Rich Karlis, who missed a 34-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter, kicked a 43-yarder with 55 seconds left tonight to give Denver a come-from-behind 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and keep the Broncos' National Football League playoff hopes alive.
Seattle just missed tying the game again as time expired when Norm Johnson's 52-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright.
For Denver (11-5) to get an AFC wild-card berth, it would need a loss by either the New York Jets or New England in those teams' regular-season finales on Sunday. In addition, the Broncos' victory means the Patriots must beat Cincinnati Sunday to make the playoffs.
The Broncos, who trailed by 17-0 in the first half, were behind, 24-17, with 5:20 to go in the game after Seattle's Curt Warner scored from one yard out.
But John Elway of Denver, who completed 24 of 42 passes for 432 yards, drove his team 80 yards in eight plays for the game-tying touchdown with 2:35 left. The key play was a pass to Steve Watson that was good for 60 yards to Seattle's six.
Elway almost was sacked on the pass play, but scrambled around long enough to find Watson open. Steve Sewell scored four plays later from the one, and Karlis' extra-point kick tied the score at 24-24.
The Seahawks then gave up the ball after Dave Krieg threw three incompletions. Denver took over on its 38 with 1:55 remaining. The Broncos went 34 yards in five plays to position Karlis for his game-winning field goal.
Elway had a 27-yard pass completion to Sewell to start out the drive but had to leave the game with an ankle injury after being hit by defensive end Jeff Bryant on the pass play to Sewell. Gary Kubiak came in and ran six yards on a quarterback keeper to get Denver to the Seattle 25 before Karlis came onto the field.
Karlis, who beat the Seahawks in Denver earlier in the season with an overtime field goal, was perfect with his 43-yarder.
He was wide to the left with his 34-yard try with 10:02 to go with the score tied at 17-17.
The Seahawks (8-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention last Sunday with a loss to the Raiders in Los Angeles, took a 17-0 lead in the first half.
Krieg passed 41 yards to Daryl Turner for a touchdown, Johnson kicked a 29-yard field goal and Terry Taylor ran a blocked punt into the end zone from 15 yards out. Chris Norman had blocked it.