The Denver Broncos have been stacking up victories all season. Sunday, they served Kansas City a special order:
A quadruple Decker.
Eric Decker caught four touchdown passes from Peyton Manning to lift the Broncos to a 35-28 victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, completing a season sweep of Kansas City and taking a huge step toward an AFC West Division title.
It was the second loss to Denver in three weeks for the Chiefs, who have gone 0-3 since they were the NFL's last remaining undefeated team at 9-0.
"Sometimes, when you play a team close to back-to-back, there are some ideas that are fresh in your mind," Manning said. "We thought there were some chances to get down the field in that first game that we never got to. We wanted to get to some of those plays."
With New England just a game back, the Broncos don't have the luxury of easing their foot off the accelerator in the final four weeks and coasting into the postseason as the AFC's top-seeded team. But they might be in position to do so before the regular season is completed.
If they do lock up the No. 1 seed, the big question will be: Did they learn from last season?
The memory of the Broncos blowing their 2012 playoff debut to eventual champion Baltimore still stings in Denver, and the Broncos are determined not to allow their chances slip through their grasp this time.
Manning was typically scorching Sunday. He threw for 403 yards and five touchdowns, and now leads the NFL with 4,125 yards, the most through the first 12 games of a season. He broke the 4,000-yard mark for the 13th time of his career, extending his NFL record. New Orleans' Drew Brees is second on that list with seven 4,000-yard seasons.
Chicago had another snap to burn, but instead the Bears tried to end the game against Minnesota in overtime with a 47-yard field-goal attempt on second down.
Robbie Gould's kick sailed wide right.
The Vikings drove downfield on their next possession and kicked a 34-yarder to win it.
Let the second-guessing begin: What was Bears Coach Marc Trestman thinking?
Understandably, he has a ton of confidence in Gould, who earlier in the game became the most accurate kicker in NFL history. But Trestman was also spooked by a mistake the Vikings made earlier in overtime, when their apparent 39-yard winning field goal was wiped out by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
"We were definitely in range and I didn't want to risk a possible penalty that would set us back, similar to what happened on the other side, or a fumble of some kind . . . something 'unique,'" Trestman said. "I felt we were clearly within range and could get the game over with at that time.
"We've got one of the best field-goal kickers in the league and unfortunately we didn't get it done. Robbie didn't lose the game for us; there's a lot of different ways to lose the game."
The big winners were the Detroit Lions, who moved a game ahead of Chicago in the NFC North.
It won't be an easy December for the Lions, who play at Philadelphia on Sunday, but they have to be enjoying the unfamiliar feel of the division driver's seat.