DENVER The Denver Broncos stomped the Kansas City Chiefs, embarrassed them, dominated them. The beating was so total, and so boring, nearly every fan fled Invesco Field before the end of the game.
But let's not get too excited. Remember, the Chiefs compete in the pitiful AFC West.
What's happened to this division? It's a proud realm once inhabited by Floyd Little, John Elway, Rich Jackson, Len Dawson, Otis Taylor, Marcus Allen, Daryle Lamonica, Lance Alworth, John Hadl and Dan Fouts.
Those were the days.
The AFC West now ranks as the worst division in the AFC.
Take a look at last week, when the Raiders looked mighty while dumping the Broncos at Oakland. The Raiders home, MacAfee Coliseum, is a strange destination, and not only because the fans wear costumes and look ready for a "Star Trek" convention.
What was weird was the overwhelming nostalgia. Hundreds of fans wore Raiders jerseys. There were Jim Otto jerseys and Bo Jackson jerseys and Ted Hendricks jerseys, but I didn't see a fan wearing the number of a current player.
After the game, fans rejoiced and seemed ready to return to the present tense. They had conquered the Broncos. They were happy.
It was a mirage. When the Raiders roamed outside the friendly confines of the AFC West, they were bombarded, 38-7, Sunday by a banged-up Brett Favre and his Packers.
The San Diego Chargers have revived and might even mount a run in the playoffs, but the rest of the division lies in shambles. The Broncos, Raiders and Chiefs have lost 15 games and won only seven while competing outside the AFC West.
Look at the Detroit Lions. After losing five straight games, the Lions have fumbled a chance at the playoffs, but their fans can take comfort in one almost-certain victory. The Lions, who outscored the Raiders and Broncos, 80-28, play the Chiefs Dec. 23.
The Broncos, who aren't very good, destroyed the Chiefs on Sunday. Brandon Marshall treated the game as a party, tossing around snow after dancing past helpless Chiefs defenders for touchdowns.
The Kansas City locker room was virtually empty. The remaining players talked in whispers. It was a sad place.
Linebacker Derrick Johnson stood in front of his locker. He looked dazed. He sounded confused.
"Shoot," Johnson said, shaking his head. "What happened to the Chiefs?"
Good question, but that's all it was. He had no answer.
The Chiefs have long ranked as one of the NFL's premier franchises, with a spectacular yet intimate stadium and a tradition of winning.
Defensive end Jared Allen faced a horde of reporters as he listed the Chiefs various football sins.
"We're absolutely horrible," Allen said. "I've never been on a team that lost this many games. We've got to win a game for ourselves, for our fans, for our confidence. This is getting ridiculous."
Allen took a moment to catch his breath.
"We need to look at ourselves and ask, 'What can I do better?"'
There's an easy answer to Allen's earnest question.