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Chiefs-Broncos rapid reaction: Denver shocks Kansas City, snapping 16-game losing streak

The Broncos hadn’t beaten the Chiefs since 2015. But that’s over with, now.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos shocked the Kansas City Chiefs with a 24-9 win at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium on Sunday.

Let's get into some initial thoughts:

...and just like that, the streak is over.

Typically speaking, when you consider any division game in the NFL, it's best to throw out the record. That is the norm across the league, and it includes the AFC West.

What the Chiefs were able to do against the Broncos for eight consecutive seasons was nothing short of remarkable. Alex Smith took care of business from 2015 to 2017, and Patrick Mahomes' first career win came against Denver to close out 2017. He had never lost after that.

I can say with confidence that the Broncos aren't going to make the playoffs in 2023. That old cliché of their Super Bowl rang true all game Sunday. The Broncos are an organization that has been seeking a dramatic turnaround. That can't happen overnight or over a single season, but a win against the Chiefs (and snapping a streak nearly 3,000 days long) is a step in the right direction; it's something to build upon.

The Broncos performed as though Sunday's matchup was a playoff game. The Chiefs looked like they already had their eyes on Germany.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

The Chiefs turned the football on five occasions on Sunday. It goes without saying that that is a recipe for disaster.

The Broncos scored three touchdowns in the game, with those drives beginning at the Kansas City 39 (after a surrendering a 39-yard punt return), midfield (after Marquez Valdes-Scantling's fumble) and at the Kansas City 9 (after Mecole Hardman's muffed punt).

The Chiefs' defense actually did its part, keeping the deficit manageable. But Mahomes and the offense continued to put the defense in bad positions.

The score won't reflect how well the defense played; the offense never got anything going

As mentioned, the Chiefs lost 24-9, but their defensive front played well. They got to Russell Wilson for 5.0 sacks and eight quarterback hits. Linebacker Drue Tranquill plugged into Nick Bolton's role admirably — and I thought that outside of L'Jarius Sneed, the secondary played well enough for the Chiefs to win.

The showing by the Chiefs' offense was horrible — with Kansas City finishing their 2023 series with the Broncos by going 1 of 8 against Denver in the red zone. They were 0 for 3 in the red zone on Sunday, with no Chief recording a touchdown.

Denver had a plan for tight end Travis Kelce this time around, holding him to under 60 yards. Running back Isiah Pacheco only managed 40 yards on the ground.

The Chiefs' loss came in a week where the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals all won their games.

Kansas City has to figure out its offense fast. The contenders are coming.

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