Just 18 days after defeating them 19-8 on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs took on the Denver Broncos on Empower Field at Mile High, looking to get their 17th consecutive win against the Broncos.
But this time, it was not to be. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had been reported to be fighting off the flu — and played like it. In total, he gave up three turnovers — a fumble and two interceptions — while his teammates gave up two more. The Broncos took advantage, defeating the Chiefs 24-9 and pushing their season record to 6-2.
On their opening possession, the Chiefs went three-and-out against an energized Broncos defense — and then Tommy Townsend’s 49-yard punt was returned to the Kansas City 39-yard line. It took Denver 10 plays to do it, but they finally scored a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
The Chiefs moved right back down the field with a 17-yard run by running back Isiah Pacheco and a 27-yard pass to Justin Watson — but the offense sputtered in the red zone, forcing Kansas City to settle for a 23-yard Harrison Butker field goal to make the score 7-3 as the first quarter came to an end.
The Chiefs forced a three-and-out. On their next drive, they across midfield with a 16-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling — but then the veteran wideout fumbled the ball. Denver recovered, starting their next drive at the 50-yard line — and immediately reached into the red zone with Russel Wilson’s 39-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy. Two plays later, Wilson hit Jedy for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-3.
Kansas City picked up a first down — followed by another turnover at midfield. This time, however, Denver cornerback Ja’Quan McMillan intercepted Patrick Mahomes at midfield — and then the Chiefs’ defense held, taking over on downs after four plays. A 39-yard catch and run by Rashee Rice put the Chiefs in business deep in Denver territory — but again, the offense stalled in the red zone. Kansas City settled for another field goal, narrowing the score to 14-6 with a little less than six minutes left in the half.
Then the Chiefs forced a punt, gave up the ball when Mahomes fumbled under pressure in the red zone — and then got it back when George Karlaftis strip-sacked Wilson with nine seconds left in the half. One play later, Butker’s 56-yarder was good, sending the Chiefs to the locker room with a 14-9 deficit.
The third quarter began badly for Kansas City, as the Broncos executed a long drive that took more than eight minutes off the clock. But a third-down sack by Karlaftis forced a 38-yard field-goal attempt that was blocked by Justin Reid. With help from a defensive holding call against the Broncos, the Chiefs drove to midfield before being forced into a punt.
The Broncos put together another long drive — using more than six minutes to gain 42 yards — before a Leo Chenal sack pushed them into fourth down outside of field goal range. Mecole Hardman muffed the Denver punt inside the 10-yard line and the Broncos recovered. Two plays later, a 6-yard pass to Courtland Sutton gave the Broncos a 21-9 lead.
The Chiefs managed an 11-play drive that got them to the Denver 27-yard line — but on fourth-and-2, Mahomes couldn’t connect with Skyy Moore in the end zone. Denver took over with 7:35 left in the game — but went three-and-out. That, however, didn’t help. Mahomes was sacked twice on successive plays — and then on fourth-and-22, threw another interception that Justin Simmons returned to the Chiefs’ 20-yard line with 4:45 left.
The Chiefs had used all of their timeouts, so the Broncos were able to use almost all of the remaining time before kicking a field goal that made the score 24-9 with 31 seconds left. That sealed the win.