signed
On Tuesday, wide receiver Toney Clemons was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars 53-man roster and offensive lineman Andre Gurode was signed by the Chicago Bears.
Clemons was drafted in April by the Steelers and had spent all of this season on Pittsburgh's practice squad. Practice squad players can be picked up and be signed by any NFL team.
Gurode, a five-time Pro Bowler, was a free agent who most recently played with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. He will replace Lance Louis on the Bears roster, who is out for the season after tearing his ACL in his left knee.
Notable: Last week on Thanksgiving, Tyler Polumbus and the Washington Redskins defeated Lawrence Vickers and the Dallas Cowboys 38-17... Brad Jones recorded eight tackles against the New York Giants on Sunday and now has 33 total tackles since taking over the starting inside linebacker position for the Packers five games ago... Jimmy Smith is out indefinitely with an abdominal injury that he suffered in week 11 during Baltimore's 13-10 victory over divisional rival Pittsburgh.