Denver Broncos rookie running back Ronnie Hillman fumbled in the first quarter of Sunday's 38-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, which could have him in the Broncos dog house for the playoffs.
On the fumble, Hillman almost got tackle Orlando Franklin injured as his legs got tangled while trying to tackle Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers. He was out for one series but then returned.
Flowers was stopped short of the goal line because quarterback Peyton Manning was able to slow him down enough to allow tight end Joel Dressen to make the tackle. The Chiefs were held to a field goal on that possession.
"It wasn't that Ronnie was intentionally trying to fumble," coach John Fox said Monday via The Denver Post. "But the reality is, it happened. He'll learn from it. He'll get back. He'll get another opportunity to compete starting Wednesday."
Knowshon Moreno was benched eight games after he fumbled in the Broncos second game against Atlanta.
Hillman never stepped onto the field again. He was replaced by Lance Ball and Jacob Hester, who led the Broncos in rushing.
"At that point in time, it was a huge play," Fox said. "It was a huge swing in momentum. We had one player (Franklin) go down and another guy (Manning) trying to become a safety that shouldn't be. Mistakes breed mistakes, and you just try to limit them."