From the very beginning, the Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) exercised strong-armed control of the game, quickly getting out to a 10-0 lead and never allowing the Denver Broncos (6-6) within less than seven points the rest of the game. Imperfect offense was complemented by opportunistic defense — which led to a 22-9 pounding on Sunday Night Football.
Kansas City is now alone in first place in the AFC West. They also have four losses, which is tied for the lowest amount among AFC teams.
The Chiefs’ offense was led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, completing 15/29 passes for 184 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. His lone pick came off the hands of wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who only had two catches for 22 yards. Running back Darrel Williams’ 60 receiving yards led the team. Defensively, the performance was highlighted by two interceptions from the secondary.
The Broncos won the coin toss, electing to receive the opening kickoff. From their own 25-yard line, a nine-yard run by running back Javonte Williams got them into second-and-short — but two plays by defensive end Melvin Ingram in run defense and as a pass rusher forced a fourth-down punt; linebacker Willie Gay Jr. helped him complete the third-down sack.
On their opening drive, the Chiefs had little resistance driving the field — only seeing one third down before entering the red zone. From there, wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught his second pass of the drive to get to the 10-yard line. Mahomes scored on the next play, scrambling to the right pylon for another opening-drive touchdown.
Down 7-0, Denver failed to respond — going three-and-out with two incomplete passes; the defensive drive was highlighted by a near interception from Gay and an impressive run-defense play by linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
From their own 21-yard line, the Chiefs began to march again by getting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire involved. After a four-yard run, they designed a screen pass for him that resulted in 29 yards. A 14-yard pass to wide receiver Byron Pringle got them closer to the end zone, but another attempted screen pass was blown up. Kansas City settled for a field goal to extend their lead to 10-0.
Towards the end of the first quarter, the Broncos quickly got going on a drive with a 36-yard pass to wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. Deep into Chiefs’ territory, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater scrambled for a first down in the red zone on third-and-8. A few penalties later, the Broncos were forced to settle for a field goal.
Up 10-3, the Chiefs failed to get anything going after a 12-yard run by Darrel Williams to open the drive. After three failed pass plays, Kansas City punted it away.
Denver took over deep in their own territory, establishing the run early to dig out of that hole. The churned out a handful of chunk plays on the ground, combining with some third and fourth-down conversions to get into the red zone. A third-and-2 couldn’t be converted thanks to pressure by defensive end Frank Clark — and a rushing attempt on fourth down was stuffed by Gay and Ingram. The Chiefs took over.
With 1:12 remaining in the second quarter, the Chiefs opted to run out the clock, wasting nearly a minute before punting it away. Denver couldn’t score in the two plays they got, making the score 10-3 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, the Chiefs got Edwards-Helaire going effectively, getting into Broncos’ territory quickly. A third-down conversion strengthened the unit’s momentum — but then a pass went off Hill’s hands into the those of a Denver defender for an interception.
The Broncos couldn’t take advantage of the turnover, quickly going three-and-out and punting the ball back to Kansas City; defensive tackle Chris Jones forced a fumble while defending the run to set up third-and-6.
The Chiefs got into scoring position on the ensuing drive with a 38-yard reception by Darrel Williams. However, they couldn’t follow that up with another first down — and finished with a field goal to make the score 13-3.
From their own 20-yard line, the Broncos got into Chiefs’ territory with a mix of chunk runs and passes. Soon after, Bridgewater attempted an intermediate pass to Jeudy — but didn’t account for safety Juan Thornhill lurking over the middle of the field.
Thornhill’s interception set up the Chiefs’ offense at their own 33-yard line, where a holding penalty on Trey Smith immediately set them back. They were never able to recover, settling for a punt a few plays later — but that punt was muffed, and Pringle recovered for the Chiefs.
To start the fourth quarter, the Chiefs had the ball at Denver’s 16-yard line — and quickly got into third-and-6. A pass to Kelce over the middle was short of the sticks, and Kansas City settled for a field goal to extend their lead to 16-3.
Looking to make a fourth-quarter comeback, Denver started with three chunk plays to set up past midfield with a first down. They continued to threaten, getting into a third down — but pressure forced a bad throw that was tipped — and safety Daniel Sorensen took advantage. After his interception, he found his way to the end zone from 75 yards away — pushing the fourth-quarter lead to 22-3.
Without time on their side, Denver once again began their desperate attempt at coming back — driving into Kansas City territory with chunk gains through the air. The Chiefs forced an incomplete pass on third down in the red zone, but Bridgewater followed it up with a touchdown pass on fourth down. The score became 22-9 with roughly five minutes remaining; Sorensen stopped the two-point conversion attempt.
As the Chiefs looked to close the victory out, they ran Edwards-Helaire on back-to-back plays to begin the drive — totaling 13 yards. They got into a third-and-18 with under three minutes left, and Mahomes was sacked. They were forced to punt after Denver took a timeout.
Down 13 points, the Broncos final drive gained some yards, but put no points on the board. The Chiefs knelt to seal the 22-9 victory.
Cornerback and special-teams player Chris Lammons left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury; he was designated as questionable to return.
Kicker Harrison Butker converted a 56-yard field goal in the first quarter and made a 45-yard attempt in the third; he was 1/2 on point-after attempts as well, missing the fourth-quarter attempt that followed Sorensen’s pick-six.
Punter Tommy Townsend punter four times; his second punt of the night pinned the Broncos inside their own five-yard line.
On the last play of the third quarter, a muffed punt by the Broncos was recovered by gunner Byron Pringle inside Denver’s 20-yard line.
|Yards per play||5.6||4.9|
|Yards per rush||5.00||3.70|
|Passing Gross Yards||257||184|
|Passing Net Yards||250||178|
|Yards per pass||6.10||5.90|
|Rushing first downs||12||7|
|Passing first downs||10||8|
|Penalty first downs||0||0|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||4/14/29%||5/12/42%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||3/6/50%||0/0/0%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||0/0/0%||1/1/100%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||1/3/33%||1/2/50%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||0/1||1/2|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||1/1||3/3|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||0/1||0/0|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||53.3||47.5|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||49.0||46.0|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||6||101|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||3/6||2/13|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||2/44||0/0|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||1/0||2/88|
|Time of Possession||33:30||26:30|
|CHIEFS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|BRONCOS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Melvin Ingram III||3||1||2||0.5||3.5||0||1||0||2||0||0||0|
|Pat Surtain II||1||0||1||0.0||0.0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Pat Surtain II||1||0||0.0||0||0|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BRONCOS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BRONCOS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|